Career Guide

The world of fast-moving consumer goods

The FMCG industry touches lives everyday

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies are behind the biggest brands in the world. The FMCG industry is all about the products which everyone recognises from trips to the supermarket or from advertisements on television.

From the cup of coffee you start your day with, to your toothpaste and the face cream you apply at night time, all these daily necessities are considered “fast” moving goods; they are the quickest to leave supermarket shelves and cost relatively lower than other durable items.

The brands that make up this sector are what you have grown up with, know and love. Think Pepsi, Oreo, Milo and Dove.

Also termed consumer packaged goods (CPG), FMCG are perishable, have high turnover and are replaced or used up over a short period of days, weeks or months.

Broadly speaking the industry can be categorised into three large market segments: Food and Beverages (F&B), Household Care and Personal Care.

You will be amazed at the number of FMCG brands you are using and consuming on a regular basis. When you think pharmaceuticals, you may think Panadol. In Malaysia, Pampers is synonymous with baby diapers, Nescafé with coffee, Milo with chocolate malt drinks, and Cif with dishwashing.

These are global brands, a fraction of the thousands of brands owned by multinational corporations employing hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.


While there is no official data on how much the local FMCG industry is worth relative to gross domestic product (GDP), it is one of the biggest revenue contributors to Malaysia’s services sector.

The Malaysian FMCG sector has a good representation of both multinational and local companies with big names like Nestlé and Unilever fighting in the market place with local companies like Perfect Food Manufacturing (Julie’s biscuits) and Spritzer.

Most FMCG multinationals have been in Malaysia for more than 50 years and have become household names.

These include Nestlé, Dutch Lady and Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods) for F&B, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson and Reckitt Benckiser for personal and household care and the likes of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK) for healthcare products.

These companies are bringing in larger revenues and profits year-on-year thanks to the increasing sophistication of the Malaysian customer and rising demand, despite the global slowdown.

Nestlé Malaysia, the largest FMCG company in the country, recorded a RM4.6bil turnover in 2012, up 7.3%, over RM310mil in revenue, and employs 5,000 people.

Cosmetics market leader L’Oréal has a staff strength of 800 while dairy giant Dutch Lady with a more than 630-strong employee base earned a revenue of RM882mil in 2012, a 9% growth compered to the previous year.

Meanwhile, GSK has been in Malaysia for more than 50 years. It employs close to 600 workers and has an annual sales turnover of over RM300mil.

Locally incorporated firms include personal care producer Unza (M), which employs 2,000 people; Julie’s, which has been making biscuits since 1982; and mineral water brand Spritzer, whose revenue jumped 20% to RM178mil in 2012.

While these local names may bring in lower revenue compared with multinationals, they are more export-oriented and provide consumers in Malaysia a choice of products and pricing options.


FMCG sales across Asia are growing, with the highest growth coming from China and Vietnam. Kantar Worldpanel’s Consumer Insights 2013 data showed that FMCG sales in 2012 rose the fastest in Vietnam at 14.8% followed by Thailand at 11%, the Philippines at 5.3% and Malaysia at 5.0%.

This shows that Malaysia, and by extension South-East Asia, is the place to be for ambitious young talent.

Unilever Malaysia chairman Rakesh Mohan says: “The Malaysian economy is doing great, growing 4% to 5% yearly, so there are opportunities to do well. All our segments are growing. As long as there is product and market development, we will do fine.”

Tim Morris of Coriolis Research says, “Unlike other industries, FMCG does not suffer from mass layoffs every time the economy slows. You may put off buying a car, but you don’t put off dinner. This lends FMCG a level of job security unknown elsewhere.”

Many companies have grown on the back of strong people policies, with focus on branding and sales and marketing roles in particular as they look to develop and penetrate new segments.


With Malaysia leading South-East Asia in percentage of hypermarket sales (40% of total market) and new shopping trends (e.g. emergence of the male shopper), FMCG employers are scrambling to find young, energetic executives who can connect with shoppers on a personal level.

But the sector is not only about brands. FMCG players focus on finding, training and developing the right talent pool to drive the next wave of innovation and market growth.

FMCG companies are renowed for high staff retention levels through attractive remuneration, institutionalised leadership training, global assignments and rotations, and flexible working arrangements.

Companies constantly hire people from different education backgrounds, and practise diversity and inclusion. Potential hires could come from a range of backgrounds, from marketing to food technology and nutrition, engineering, supply chain or even law and actuarial science.

L’Oréal Malaysia managing director Ashwin Rajgopal notes, “In an organisation as diverse as L’Oréal, there are always job opportunities across the board regardless of qualifications, age and gender. The nature of our business is very consumer-orientated which makes skills set such as operational marketing, negotiation and sales, merchandising and creative marketing very high in demand.”

“In any business, understanding your consumers is key. There is no better place than FMCG to learn and practise this. It can be very satisfying to see and measure the impact of the work you do, as you create tangible products that impact people’s lives,” says Dutch Lady Malaysia managing director Rahul Colaco.

Join the vibrant world of FMCG brands for a fast paced career enriching lives in a fun, inclusive and informal environment.

Do you have what it takes?

Before you take the next step towards embarking on a fastrack career in FMCG, here is a peek into what kind of traits these companies are looking for. Prime yourself to get hired at some of the world’s best places to work!

The ideal candidate to join FCMG is someone...

“The FMCG industry is fast-paced, with high energy, high degree of innovation and a performance-driven culture.” Sunil Sethi, managing director of Mondelez Malaysia (formerly Kraft Malaysia Sdn Bhd) on why graduates should consider starting a career in the FMCG sector.

Mondelez Malaysia is home to iconic brands such as Oreo, Cadbury, Jacob’s, Chipsmore, Twisties and Tiger biscuits and is part of Mondelez International, a global snack food powerhouse.

Being the world leader in snacks, Mondelez International aims to build capability, engage employees and strive for high performance at all times.

Employees at Mondelez Malaysia have the chance to embark on regional projects which give them international exposure.

There are ample opportunities to fulfil career aspirations with added value through coaching and training, and above all, an environment that ensures everyone has fun at work.