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Challenges Face FMCG Labor Market, Despite Growing Wages

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Robert Kneschke, Shutterstock, 216498088

The labor market for the Hungarian fast-moving consumer goods sector has seen a raft of wage increases promised for this year. Some stores are stepping in to train their own talent, worried by the fear of qualified professionals leaving Hungary for better wages and working possibilities.

At the beginning of the year, many big FMCG retailers announced they had plans to put up wages. Penny Market announced average wage raises of 10%, Lidl of 15%, Auchan of 9%, and Aldi of 10.88%; Tesco said it would raise wages in two steps this year.

But wage rises are not the only investments being made to stave off the labor crisis; some employers are committed to training their own talent, too.  

“Spar has focused on high-quality practical training since the beginning,” Márk Maczelka, head of communications at the local unit of the Dutch-based retailer, tells the Budapest Business Journal. 

“The increase in the popularity of the retail trade and the high standards of training of our future staff members allow us to alleviate the lack of available workforce in the retail sector. The success of the corporation depends on our staff; therefore, the quality of their professional preparedness is of foremost importance, and we would like to achieve a wider range of improvement in this regard in the future,” Maczelka adds.

On top of everyday practical training, Spar also focuses on talent management. To that end, it has been the main sponsor of the Szakma Sztár (“Skill Star”) vocational competition organized by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for ten years. Shop assistants and retail traders, as well as logistics and consignment administrator students have competed in the trade segment.  

“The retail chain fully supports the objectives of the event: to contribute to the social prestige and attractiveness of these trades, and also to present the career models and to promote specific vocations,” the retailer says.

Although talent is out there on the labor market, the fear of the youth leaving the country is very present.

“Aldi believes that Hungarian secondary schools and higher education institutions continue to release a large number of young talents, but many of these young people leave Hungary,” Aldi says in an official statement it sent to the BBJ in response to put questions.  

“Since its entry into the Hungarian market, Aldi has been offering competitive wages, often the highest amount paid to those filling the given position in the local market, and attractive career opportunities to its employees,” the statement says. It adds that this approach is essential to retain talented people in the long run.  

Staff Competition

“Now that there is a skills shortage not only in retail but in all industries, food retailers compete for qualified and agile workforce not only with each other but also with other sectors,” the Aldi statement says.

The German retailer says it usually finds the right candidates for its positions, be those shop staff, purchasing, sales or IT professionals. It attributes this to its employer attractiveness in general.  

“We also consider targeted employer branding a priority as satisfied employees are our most effective promoters. Our HR activities aim to introduce the future generation of employees to retail as an industry – as well as the career opportunities provided by Aldi – as early as possible,” Aldi says.

“This is why we will organize our Aldi4Excellence career afternoon for the third time this year to enable those interested in retail to meet Aldi managers in person and be inspired by people with an outstanding career path. Based on our experience, today’s job seekers value open and direct communication with their would-be employer and prefer such events to job ads as a means to gain insight into a company’s operation,” Aldi concludes.

Editor’s note: All ten of the top FMCG retail chains were contacted by the BBJ and asked to comment for this article.

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