Yoghurt, flour, pet food and cleaning products may not appear to have much in common, but those who work for the companies producing them know differently.
All four are part of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, a sector responsible for the products filling our supermarket shelves.
“In FMCG, you’re dealing with real products that you can actually see and touch,” says the general manager of people and culture at yoghurt company Chobani, Chris Eaton. “Having tangible products really helps to bring a strong sense of ownership and pride to your peoples’ work.”
Having grown up milking cows on his family’s dairy farm in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, Eaton has spent his entire career working in the sector, and household names such as Campbells and Arnott’s pepper his CV.
Eaton says the FMCG sector offers a huge diversity of roles spanning all levels of expertise; everything from operational to corporate support functions.
“It brings together people with all sorts of backgrounds, experiences, skills and knowledge,” Eaton says. And given its ties to consumer trends, many of the roles in the sector work well for resilient, innovative types, he finds.
“The FMCG environment is dynamic and fast-paced, so our people need to be able to adjust and change direction quickly. Whether it’s tweaking strategies, introducing new products or responding to market shifts, being able to pivot quickly is essential,” says Eaton.
‘Whether it’s tweaking strategies, introducing new products or responding to market shifts, being able to pivot quickly is essential.’
Chobani’s Chris Eaton
What’s a typical career path in the sector? “A lot of growth comes sideways, so people can be more agile within a business,” says Eaton, recalling one Chobani staff member who moved from sales to supply chains, and another whose roles have gone from logistics to customer service, then into forecasting and now data governance.