BrainWorks has published their 2023 Compensation Guide for the Consumer Products Industry. This $2 trillion industry is the largest manufacturing employer in the US, comprising some 20 million jobs, $1.1 trillion in salaries, and $2 trillion contribution to the national GDP. The sector continues to expand, with increasing demand for commensurate growth in the workforce. As the report states, November 2022 saw an 88,000 increase on job openings over November 2020, with a 12.8% increase in wages.

It is important to note that this ongoing robustness occurred in the face of the challenges in supply chain, logistics, and changing consumer demand during and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the Guide says:

Customer turnover is much quicker, as demand has shifted to immediate gratification and faster service–the retailer who has the product in stock and can deliver it fastest wins. Developing omnichannel sales and marketing strategies that include website SEO, social media, and Amazon in addition to brick-and-mortar merchandising and large online retailers is key to meeting consumers where they are and meeting demand.

According to the Guide, three areas stand out as opportunities for growth in Consumer Product Goods: home improvement, healthy living, and recycling and the environment.

Employment trends in the sector examined in the Guide show that employers interested in recruiting and retaining top talent will need to adjust their thinking:

  • Internal mobility is no longer seen by employees as a vertical (“career ladder”) matter, but rather, as the Guide terms it, a “lattice” where lateral moves are a strong option if they contribute to employees’ developing personalized career paths based on their goals and interests.
  • There is a significant uptrend in executives and professionals seeking flexible employment arrangements including contract and interim work. In addition to its benefits for the employees, this trend allows employers to quickly meet scaling workforce demands, and can bring on highly skilled, mission-oriented, and project-based leaders who bring unique skill sets and experiences.
  • Returning employees – by utilizing the offboarding process to maintain good relationships, employers can “keep the door open” for valued but laid-off employees to return, bringing institutional knowledge and skill sets in addition to knowledge and experience they acquired elsewhere.
  • Other trends examined in the Guide include:
    • Scenario-based talent acquisition strategy
    • Hybrid workplaces
    • Work-live integration
    • Salary transparency
    • Mental health and wellness
    • DE&I
    • Retiring of the older workforce

The Guide goes on to examine compensation by position in the sector and concludes that:

These CPG industry challenges require bright, innovative leaders with both technical and industry experience to drive bottom-line growth and lead organizations into the future of consumer products manufacturing and delivery.

What the Guide points to is a transformation in recruiting, hiring, and retention in the Consumer Products Sector. Given the complexity of the change, companies will need to recruit in a whole new way. A relationship with a recruiting firm that understands and stands for the demands of this new world is likely to produce the best results. An effective recruiting partner will work with the company to identify the right combination of skill and experience to find the top candidates and to convey to them what it is the hiring company requires.


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