The consumer industry has proven to be one of the most powerful drivers of youth employment in Spain. In fact, one out of every two jobs generated by retail and one in three created by major companies dedicated to manufacturing consumer products goes to young people under the age of 30. This is the conclusion of the Youth Employability & Consumer Industry Report prepared by AECOC, the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors.

The consumer product industry -understood as the production and distribution of food and beverages, drugstore and perfume industry, hardware and DIY, household appliances and consumer electronics, and hospitality, among others- contributes 20% of GDP to the Spanish economy, according to José María Bonmatí, secretary general of AECOC, “and is driving a stable and high-quality youth employment model in our country”.

According to Bonmatí, “few sectors can boast of having a stable workforce, a good mix of jobs for men and women, of encouraging intergenerational work and collaboration, or ensuring the professional development and training of their workers”. However, all that glitters is not gold, because the AECOC report, which involved 27 businesses, also indicates a trend towards the ageing of the workforce, particularly in the manufacturing business, where the average age is almost 40.

In addition, the report found that, in some cases, businesses find it particularly difficult to hire well-trained young people to do traditional retail jobs (pork butchers, general butchers, fishmongers, etc.) or to occupy new jobs that have resulted from the digital revolution, such as e-commerce, digital transformation, or process engineering.

4.5 million jobs

The consumer industry contributes 4.5 million jobs to the Spanish economy, making it a driving force for employment. The figures are such, that retail and hospitality alone account for almost two out of every three jobs in Spain. In addition, these are industries that are clearly growing, as can be seen by the fact that, throughout 2017, the highest rate of job creation in Spain was in tourism, engineering, information technologies, retail, and distribution and logistics.

AECOC has noted the importance of this sector as a gateway to the labour market for young people looking for their first job; a key aspect in a country that occupies the second place in youth unemployment rates in the European Union, right behind Greece.