FMCG Hiring and the Coronavirus

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen a marked shift in the FMCG & Consumer industry in the UK that in truth seems to be changing on a near-daily basis.

As one of the industries most in the eye of the storm, we have the privilege of supplying head office staff to over 30 of the top 50 businesses and as a consequence speak with many candidates and clients alike with privileged access to the decision-makers at the most senior level.


Here’s a quick overview of some of the policies taken:

Working from home / office:

Up until the middle of last week, most were taking an approach of isolating those who had been abroad or reported a temperature in the previous 14 days. From there we have seen businesses evolve predominantly into 2 / 3 main camps:

  1. A) Work from home indefinitely;
    B) Work from home for the next 2 weeks & take a view then;
    C) Work in 2/3 split shifts with groups of people rotating time in the office and time from home;


New starters:
Where people have been due to start this week, most businesses have made provisions to get them a laptop sent to them and engage people through Zoom / Skype for their on-boarding. Others have been slower to react here but have paid the new staff and promised to get them actively working ASAP as soon as IT is enabled etc. One top 10 Global FMCG business has made a provision for new starters to be met on their first day by their new line manager and then to have all the equipment needed to move to a home-based environment – planning the new starter/onboarding strategy is going to be key here.

We have had isolated cases of offers being withdrawn but these have tended to be with restaurant or hotel groups, not traditional consumer businesses or agencies / consultancies that support them.


Up until Friday businesses hadn’t made the call to switch to video / zoom interviews but now this is pretty much standard across the board for the first stage with 2nd / final interviews either to be conducted face to face or via Skype also – the view here is probably split 50/50 between our clients but we’d expect that figure to shift towards everything being done virtually as the days pass.


Our blue-chip clients are all comfortable at this stage making offers / moving processes forwards with SMEs being a little more varied in confidence however those with business models aligned to e-commerce or the FMCG space should take some solace in the fact things could potentially be a lot worse (e.g. travel, hospitality etc).

Hopefully, this helps a little when aligning what steps and actions your business has taken or could take.

I’ll issue an update over the next couple of weeks but please do keep an eye out for our content every couple of days where my colleague Siobhan Nutt aims to #dosomething for candidates by giving our top tips for a video interview and how to genuinely assess culture via a video call without asking ‘what’s the culture like?’

For access to all our content, please take a look at our website and / or follow us on LinkedIn.

If you think we can help advise you with your strategy or help you in finding talent during this time, please do reach out to me on or give me a call on 07792544887.