How Many Jobs Are Available in Consumer Nondurables?

The consumer nondurables industry produces a wide range of products that have a short lifespan. These include items like food, beverages, personal care items, and even clothing.

The industry offers numerous job opportunities across dozens of sectors and roles. If you are interested in a career in consumer nondurables, read on to learn more about the career paths available to you and the qualifications you will need to get started.

The Consumer Nondurables Sector Explained

The consumer nondurables sector produces goods that have a lifespan that is usually shorter than three years, or items that consumers quickly use up. These include:

  • Food and drink
  • Cleaning products
  • Skincare and personal hygiene products
  • Paper products
  • Makeup and hair care products
  • Fuel and oil products

Companies in this industry are responsible for the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of these products. They cater to a constant and consistent demand by customers. The industry itself is resilient to fluctuations in the economy, as shoppers will continue to purchase similar amounts of these items even when they are going through a financial crisis. While they may choose a more affordable product, they will rarely cease purchasing nondurables altogether.

The consumer nondurables industry employs roughly 5.5 million people in the USA, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of them are employed in food and chemical manufacturing.

Types of Jobs Available in Consumer Nondurables

Since consumer nondurables are such a vast and varied industry, the types of jobs you can apply for are numerous. You can find entry-level jobs that require very little to no training, as well as complex, high-stakes positions that require education and experience.

Here are eight types of jobs to consider:

1.   Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the process of getting consumer nondurable items manufactured and delivered to customers. They are in charge of procurement, scheduling, inventory management, and logistics.

Their main goal is to ensure that:

  • items are delivered on time
  • there are sufficient items in stock
  • costs of production, delivery, and storage are kept to a minimum

In order to become a supply chain manager, you will likely need a BA in business or logistics. You will also need to acquire several certifications and undergo training, depending on the branch of the industry you choose to work in.

The median salary for supply chain managers in the US is $125,640.

2.   Production Manager

Another management role you can take on in the consumer nondurables industry is that of production manager.

Your job will be to oversee the manufacturing process of a specific item or class of items. You will need to hit certain production targets, all the while ensuring the efficient and effective use of all resources, including ingredients and staff.

You will also need to ensure that all of the equipment used in production is well-maintained and that the company adheres to various laws and regulations.

A BA in engineering or manufacturing is often required. Some employers also look for management and business skills, and there will likely be additional training involved too.

The median salary for production managers in the US is $121,846.

3.   Quality Assurance Manager

Quality assurance managers are a vital cog in all consumer nondurables manufacturing companies. They ensure that the products meet certain quality, safety, and performance standards.

This job comes with a lot of responsibility, so you will need to work well under pressure and be comfortable with stress and people management. You’ll inspect both products and processes and need to implement quality control systems to make the process as smooth as possible.

A BA in quality management or engineering is the usual requirement. You will also need to acquire additional certification, again depending on the type of products you oversee.

The median salary for quality assurance managers in the US is $126,926.

4.   Purchasing Manager

If you would like another kind of organizational and management career in the consumer nondurables industry, you can also look into becoming a purchasing manager.

Your job will be to coordinate all the procurement strategies and tasks of your company. This involves:

  • negotiating contracts with suppliers
  • keeping an eye on inventory levels
  • working closely with the supply chain manager
  • figuring out how to reduce waste

You will need to know how to work with people and manage a team of employees, and you will also need to be great with numbers.

You will likely need a BA in business or management, and there may be some additional training required to learn the intricacies of the production process.

The median salary for a purchasing manager in the US is $128,032.

5.   Brand Manager

If you are interested in a non-production-related role in the consumer nondurables industry, you can look into becoming a brand manager.

You will be responsible for developing and implementing the marketing strategy for all the different products your company makes. You’ll need to:

  • do market research
  • analyze your target audience
  • create promotional materials
  • run a wide range of marketing campaigns, both online and offline

A BA in marketing will be a good place to start, but you can also get started in this career path if you have a degree in business.

The median salary for a purchasing manager in the US is $133,310.

6.   Sales Manager

If you are interested in a sales-oriented role, you can get a job as a sales manager in the consumer nondurables industry.

Your main task will be to increase the sales of your company’s products. This will involve:

  • creating and executing various sales strategies
  • developing and nurturing relationships with buyers
  • often, managing a sales team

You’ll need to know how to manage people, monitor the performance of sales campaigns, and, most importantly, how to sell.

A BA in business, marketing, or communications will be useful, or equivalent experience in a similar role.

The median salary for a sales manager in the US is $136,584.

7.   Pharmacy Technician

If you would like a much more hands-on career in consumer nondurables, you can get a job as a pharmacy technician.

This will involve:

  • preparing medications
  • fulfilling prescriptions
  • answering patient questions
  • maintaining the pharmacy’s inventory

You will need at least an associate degree from a college or university to get started, and there will certainly be additional training involved.

The median salary for a pharmacy technician in the US is $39,500.

8.   Food Scientist

Another hands-on job in the consumer nondurables industry is that of a food scientist.

Your job will involve preparing and storing edible products. You’ll need to understand how to:

  • ensure the production of a product is sustainable
  • streamline the manufacturing process
  • estimate your output

You’ll also be in charge of providing information for food labels and designing quality assurance policies.

You will likely need a BA in dietetics and nutrition or food science.

The median salary for a food scientist in the US is  $66,570.

Points to Consider Before Choosing a Career in Consumer Nondurables

Here is what you need to know about working in the consumer nondurables industry before you decide to pursue a career in it:

  • You may need a very specific degree or certification, which can require a lot of time to acquire.
  • You’ll need to stay up-to-date with laws and regulations, as well as the latest developments in your specific sector. This will require vigilance and continuous effort.
  • The work you do can be very challenging and time-constrained, so be prepared to work under stress and tight deadlines.
  • You may need to work in shifts, and there may also be long hours involved.

Advantages of Working in Consumer Nondurables

Now that you are aware of the potential challenges, here are the potential advantages of working in the consumer nondurables sector:

  • The industry tends to be highly stable and resilient to economic challenges.
  • A wide range of jobs and career paths are available, providing room for growth and improvement.
  • Many positions offer attractive salaries and benefits packages, especially in senior roles.
  • The skills you develop will be highly transferable, so you can easily move to another industry if you ever want to.

Frequently Asked Questions about Careers in Consumer Nondurables

How Do I Embark on a Career in Consumer Nondurables?

You will most likely need a specific bachelor’s degree and potentially certain certifications. Check the requirements for the role you are interested in to get started.

Are Consumer Nondurables Jobs Secure?

Jobs in the consumer nondurables industry tend to be highly secure. Even if the company you currently work in closes, you will be able to find a role in another company relatively easily.

Can I Work Remotely in a Consumer Nondurables Job?

While some roles in the consumer nondurables sector may offer remote career opportunities, you will most likely need to work on-site.

What Are the Biggest Companies in the Consumer Nondurables Industry?

Some of the biggest names in the consumer nondurables industry you’ve probably heard of are Unilever, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Kellogg, and Mars.

Wrapping Up

There are numerous jobs available in the consumer nondurables industry, in various roles and segments. While you may need a specific degree or qualification to get started, don’t be intimidated. You can choose from plenty of entry-level jobs that will provide on-the-job training and help you get your foot in the door.


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