Cosmetics, personal care products, household products and industrial cleaning products: our consumer goods team take a look at industry insights for the year ahead.

This specialist science-led industry sector is managed by one of our most distinguished departments at Science Solutions Recruitment. Partnering with own brands and contract manufacturers across the UK, we focus on seeking out the outstanding contributors of the future, who help businesses create products that respond to on-going changes in consumer lifestyles and the environment. Skilled scientists and innovators in this sector are highly sought-after and do not remain available for long. We keep abreast of industry news through research and our vast network of contacts; we adapt to market conditions accordingly.

  • Industry news and insights for 2019
  • Industry-specific shortage skills
  • Advice for graduates
  • Geography – insight into demographics in the industry
  • Working with recruiters
  • Temporary and interim work placements
  • Support for start-ups and SMEs

News and insights for 2019

Cosmetics Business News predict the following top 5 trends for 2019:

1. Diversity

2. Streamlined skin care

3. Surgical mimicry

4. Gen X: The forgotten consumer

5. Skin tech: Simulation and tracking devices

“In an industry that over the years has engulfed itself in buzzwords, straight talk should replace this.”

“One size never did fit all, and we should make it easy for the customer to make informed decisions. The customer is expecting communication to be simple, straightforward and transparent. We as skin care brands have a responsibility to not only translate the INCI but explain how these ingredients are going to work and give results – a true reflection of the ingredient potency level and its delivery system. We have to be very clear in our messaging so that the consumer is getting what they expect.” Abi Cleeve, founder of skinSense and Ultrasun.

From Mintel:

“Sub-zero waste: a new dawn is fast approaching for beauty and personal care.

If brands don’t change their approach now, they won’t exist in the future. Beauty and personal care (BPC) businesses must switch to a whole new paradigm in terms of sustainability and zero waste.

This is not just a trend; it’s a movement towards a ground-shaking new archetype for the industry. Some BPC companies are already discussing completely removing packaging from the equation. If brands don’t change their approach now, they will become insignificant. The first-mover advantage is key to achieving success and brands that place current profits ahead of making the necessary investment in zero waste will not be around in the future.”*

Interested in sustainable cosmetics? Sustainability & Naturals in Cosmetics 2019 will be held in Berlin on the 14th and 15th May.

Beauty Trends 2019

FMCG news

Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Pepsico remain the world’s largest fast moving consumer goods companies in the world. The top end of the sector has seen rapid growth in recent months, in spite of challenging conditions, but a large part of this success is due to the large volume of merger and acquisition activity companies have wielded to weather the storm.

Large fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have seen their revenue growth and operating profit growth hampered significantly in the past years. The sector faces a number of headwinds, as the ecommerce boom continues to eat into the profits of traditional retailers across the global market and currencies fluctuate dramatically while geopolitical instability threatens to hit imports and exports with tariffs. As a result, while the consumer goods segment can expect global demand to rise, key developing markets have undergone periods of slower than expected growth.

At the same time, while markets become increasingly volatile amid changing consumer habits and heightened digital competition, the revenue of top 50 FMCG companies has continued to grow, regardless. According to one recent report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, in the last year, this has risen strongly from 0.5% in 2016 to 5.7% in 2017 – as the FMCG market reached its highest level since 2011. With this in mind, a further exploration of the market to highlight which markets host the best atmosphere for sustained FMCG growth, and which companies are the entities to emulate, is essential for FMCG firms, going forward.”**

Shortage skills

There’s a UK-wide shortage of experienced/ senior development chemists in cosmetics and personal care. In 2018, numerous companies spent up to 6 months searching for senior development chemists. Regulatory professionals also remain sought after and are often difficult to find. As with all skill shortages, this means job seekers can pick and choose their next career opportunity and can demand higher salaries.

In 2018, most senior development chemists secured interviews and accepted a job within a few weeks of being on the market. For companies looking to recruit: a swift recruitment process, working closely with your recruitment partner and sticking to all agreed timescales is key in securing the best person for your company. Also consider overall packages rather than relying on salary alone to attract the best staff.

Underwhelming packages, such as those with just the basic holiday allowance and pensions don’t hold a lot of weight in a highly competitive market.  Collaborative and rewarding working environments, along with start/finish time flexibility, or even home working flexibility is also something that is becoming more of a common request, with a minority of companies offering this.

