Boost your career – Change industry

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Oliver Hauberg-Jensen

Partner & Practice Lead, Consumer Products, Denmark


+45 28 69 88 80

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Is it time for a job change? Your timing is perfect right now, and a change of industry could help you strengthen your skills, take on new challenges and develop yourself and your future business.

In Compass Human Resources Group, we are responsible for more than 800 recruitments each year throughout the Nordic region. We talk to candidates who are considering a job change on a daily basis. It’s everyday life for us, but for our candidates, a job change is a major life change.

Changing jobs is a big decision and there are many important factors to consider before taking the plunge. The job market is currently in dire need for skilled candidates, so for you as a candidate, it’s a great timing for to consider a job change

Both before and during the pandemic, there has been a lot of focus on the “soft” values of one’s job. Does the social setting work? Is my workplace flexible? Am I part of a good team, and do I have a good manager? All important aspects of a job. However, in this article we will focus more on the professional aspects such as responsibilities, job content and professional skills. We’ll dive into how a focus on professionalism can help you when considering a job change.

How do you approach a job change from a professional perspective?

From function to industry

If you want to test yourself and your professional skills, experience new challenges and improve your skills, you can change industry. It can be tempting to stay with what you know and are comfortable with. And if you’ve spent your whole career in the same industry, you may be a long way from seeing new opportunities in other industries. How can a change of industry even be possible?

So, we often stick to what know and look for a new role with more responsibility and more complex tasks, or a promotion in the same industry, rather than looking at other industries.

We believe that you can get a better, more rewarding, and challenging results if you bring your skills and experience to a new industry. Here, we dive into an example of where a change of industry makes sense, and elaborate on how you, as a candidate, can make yourself attractive.

A candidate with experience from FMCG dares to challenge the established

Negotiations between customers and suppliers are increasingly focused on numbers and analysis. The personal relationship has been pushed into the background, and candidates with FMCG experience are increasingly being headhunted to industries outside FMCG, as their experience of contract negotiations in FMCG has contributed to skills that are highly relevant in other industries.

Oliver Hauberg-Jensen is Partner and Practice Group Lead responsible for Consumer Products at Compass Human Resources Group. He presents his observations on why it is relevant for those with experience in FMCG to look to other industries if you want to drive your skills even further:

“Over the past 5 – 10 years we have seen an increasing interest from other industries for candidates with an FMCG background. At Compass Human Resource Group, we have moved primarily managers and middle managers from FMCG to Medical Devices, Pharma with a focus on OTC products, but also many other Consumer Products companies in Beauty, Fashion and smaller start-ups. As a commercial manager with FMCG experience, you come with a powerful toolbox where the ability to combine sales, marketing, supply chain and finance is highly developed. Annual negotiations in the FMCG industry are fierce, and many other industries are experiencing this as well.”

By changing industries, you can “open up” your CV even more to future opportunities. You can get new and different challenges and, depending on the industry, and you can usually expect a pay rise too.

Oliver has more than 10 years of experience in search and headhunting, and he has particular expertise in the Consumer Products segment, as well as Life Sciences & Healthcare.

Oliver Hauberg-Jensen

Partner, Compass Human Resources Group

“We are not a supplier of 3 CVs. We are consultants”

Are you considering trying out your skills in a new context and switching from FMCG to e.g. Medical Devices? Oliver Hauberg-Jensen explains what Compass looks for when helping large and small companies recruit managers.

“At Compass we are not a supplier of 3 CVs to our clients. We are consultants and trusted advisors. This means that we help our client to see which opportunities we have to find the right candidate not only within the same industry, but also outside the industry. We often sit with clients who are looking for inspiration on where to find their new employees.

Here, Compass’ task as a trusted advisor is to guide the client based on a very simple model. Across organisational levels and job types, one should always look at not only what the market looks like today, but more interestingly what it will look like tomorrow. What demands does it place on the activities we do in the company and how should we organise ourselves going forward? Above all, we need to look at the skills we need to achieve our results in the future. These are not necessarily the skills that we have been used to in our company over the last 5 years, and therefore individual companies can successfully look at other sectors than what they may be used to.” he says.

For this reason, there are great opportunities for FMCG candidates in other industries. Collaboration across the organisation and understanding of different functions and specialist areas plays a greater role. This is where you can come in and make an extra difference. But, of course, it also requires something from you to be considered by companies outside FMCG.

Give examples of your work and skills

The easiest thing for companies to do, of course, is to choose a candidate from the same industry. As a candidate from e.g., the FMCG industry, you therefore need to do your homework.

“When you are a candidate facing a CEO or a chairman in an industry you are not well versed in, you need to do your groundwork significantly better than those already in the industry. You therefore need to be able to demonstrate your skills and experience to the recipient. You need to ‘paint’ a picture for the recipient and make it simple to understand the reality you come from and how it can be translated into a new context,” says Oliver Hauberg-Jensen.

“As a candidate, you can’t expect the CEO or board chair to know everything about FMCG, but the more you can exemplify, specify and ‘translate’ your skills, the more you increase the likelihood that they can relate their issues to the world you come from.”

At Compass, we work to attract the candidates who help our clients achieve their goals. So, we look at trends in other industries and go after the 5% strongest candidates for each role.

“When we help a candidate change from FMCG to another given industry, we can see that they really add value. They are not afraid to challenge the established and they dare to question and think outside the box. Of course, you must be able to adapt in a new environment and different regulatory requirements. But if you as a business leader dare to give FMCG graduates a chance, they might take your company or department even further than you had dared to hope,” concludes Oliver Hauberg-Jensen.

In other words, changing industries can create huge value for you in FMCG. You will have the opportunity to develop your professional skills and strengthen your CV and experience. At the same time, companies have a great potential looking towards FMCG candidates. With the right person in place, you will be equipped for the realities of the industry both now and in the future.

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