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Brexit, Procurement and the FMCG Boom

06 March 2018

by Jessica Williams

With nearly two-thirds of UK businesses expecting to move their supply chain overseas, and 40% looking to replace their EU suppliers[1], it’s safe to say commerce is taking an increasingly international flair. Conversely, the UK FMCG sector is showing no such activity, with hiring patterns demonstrating domestic growth in the face of wider macroeconomic flux. 

Demand for candidates with FMCG experience is booming, and we are noting high levels of spend in the supply chain and procurement areas. The high-turnaround, low-cost nature of FMCG is distinct from retail sectors like pharma, where large overheads, longer shelf-life and numerous touchpoints create a more complicated supply chain. Professionals from this background will often seek out FMCG businesses for their dynamic, fast-paced offerings, without having the niche skill sets required. As such, true FMCG experts can be hard to come by.

Of course, the FMCG sector is not without its challenges. Plans to leave the single market would impact the cost of goods, tariffs – predicted to be 30%-40% on most farmed goods from the EU[2] – and cross-border processes. Plus, Market Inspector forecasts that food and drink manufacturers will raise prices by 20% to compensate for inflation and increased production costs[3].

In light of these factors, it’s essential that companies source procurement specialists with strong overseas networks to secure the most competitive rates. Employers should also prioritise individuals who have knowledge of pricing upsurges, so the fallout of Brexit has minimal cost implications for suppliers. The ideal candidate will be comfortable in volatile market conditions, where responsiveness, stakeholder management and negotiation skills are key. 

While the requirements may seem steep, FMCG experience creates a springboard into other opportunities within the supply chain profession. These candidates often enter the wider market more easily, thanks to the unique and transferable skill set gained from FMCG environments.

Companies and candidates need the support of experts to effectively navigate recruitment within this niche landscape. Oliver James provides in-depth knowledge of FMCG, having built out the market by networking with businesses and specialists across the UK.

Contact Sam Robinson, Consultant, on and Daisy Stroud, Senior Consultant, on for details on the latest opportunities – or a confidential discussion around your hiring requirements.



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