Josh Bersin Company Research Finds Consumer Products Companies Struggle with Skills Shortages, Holding Them Back from Delighting Their Consumers

The Josh Bersin Company, the world’s most trusted human capital advisory firm, is releasing significant new research that identifies a significant skills gap in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies’ ability to design and deliver what consumers want.

CPG companies are increasingly trying to sell directly to consumers, forcing them to redesign their organizations and talent strategies, but the majority lack a combination of skills internally to identify what today’s customers really want. They are also struggling to deploy the capabilities to fulfill these evolving market demands, says the new Josh Bersin Company research.

What’s missing are “Consumer Delight Skills,” which encompass a combination of R&D, marketing and data analytics skills, which are critical to success in this industry.

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The gap has emerged from an analysis of hiring trends in the sector which reveals that customer experience specialists, R&D scientists, innovation managers, and data science roles are in high demand, while the need for merchandisers, warehouse clerks, and storekeepers is declining.

Being more responsive to the market also demands that CPG companies of all product specialties develop new skills across areas including digital innovation in manufacturing. Technological changes such as smart shelves and robotic manufacturing promise to enhance “lean manufacturing” but require a fresh set of skills from CPG managers, engineers, maintenance staff, data scientists, and operators.

From data-driven decision-making and advanced analytics to predictive factory maintenance, today’s CPG companies need an increased and more diversified range of digital capabilities, say The Josh Bersin Company researchers—the latest insights from a major ongoing Global Workforce Intelligence (GWI) research project.

GWI is derived from deep analysis and synthesis of’s extensive Talent Intelligence platform database and The Josh Bersin Company’s own global HR database. In this latest analysis, The Josh Bersin Company looked at the top 200 global CPG companies and identified the skills, capabilities, and operating models of the highest performers in the industry.

Key findings include:

  • CPG organization evolution centralizes on a new, modern circular and responsive system that places the consumer in the middle of the experience, which deviates from the traditional linear value chain
  • Only 7% of CPG companies have already adopted more advanced approaches to managing their supply chains in volatile conditions, such as autonomous end-to-end planning
  • Startups in this space dedicate 3x more talent on Research & Development when compared to traditional CPG organizations
  • Pacesetter CPG companies employ 31.1x more on Research roles than their lower-performing counterparts, and 7.9x more people in Production Roles.

Quantitative analysis was supplemented by case studies with the largest and most-successful CPG companies to identify the most innovative solutions being implemented by “Pacesetter” organizations to address skills gaps and adapt efficiently to the evolving demands of consumers.

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Josh Bersin Company analysts defined Pacesetters as organizations demonstrating leadership best practice and maturity levels other companies need to learn from. Pacesetter CPG companies consistently show significantly more people in technology and transformation roles, with an emphasis on R&D, the research found.

Successful talent strategies employed by other Consumer Packaged Goods industry Pacesetters go beyond looking to recruit and retain more of the right people. Other Pacesetter systemic solutions include conscious redesigning of job roles and reskilling of key people to meet the challenge of data analytics gaps.

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