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FMCGs lure B-school graduates with more sops

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Pratik Bharti
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Lightbulb FMCGs lure B-school graduates with more sops - November 5th, 2007

Fast-moving consumer goods companies that were once the most sought at business schools, are now offering global positions, more responsibilty and higher salaries to attract campus talent.

The lure of FMCGs has faded over the years with the rise of consultancy firms, foreign banks and software companies, according to the Campus Recruiter Index, an annual survey by research agency AC Nielsen tracking students' perception of recruiting companies on campuses.

Executives associated with recruitment say FMCG companies have increased the variable component along with the annual increment in the base of their salary packages to match up to those offered by the higher paying financial sector.

The FMCG sector offers 75 per cent of what consultancy firms offer. Whereas consultancy firms offer salaries in the range of Rs 15 to 20 lakh per annum, FMCG companies offer salaries in the range of Rs 8,50,000 to Rs 12 lakh (Rs 1.2 million) per annum.

Previously, FMCG companies offered freshers only sales positions. But of late they have been offering candidates positions with higher responsibilties, such as brand management at global offices.

Over the past couple of years Procter & Gamble and Marico have offered positions at their Singapore and Gulf offices respectively.

This year, big companies like Hindustan Unilever and Coca-Cola would also be open to giving higher positions to students.

Vatsala Pant, associate director (client solutions), at A C Nielsen says, "Until 2006 consultancy and information technology companies had overtaken the FMCG sector in the Campus Recruiter Index.

Now telecom and retail have also entered the fray. "The FMCG sector may not have a smooth ride. Sectors like telecom -- although they are still growing -- could give stiff competition to other sectors at the campuses. The FMCG sector needs to create a unique space for itself in order to attract talent from campuses."

Today, some retail giants are offering starters salaries of upto Rs 16 lakh per annum, which is more than what many FMCG companies will give.

In the current CRI, telecom is ranked eighth, FMCG fourth, behind information technology in third place, foreign banks in second and management consultancy companies at the top.

While the FMCG sector began slipping out of favour, software companies stole the march in 2005.

Leena Nair, executive director (HR), Hindustan Unilever, says "Sector preferences by students is a cyclical process and to be an exciting company one has to break this cycle. Hence we have increased our interaction with students to tell them about what the jobs in the FMCG space entail.

"HUL conducts a marketing course at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, where company representatives take lectures. We encourage students to think before they make a choice on the sector they would like to work in."

While the FMCG sector has slipped in the CRI ranking, some FMCG companies still figure among the top 10 employers in the world and in India.

The sector also enjoys lower attrition rates, at about 7 per cent, as calculated by CII, against the industry rate of about 20 per cent.

Money Moves
  • With the rise of the financial sector, FMCGs are no longer the favourite choice of new job seekers
  • This is because FMCGs offer a lot less than some of the new sectors
  • Coca-Cola are offering graduates more money with responsibility
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