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Back in the reckoning

FMCG majors offer the entire spectrum of experience. Good news: Hiring is on.

Shamni Pande | Print Edition: March 21, 2010

Mergers and acquisitions, growth across categories and aggressive plans are all heralding the comeback of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. According to the Nielsen Campus Track-B-school Survey, FMCG has emerged as the career of choice for this year's management graduates. What's more, the compensation expectations amongst fresh graduates is also inching up.

The basic minimum that students from premier league B-schools expect is Rs 14.6 lakh this year, as against Rs 14 lakh last year. Salary expectation from a foreign company is almost twice than that from an Indian company—which means that junior-level salaries there are expected to be Rs 10 lakh. So, what's accounting for this renaissance?

"People have realised that FMCG has not suffered any losses in the downturn and this is a stable category to be in," says Ashutosh Khanna, Partner, Korn/Ferry International. Also, traditionally, this industry has always been the fountainhead of talent and most segments such as telecom, IT, and insurance source their senior staff from this space. "This is not likely to change in the future as well. Besides, few other categories offer the robust experience that one tends to acquire in sales and marketing front with FMCG companies," says Khanna.

Specifically, the frontline staff is the biggest area of need. "We have been hiring all through last year and will continue to do so this year as well. The need for frontline staff is critical," says Pavan Bhatia, VP (HR), PepsiCo India. According to Sunil Goel, Partner, Global Hunt, the need for talent is gaining momentum as most MNCs that follow the calendar year are firming up recruitment plans. "They know that growth is happening in these regions and are not stinting any effort in recruiting talent — especially in the midand junior level," he says.

For senior-level recruitments, though, the industry has started to get more persnickety. "This industry needs specialised talent; especially people who have specific skills—be it in logistics and supply chain, or people who understand the digital media, for instance. Besides, we need to build our leadership pipeline, in anticipation of the growth that we foresee for ourselves," says Bhatia.

With the industry tipped to grow at 12 per cent, there is no looking back. India is on the threshold of a structural uplift in consumer demand, states a Motilal Oswal report on the FMCG segment. "We are approaching the inflexion point at which the impact of rising per capita income, favourable demographics, changing lifestyle and growing rural prosperity will combine to accelerate the FMCG sector's growth rate," says Amnish Aggarwal, FMCG Analyst, Motilal Oswal.

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