Talent’s Role in the Transformation of the CPG Industry

“Today’s consumer and retail market is beyond disruption — we are disrupted — and CEOs need to listen to the market, look outward and focus on changing their business,” said Willy Kruh, KPMG global chair, consumer and retail.

What’s driving change?

Consumer buying behavior, competition among brands and digital transformation are collectively causing a massive change in the CPG and Retail markets throughout the world. The way products are being produced, sold and delivered is changing throughout the entire industry making CPG companies rethink their processes from beginning to end.

These massive changes are restructuring the talent and employer relationship completely in the Retail and Consumer Product sector.

On top of this, the industry is also being heavily impacted by changing regulations and trade wars between some of the world’s largest importers and exporters. Navigating these changes within a tight labor market while also facing a record-breaking volume of job openings is proving to be a challenge among consumer products and retail companies around the globe.

How can CPG companies ensure they stay ahead of this change and in many instances drive and lead it for their respective sectors?

Become a talent-first organization, to compete for the new generation of talent

CPG and retail companies can no longer rely on traditional talent profiles; they need to hire the disruptors. The acquisition of new skills, including data science, software development, and advanced analytics will be essential. We will also see retailers expand into becoming service and experience providers, where they’ll also need expertise in new industries.

Competing with direct-to-consumer companies, agile start-ups, and tech powerhouses — all of which seem to be more appealing to the most wanted talent profiles — the experience and benefits offered will be key. Another aspect of the war for talent is the potential displacement and necessary reskilling of retail workers, driven by the advent of AI and automation.

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To become a talent-first organization, companies will need to break up the classic talent silos and get ahead of it before competitors, regulators, or opinion shapers force the issue.

“Leaders within the CPG and Retail industry must be focused on talent as they are on strategy and finance, making talent considerations an integral part of every major strategic decision.” — McKinsey

Win talent with a strong employer brand

Prospective candidates want to join companies that offer opportunities for growth and outlets for creativity. Organizations must set themselves apart from the pack to attract top tier talent by promoting a workplace that offers:

  • Stability. Talent would rather change companies than relocate
  • Flexibility. CPG candidates want work-life balance and flexible shift options — the creation of a culture offering creative options and approaches (such as virtual working environments) to support different ways of working.
  • Reputation. Candidates look to join companies with strong reputations, a brand they can identify with as a customer
  • Skill Development. Today’s talent demands opportunities to grow, learn new skills and develop their knowledge. CPG workers are aware of the digital evolution happening in the industry. To continue to be valued, workers want to learn new skills and evolve their career paths in line with company initiatives. Retailers must also develop strategies for reskilling and retraining the workforce.
  • Custom and Creative Benefit Packages. In addition to competitive pay and traditional benefits CPG workers expect extra fringe benefits when joining a new company.

With change comes opportunity but can also create challenges if organizations are not prepared and don’t plan correctly for the future. With the right talent strategy, CPG companies can ensure their strategic agendas are driven by the talent they attract, retain and grow within their organization.

“Company leaders must be convinced of — and then act on — the fact that without the right people and the right skills, success just won’t be possible.” — McKinsey


Beat Mueller

Beat Mueller
Beat Mueller is global head of development within the market segment of consumer products and retail. He is responsible for leading global business and client development initiatives for the MSP, RXO and Total Talent Solutions at Pontoon Solutions.

Beat Mueller

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