Exclusive: Kelly Diver shares the latest on toy industry recruitment

Published on: 19th October 2020

Kelly Diver is the managing director of Diver Phillips Associates, a dedicated national recruitment & executive search consultancy, specialising in the toy, baby, homewares & gift industry.

Kelly Diver

Kelly explains how the events of this year have impacted recruitment within the toy and gift industry, revealing both the challenges and opportunities for those seeking a role in the toy sector, and her top tips for job seekers and for those seeking the right candidate:

“Because of the current Covid-19 situation, it has been impossible to ignore the alarming figures regarding job losses across the UK & Northern Ireland. We have seen a large increase of new candidates entering the market following redundancy due to the immediate impact of the economic downturn.

The Office for National Statistics has reported that people over 16 years of age have an unemployment rate of 4.1% as of July 2020. Although this is concerning, the toy industry has thankfully remained more buoyant than many other consumer markets. Many of my clients have had better than expected quarters, especially in the online channel, which in turn has had an impact on how toy businesses are approaching staff recruitment.

Since July, we have experienced a significant uptick in clients requiring senior eCommerce candidates, particularly eCommerce professionals with national accounts and marketing experience. The importance of negotiation skills, along with experience of liaising with Amazon Vendor Services, seems to be driving the job market. Our current vacancy portfolio is heavily dominated by these vacancies, with over 16 jobs in sales & marketing currently all focusing on these platforms.

Although many have faced redundancy across the FMCG industry, finding the very best toy talent remains a challenge. Many candidates who were looking for a role have pulled their CV from job boards due to market uncertainty, however vacancies remain at a steady level.

For the first time in 10 years, I have experienced candidates being interviewed, assessed and ultimately offered roles over platforms such as Skype, Zoom & Microsoft Teams. It may seem alien to conduct an interview over Skype, Zoom & Microsoft teams, but in some cases, this is a new function for the employer too, and often they are just as nervous as the applicant.

Not only has the world of interviewing changed, but so have the vacancies. For example, a car or car allowance used to be offered as standard for sales roles: now that employers are relying on online video calls with retailers, this is no longer necessarily the case.

Whilst remote working has got us through 2020, home-based contracts are no longer as popular as they were four years ago. As the reliance on online retailers has increased, the need to have an office based national account manager, eCommerce manager or marketing manager is far more prevalent. Feedback from clients is that due to an ever-changing retail environment, communication and keeping up to date with meetings and changes is more important than ever.

Looking for suitable employment is never an easy task, and with many roles attracting a high volume of applicants, candidates often ask how they can compete. But although vacancies may receive a high amount of interest, our research shows that only 1 in 59 candidates are actually suited to the vacancy.

CVs are vital in any career search; if your CV is not up to scratch or does not demonstrate relevant experience, you are not likely to be considered for the role. Avoid stock formats and templates from job boards; if you have used the same template as 20 other candidates, you will not stand out.

Your CV is your one and only brag file – always make sure to include how you have performed against target, any achievements, and retail accounts that you may have worked with or people you manage.

Potential employers often forget that candidates are not just being interviewed, but the candidate is also interviewing them. Whilst the job market may feel competitive, attracting the best talent is still as important as ever. Employers should always be prepared to give applicants and interviewees quick feedback and guidelines on their performance.”

All vacancies can be found on the company’s website. For more information, email or call 0161 543 0888.


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