In the words of Richard Panzarasa, CEO of executive search and consulting firm The Panzarasa Group, 2009's flavor and fragrance job climate "was a disaster." Gradual improvement came only as 2010 financial sales results returned to pre-recession levels. "As we head into 2011, there is some caution," he says. "On the same token, I think everyone is looking at [this year] as being a bit more robust."
Panzarasa believes several key companies will make significant personnel additions this year. "In many cases it's because they [the company] made a customer core list and they have to get people who know how to service these new clients." In addition, he says, "I see both the small and midsized companies making some headway—there are a lot of opportunities developing." At the same time, he warns, "More [jobs] are moving way from fine fragrance. This could mean companies are looking at rebalancing their portfolios. I also think we're going to see people let go because the market is going in a different direction. To be in that market you've got to put your resources there."
Who’s in Demand Now
In recent months, growth in technically oriented positions has shown strength, compared to marketing and sales positions. “There was definitely an uptick in demand for perfumers and flavorists, regulatory, and R&D in both flavor and fragrance,” he says. “That also spills over into ingredients, primarily for technical and sales. Some of the raw material companies are getting more sophisticated and bringing in technical people who help the sales effort. They’re going out with the sales person and explaining [to customers] how to use the materials more efficiently.” Knowledge of the market continues to be an indispensible asset for the successful job seeker, he continues. No matter the size of the company, Panzarasa says, “Experience is very valuable. When companies are hiring for a position, they’re looking for knowledge, experience, contacts.