Career Guide

A Gen-Y friendly workplace!

If you know which FMCG role fits you, how do you decide on the company?

It’s really about what drives YOU personally. Is it about being empowered at work? Or are you looking for a company that is strong on corporate responsibility?

Are work-life balance and flexibility important to you? Or are you a high-achiever looking at quick recognition and leadership training?

Every FMCG giant has internal corporate values and structures that pay attention to all these, but some focus more on being sustainable, others on empowering staff.

Take your pick!

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes help employees look forward to doing more than just a regular job. It adds meaning and gives a great sense of fulfillment.

While FMCG companies are looking to grow, they ensure they interact responsibly with the society at large. Take the example of GSK.

“We have a global CSR initiative that allows staff to take a day off from work to volunteer at a charity or community-based organisation.,” says GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare vice-president and general manager Rachel Ferdinando.

CSR is another key factor in how hires pick the best fit for them, especially as FMCG have global presence and significant impact on the world socially and economically.

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal is also committed to an impact beyond beauty! As a market leader in Malaysia, L’Oréal helps its employees find fulfillment by giving back to society through science, education and solidarity.

Its yearly “For Women in Science” programme offers fellowships to exceptional female scientists worldwide; while the “Keep In School” scheme helps finance the education of children above 12 who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, by 2020, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) aims to improve health and well-being, reduce environmental impact and source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance people’s livelihoods across its value chain.

For those looking for a new challenge everyday, many FMCG companies would be a good fit. Take the case of global snack food giant Mondelez International.

Managing director Sunil Sethi shares the company’s culture of empowerment, where employees are thrown into the deep end to acquaint them with the business.

“As we aim to be a ‘Great Place To Work’, we ensure strategic alignment and then empower people to make their own decisions and deliver results”.

By empowerment, he says employees are exposed to various projects cross functionally apart from their day-to-day work, which widens their horizons.

Work flexibility

Work-life balance has become an increasingly important factor in career choices.

FMCG companies like P&G, Nestlé and Mondelez International recognise this.

Many companies are flexible about working location, hours spent in office and start and end times of a work day. They prioritise results over the hours clocked in.

Take P&G Malaysia for example. The company provides flexibility on the time at which you want to start your day and employees are encouraged to work one day a week from home. The company even subsidises the investment to set up your work station at home. There are policies which allow “less than full time” work and sabbaticals, depending on individual and business needs. Working for progressive companies in the FMCG sector gives access to a flexible, empowering environment that helps you deliver optimum results.

Colaco of Dutch Lady says, “Our work culture is inclusive, open and informal. Our policies are family-friendly, such as 90 days maternity leave and flexi-time”.

At GSK, employees say “there is no late-night or early-morning culture and nobody will micro-manage you”.

“Agile working helps a married working woman like me juggle between my career and family.”

Name: Lenny Chuah


manager Company: Unilever Malaysia

Empowerment on the job

“I’ve been given the freedom to develop my own way, to form my own opinions and come up with ideas and solutions.”

Name: Naomi Chen

Designation: Shopper marketing manager

Company: Dutch Lady Malaysia

Investment in Leadership and Training

Nora Mahbob, HR director, L’Oréal Malaysia. Nora Mahbob, HR director, L’Oréal Malaysia.

As it is talent that drives a company’s performance in the market place, many employers realise they cannot keep spending on outbidding other employers. Companies strive to build employee loyalty by investing in their development and career growth through graduate management trainee programmes and internal leadership programmes for young high performing talent.

Nora Mahbob, HR director, L’Oréal Malaysia says, “As the world No.1 cosmetic company, L’Oréal provides a graduate with an excellent foundation to their career because they are given exposure to various functions and disciplines in the business.

As a Management Trainee, we have a graduate programme called the Young Entrepreneur Programme (YEP) where one will be given training on all relevant divisions to gain a good perspective from strategy development right up to route-to-market execution.

The YEP focuses on building strong future executives that have solid foundation in sales, retail and trade, with further development and exposure in their field of choice. Excellent candidates will have the opportunity to participate in the Asean Exchange Programme, where they will be placed in a selected Asean country for a short-term assignment for three months.

Dutch Lady Malaysia managing director Rahul Colaco adds: “We offer the graduate trainee Dutch Lady Associate Programme (DLAP), a great platform for fresh graduates to start their career”.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK) vice-president and general manager Rachel Ferdinando says GSK uses “differential development” by customising training to the individual across three areas:

· On-the-job experiences (70%) – stretch assignments, increasing the scope of their roles, new projects within their roles or secondment.

· Developmental relationships (20%) – opportunities to get support and feedback from managers, peers, mentors or coaches.

· Formal development (10%) – via e-learning, coursework, programmes, classroom-style training, articles or books.


Name: Vanessa Ong

Designation: Senior key account manager

Company: Procter & Gamble (P&G) Malaysia

P&G: Building talent from within for a global career

In 2012, Fortune and Chief Executive magazines named P&G the top company for leaders.

JP Donlon, reviewer at Chief Executive noted: “P&G executives are considered the Navy SEALs of management. This results from a razor-like focus on internal succession planning at all levels.”

Susan Weng, who recently took over the P&G Malaysia HR reins, is a testament to P&G internal leadership development practices.

“P&G is recognised as a leader in developing talent and grooming world class leaders. As a ‘build from within’ company, we invest in getting the best talents at the entry level and are trained to be the next leader of the company.

“We hold managers accountable for building leaders at all levels in the organisation via early responsibility, training and assignment rotations every few years,” she says.

Having spent 10 years in P&G since joining fresh out of university, she is now country HR manager for Malaysia, Singapore and global development market-Asia.