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Attracting STEM Workers and Embracing Diversity in FMCG

The talent landscape in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is rapidly changing, requiring more highly skilled workers — especially in the areas of digital technology and sustainability. It’s time for FMCG companies to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers.

“Technology and AI will make a big impact on the nature of future jobs,” notes an HR Katha article. “STEM will gain popularity and become more relevant.” 

That’s already happening, and it doesn’t just apply to technical roles. With digital transformation comes a focus on data. This data will be used in every department to improve experiences, including sales, marketing and human resources. That means people will be needed to analyze the data, interpret the data and forecast sales based on the data. And that’s true across industries. 

“For the consumer goods industry, it’s essential to hire talent that can contend with the fast pace of change and drive future innovation, and it’s possible these individuals are attracted to industries other than FMCG,” explains Undercover Recruiter. 

A McKinsey article predicts the FMCG industry will face a more dramatic shift from manual skills to technical skills by 2030 than other industries do. This transition will necessitate a rapid need for technical skills in the industry, such as data science, software development, AI and robot maintenance. 

With an increasingly specialized, global playing field, how can FMCG companies attract STEM talent? 

Give them what they want

Generally speaking, today’s younger generations, including STEM candidates, want a good workplace culture with flexibility, and they want to work on things that have an impact. In addition, they look for diverse companies to join. Glassdoor found that 76% of job seekers prioritize diversity when applying for jobs. One-third of applicants won’t even apply to a company that lacks diversity.

Perhaps they know “a diverse workforce and deliberate inclusion efforts help drive better outcomes — through different perspectives, creative thinking and open collaboration,” as PwC pointed out. “That can lead to the broader economic development of our society, which benefits everyone.”

Unfortunately, FMCG companies are falling short. According to McKinsey research, “Consumer-goods and retail companies were more likely than companies in other industries to have put their diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives on hold, despite evidence of the importance of diversity programs for hiring and retaining talent.” Yet, McKinsey also found that companies with diverse leadership outperform their competitors. 

The importance of diversity

Attracting employees who are diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background and even physical abilities is good for business. 

FMCG company Procter & Gamble found that to be true after attracting, recruiting and hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. The company started a neurodiverse program in Costa Rica in 2019, IndustryWeek reports. The internship program led to jobs at the company for qualified candidates. “The retention rate for people hired in from this program is 100%,” the article notes. 

Based on the success of this program, P&G expanded it to the UK, Singapore and the United States. “We have seen improvements in productivity,” says Laura Becker, president of global business services for P&G. “This group of employees has the ability to be very innovative.” 

The need for artificial intelligence

Once you’ve taken steps to become a more attractive employer, and that’s confirmed by more applications from STEM candidates, how do you weed through them to be sure you get the best fit for a role? 

A centralized data platform and artificial intelligence (AI) may be the answer. To narrow down candidates in an expedient fashion, you need to be able to access data across applications and positions. To do that, all candidate information — whether internal or external — needs to be congregated, not siloed. From there, AI can be applied to it to drill down into the data and find patterns and insights. 

This is best accomplished through a holistic talent lifecycle management approach that encompasses talent data, data insights and analytics, and human experiences. This approach ensures you get the most out of your talent-related data. Your talent teams can pool candidates according to skills, years of experience, background, previous companies, relationships and more. You can slice and dice the data any way you want to identify the best fit for any role. 

With your talent lifecycle management strategy in place, you can go a step further to ensure you’re delivering a great employee experience — one that makes candidates and employees feel valued, offers opportunities for career growth and advancement, and gives workers space and freedom to do their jobs and contribute to the business.

Learn how Beamery helps FMCG companies attract, engage and retain STEM and diverse talent.