As we’re back in full force for 2022, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the key trends in 2021 and what we can expect to see across the employment market in the year ahead.


WRAP UP of 2021


More Opportunities, Fewer Candidates

Last year, the candidate market was tighter than we have ever seen since 2008, with a record number of opportunities advertised and a significant decline in application rates (SEEK Employment Report). The continued lockdowns and uncertainty saw many employees hold on to current job security and were reluctant to move throughout 2021. The candidates active in the market have been able to pick and choose between opportunities.


The War for Talent

In 2021, employers faced ‘The War for Talent’ and the challenge of attracting new talent to support business growth. We saw an increasing amount of counter offers and promotions, with many employers revisiting their EVP to help gain a competitive edge in the market. 


A shift in Employee Expectations

Employee expectations shifted from the impact of the pandemic. Candidates now have greater expectations around employee benefits and flexible work models, playing a pivotal role in their decision making. We saw a shift in candidates’ top priorities when looking for a new opportunity, valuing culture, salary and flexibility, making it no longer all about the money. 


FMCG Structures Drive Change

Salary increases began to drive change across FMCG company structures, with junior to mid-level roles increasing up to 25%. In return, this has is put pressure on the senior management level, demonstrating greater impact right across the company. Leading into 2022, these types of salaries won’t be sustainable and predict further changes and restructures towards the end of the year.

Key changes across FMCG functions in 2021:

  • Leaner sales structures emerged with National Account Managers (NAM) in high demand boosting salaries up to $190K + super.
  • A greater focus on Digital and Communications have diluted traditional Brand Management roles.
  • FMCG are increasingly bringing digital, insights and content in-house instead of outsourcing to an agency.
  • Increased demand for Organisational Development and Change Specialist emerged in 2021, with Transformational Change Projects being bought forward.
  • Greater need for contractors over permanent HR hires for project work as headcount concerns and a level of uncertainty remained.
  • Supply Chain efficiency and optimisations took priority, creating Continuous Improvement and Supply Chain Project roles within the consumer goods industry.
  • Manufacturing saw a greater demand for degree qualified over trade professionals, with people leadership skills prioritised over technical expertise.


Predictions FOR 2022


More Movement in the Market

At the end of 2021, a global survey showed that Australian workers were some of the most ‘burnout’ in the world. As we enter 2022, the employment market is anticipating the hype around the ‘Great Resignation/Reshuffle’ to hit, with 38% of Australian workers considering a new role this year (PWC Report). Organisations looking to attract and retain top talent will need to focus on what workers want – strong culture, clear career paths, and flexibility.


Hybrid-work Rules 

The demand and availability for hybrid work continue to increase. At the of end December 2021, 10% of LinkedIn paid job postings in Australia offer remote work, reflecting a 2.1x increase compared to one year ago (LinkedIn APAC Labour Market Insights). Most workers will continue to seek out hybrid work opportunities and will be looking for a clear WFH policy to understand what flexibility means to your business.


FMCG Organisations Focus on Retention and Purpose

Organisations will need to ensure remote or hybrid-work models aren’t decreasing connection with your business. As remote working expands geographies, employees who feel disconnected will be more likely to move and will be welcomed by a larger pool of potential employers. Maintaining a strong culture, values and purpose across dispersed workforces will help retain employees. In a recent survey, 86% of CEO’s stated that purpose was a critical part of their employee value proposition (KPMG CEO Outlook 2021). Leaders will be looking to further embed company purpose into everything they do to strengthen the long-term connections with employees and stakeholders.


Sought After Skillsets

Globally, skills for the same occupation have changed by about 25% from 2015 to 2021 and will continue to change more rapidly into the future (LinkedIn Talent Trends). Providing learning and development is business-critical for employees to meet current and future job requirements and perform at higher levels. Executives are identifying what skills are missing from their workforces to address current challenges and gain a competitive advantage – offering current employees educational career pathways and more skill-based hiring to fill the gaps.

As many FMCG businesses go through significant digital adoption and transformation, they are looking to increase diversity in digital capabilities and technology to fill the skills gap. Supply Chain efficiency and optimisation remain a priority, seeking professionals with the skills to deliver on transformation projects and cost-savings. 


Adoption of Employee Well-Being Measures

As employee benefits continue to evolve in 2022, well-being programs, mental health, physical and financial well-being benefits will be looked for when evaluating job opportunities. Companies that adopt a new measure of Employee Wellness to help more accurately predict employee performance and retention will result in a more resilient workforce in the future.


Overall, 2022 will be a big year for the employment market, as more people actively seek new opportunities, making retention and talent attraction top priorities for employers. If you’d like to find out further insights tailored to your FMCG or Retail business, please reach out to [email protected] to enquire about our Miller Leith Employment Market Insights sessions.


Back to posts