We recently had a success story with a French/US national who relocated to the UK for a Senior Development Chemist role, for a company who were struggling to find that skill-set in the UK.  We assisted with the accommodation/ referencing process, allowing this chemist to relocate relatively easily.  They were on the market for less than two weeks and obtained several interviews within just a few days of engaging with us.


There is an abundance of BSc and MSc chemistry graduates in the UK. However, graduates from cosmetic science courses are less common, due to the small number of courses available. The SCS Diploma is also a useful qualification for those looking to develop a career in the industry. With starting salaries of around £18,000 we often find that universities have given unrealistic expectations in terms of salary and entry-level roles. Exceptions apply of course, but for the most part, companies looking for graduates have no trouble recruiting. If you are a graduate looking to start a career in the industry – it’s essential to make the most of your experience through your CV, LinkedIn profile and by making early connections within your network. If you are able to relocate, even temporarily, you may find this helps you to get a foot on the ladder early on.

See our blog on how to stand out and not become lost in online applications: click here.

We have a range of CV advice and blogs on how to create the perfect graduate LinkedIn profile – just check out our blogs here.


It can take longer to recruit for businesses in locations further away from large cities, where fewer local candidates are available. For locations including East Anglia, the South West, Wales, the North East and even the North West – we often support relocators into open jobs in those areas. This is due to similar companies being sparsely distributed in these areas and sometimes the presence of a couple of larger companies who secure the majority of scientists with relevant skill-sets, through offering career progression and higher salaries, can make it more difficult and time-consuming for other companies to recruit skilled scientific and technical staff. Efficient recruitment processes are required to secure staff when they are available. Relocators are usually looking at a number of different geographical locations, so the draw of an individual company is especially important.

There are always a higher number of industry professionals willing to work in London and other larger cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. This includes candidates from overseas, who are often keen to be based in a UK city, close to airports, transport links and friends.

It goes without saying that if you are looking for career progression and you are able to relocate – you will have a much wider choice of companies to apply for. If you are unable to relocate – it’s our job to seek out the best possible match within your commutable radius.

If your company is looking to recruit – factoring your location into the recruitment process is essential. Perhaps you can improve the overall package you are offering, or offer relocation costs as part of the offer of employment. Companies who pay for interview expenses often have access to a wider range of people. This year we have seen dozens of European candidates come to the UK for interviews. Even within the UK, travel can be expensive and although on one side, you could say it shows commitment if interview candidates pay for their own travel, it also cuts out many of those candidates who will then have to carefully decide which companies to interview at. They essentially make their decision before you’ve had chance to meet them and show what your company can offer in person. Senior candidates often have the choice of 5-10 job vacancies at any one time, especially if they are able to relocate across the UK.

Working with recruiters

We have spent years working with cosmetics, personal care and household manufacturers and contract developers in the UK. We are a niche recruiter and our consumer goods team spend five days a week recruiting for these industries. Communication is always key. Recruitment processes are much easier when we are in direct contact with technical teams, to ensure we are fully versed on exactly what the expectations of the line managers and hiring managers will be. We pride ourselves on honesty, open dialogue and integrity at all times. The companies who secure the very best staff in the market are usually those who offer good career development and training opportunities, a competitive salary and package and who focus on creating best first impressions during their hiring process. Speed on CV and interview feedback, honesty in terms of expectations and salary ranges and an exemplary new starter experience. Encourage your recruitment partner to visit your site at the earliest convenience to ensure they understand the working environment, location, company values and your business strategy.

Science Solutions work proactively, investing heavily in resources and using a multi-faceted approach to select and screen the very best scientific and technical staff in the industry. Our core values of being accountable, personable and proven are of paramount importance, in this fast-paced industry which relies on a strong network and sustainable relationships.

Our team understand the transitional environment of this industry. Distribution channels continue to change, and consumers are increasingly concerned with product effectiveness, ingredients and convenience. Technological innovation is critical, and it is important for scientists at all levels to continually upskill in areas such as NPD, marketing and knowledge of emerging nations for international companies.

We work closely with our teams in related industries, such as speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals, to effectively support companies across the spectrum, from raw materials suppliers to finished product distribution.

Temporary/ interim recruitment and job vacancies

We pride ourselves on offering an elite interim and temporary cover service. For our clients we focus on skills, speed and compliance; ensuring that the best available staff are with you as quickly as possible and fully compliant in line with national parameters and your own company’s expectations. For job seekers: we work with interim staff and contractors – securing them the best roles on the market. For those who are immediately available due to graduation, redundancy, end of a contract or leaving a role: we support you to find a permanent role, often with temporary work to pay the bills in the interim. We are honest with all parties and work with expectations on start dates and duration of placements; ensuring that all sides are happy with each temporary/ interim placement.

