Newcomers from outside your sector can deliver fresh ideas and new approaches to unlock new commercial potential in a tough trading environment. Our industry survey identifies what works best and how to ensure ‘cross-over’ hiring delivers all that it promises.

Our survey

We surveyed a large number of business leaders in the UK consumer goods field. We explored which specific industries within the wider consumer goods sector have more desire for cross-over hiring, why they do it and what can be done to make a cross-over placement more successful.

“The big question is: why do some companies have the appetite to hire these ‘cross-overs’, while others do not?” Bryony Greenwell, Odgers Berndtson

Who’s doing it?

Respondents believed that hiring cross-overs can have a positive influence, but in reality, the appropriate hires are not happening.

Where they are, over 30% of respondents cited FMCG (including Household, Personal Products, Cosmetics & Beauty and Food & Drink) as the main exporter of talent.  

Typically the roles being filled were Sales, Marketing or Commercial Directors, with leadership roles (Country Head, GM roles), and corporate functions like HR, Finance and IT also filled by cross-overs with no industry knowledge.

Why cross-hire?

Probing the pros and cons of hiring someone unfamiliar with your sector, respondents identified a number of benefits. Amongst them was the belief that cross-hires are more likely to have a different point of view and offer a fresh perspective. On the other hand, it might take them longer until they’re working at the pace of their colleagues.

Best practices for cross-hire success

We explored how best to handle the twin challenges of getting new hires up to speed and ensuring that they fitted into the new culture. On-boarding emerged as a hot topic, with many respondents identifying that it is often not done well. 

Read the full report

Our survey concluded that although hiring professionals from outside their own sector is indeed a positive move in the face of a very difficult market, there are also clear challenges for consumer goods companies in getting a new hire fully integrated and comfortable with the company culture.

Find out more in the full Odgers Berndtson report

To discuss any issues raised or if you have any questions, please contact Bryony Greenwell.

Bryony Greenwell

Bryony Greenwell is a Principal  in Odgers Berndtson’s Consumer & Retail Practice in London focussing on consumer products and services. She has experience placing executives globally in a wide ran...

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