Retail and FMCG internships, placements & work experience: Expert career advice and an insight into the Retail and FMCG industries

Find the latest internships, retail placements and insight jobs with top employers in Retail and FMCG

Few sectors are as huge as Retail & FMCG. In 2016, total UK sales in these sectors topped £358 billion!

Retail: Work in one of the biggest industries in the UK

If you’re in any doubt about how big the retail sector is, you just have to take a stroll down your local high street on a Saturday afternoon to see all the shoppers out in force.

Retail is a crucial part of the national economy. Consumer spending makes up more than half of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP). With over 3.3 million of people employed in retail in the UK, it’s an area of mammoth opportunity.

All head offices of major retail companies will have roles across a variety of industries, from financial to design, HR to marketing. There is something for any undergraduate.

Retail Summer Internships and Placements

During retail work experience, whether it’s a placement year or undergraduate internship, you’ll be placed in a position of responsibility, meaning you’ll be able to learn a lot in a short space of time, like how to manage others, deal with pressure and work in a fast-paced environment. You can also take onboard real-world experience that you can reference in future graduate interviews.

Retail expertise will set you apart from graduates who haven’t got practical experience to draw upon, giving you a better chance of success when applying for graduate positions at some of the UK’s biggest companies, like John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

An internship in retail will usually happen during the summer months between your first and second year, or second and third year of university. They can last anywhere between one month to four months. Whereas an industrial placement in retail will last up to 13 months and takes place as part of a sandwich degree, between your second and final year of university. A retail placement student will tend to work in one business area, whereas a student on an internship may rotate across the business every few weeks.

Business areas could include store operations, management, buying, merchandising, marketing and more.

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"In 2018, Retail offered one of the most generous graduate salaries, with an average of £35,000. This beats other top industries such as Banking, Consultancy, IT and Media. This is up 2.9% since 2017.” High Fliers: The Graduate Market in 2018

What is FMCG?

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is a term that refers to all those little things that make modern life great. Think about your favourite cosmetics or fragrance, the one that never lets you down. Think about all the hygiene products you use daily, such as toothpaste, soap and shower gel. Throw in razors, detergent and food & drink products – and that’s by no means the complete list of FMCG products – and you have yourself a huge industry!

The FMCG sector is one of the largest in the business world. Unlike many other industries that are service-orientated, FMCG is a highly-profitable sector operating on a global scale.

FMCG companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle and L'Oréal are mainstays of Forbes’ most valuable global brands list, while the Food and Drink Federation says the industry will need tens of thousands more workers by 2019.

Applying for and FMCG internship or placement is a great way to explore this industry.

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"The average graduate starting salary on offer in 2018 for those embarking on a career in Consumer Goods was £30,000.” High Fliers: The Graduate Market in 2018

FMCG Career Opportunities

As you can probably guess, an industry this large offers many opportunities in all fields. If you’re creative, ambitious and able to understand what consumers want and how you can reach them, you’ll always have a role in FMCG.

Talented people are needed in important roles like market research, product design, product development and supply chain management. It probably comes as no real shock that, thanks to the size of companies in the retail & FMCG sector, graduates from all degree-backgrounds are needed to help them thrive.

Degrees in science, design, marketing, business, finance, psychology and economics are just some of the ones employers will need, but a strong degree in virtually any discipline, with work experience to boot, can help you secure a graduate job in this industry.