Temp/ interim work can often pay a higher comparative salary, so we advise staff and manage expectations if they are also looking for permanent work, or if the temporary job is likely to go permanent.

Support for start-ups and SMEs

It’s often easier for us to recruit for the big names in the industry: scientific and technical staff already have brand awareness and sometimes salaries can be higher too (although not always). As well as supporting large companies with sourcing niche skill-sets and the innovators of the future that they often need to drive their business forward, we also pride ourselves on working hard alongside start-ups and SMEs; promoting the benefits of working for smaller organisations and getting to know the products and services that each company offers. We visit our clients: see the labs, get to know the technical teams. We support your business strategy and find those individuals who are best-suited to make a difference in your organisation. Some of our job seekers find that working for smaller organisations can provide them with a more rounded skill-set over time, often with better chances of career progression and promotion. More autonomy, closer working relationships, a higher level of responsibility. There are pros and cons for all working environments and our job is to not only match the skills – but to effectively match individuals with organisations in which they can have a positive impact.

The consumer goods team at Science Solutions Recruitment

Daniel Lloyd: Company Director and Recruiter for the UK cosmetics, personal care and household industries

Direct line: 01524 237286

Email Dan here.

I have been a client of Science Solutions since the summer of 2016. We were looking to make a crucial appointment in our technical department – and were seeking a high calibre development chemist to join our R&D lab. Since that time, we have taken on four excellent employees via Science Solutions – and have found the experience to be thoroughly beneficial and enjoyable. We found Dan to be unique in his understanding of our values, our brief and have been thoroughly impressed with the communication before, during and since the process concluded. We are extremely happy with all four of our employees.

 Science Solutions have something different about them – and seem to care deeply about finding a good fit. We are also impressed with the level of feedback provided to us (as the employer) and also passed on to the successful and unsuccessful candidates. The whole process felt as if it was thoroughly well judged, transparent, fair and well communicated – and we wouldn’t hesitate to use Science Solutions again. I have already recommended their services to other businesses looking to recruit technical talent in the chemical industry.” Phillip Kalli, Managing Director – Ideal Manufacturing

“Dan is a highly competent recruitment specialist who is an excellent fit in today’s headhunting industry. He is bright, interpersonally skilled and client focused. He has a positive attitude and strong professional agility. It has been a pleasure working with Dan.” Kexin Lu PhD. Chief Scientific Officer.

“Since graduating I have talked to many recruiters while looking for a job, and I can honestly say that Daniel (and his colleagues) were without a doubt the best by far. Daniel was always available to help me with any issues that occurred, he was always approachable and professional in his manner yet brought a touch of personality to the process. I would highly recommend Daniel and any of his colleagues to anyone looking for a role in the future.” Chris Francis. Field Chemist: Laundry & Textile Care.

Stephanie HoughtonRecruiter for the UK cosmetics, personal care and household industries

Direct line: 01524 237289

Email Steph here.

“Stephanie has provided terrific support and guidance throughout the whole interview process, sharing insightful and considered suggestions for interview preparation and arranging calls to make sure I was thoroughly prepared. Everything was organised down to the last detail, even down to forwarding a street map of the interview location! This level of guidance, support and professionalism deserves recognition as it goes way beyond what I would have expected. I wish all recruiters were like Stephanie!” Howard Whitby. Head of R&D EMEA at Kimberley-Clark Professional.

“Stephanie recently helped me with my job search and I was really impressed with how responsive she was. I was in contact with other recruiters as well and in comparison I noticed that Stephanie seemed genuinely keen to help and always responded extremely quickly to messages and emails, often in under 10 minutes. I would definitely recommend Stephanie for anyone looking for a new role as she was a pleasure to work with.” Yolanda Grunewald. Junior R&D Formulation Chemist.

“Stephanie was really helpful and got me an interview within a week of first messaging her which was amazing. If anyone’s a recent graduate or even looking for a potential career change get in touch with Stephanie, she really can’t do enough for you.” Connor Rowlings. Manufacturing Technician.

Wishing everyone in the consumer goods industries a happy and successful 2019.

From all the team at Science Solutions.



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