Sectors set to thrive in 2021

We explore those industries where trainee jobs are being created this year.

There are a number of sectors that have remained more robust throughout the pandemic – and these are the sectors that are set to offer some of the best opportunities for trainees in 2021.

Sectors that were able to thrive during 2020 are likely to back that up by looking to hire a great number of trainees.

‘A number of our clients are citing challenges in hiring trainee and newly-qualified accountants at present, so it would be wise for employers to look at their internal training programmes and consider whether they can bring trainees into their organisations,’ says Lee Owen, director at Hays Accountancy & Finance.

‘Accountancy firms have typically done this for years, as well as many of the larger corporates – but SMEs and mid-tier firms are advised to follow suit.

‘Certain sectors have remained more robust throughout the pandemic (such as pharmaceuticals, IT, food and beverage and FMCG), so it is anticipated that these sectors will be more proactive in hiring trainees into their organisations over the first half of 2021.’


Many of the larger pharmaceutical companies offer graduate schemes in non-laboratory roles. Leading companies include AstraZeneca and GSK, which offer Future Leaders Programmes in finance and procurement.

As many pharmaceutical companies are global, once through the door you may have access to jobs all over the world.


FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) businesses that recruit large numbers of graduates are often responsible for household-name brands. They typically sell large quantities of relatively low-cost products that customers buy on a regular basis, such as cleaning products, toiletries, cosmetics and confectionery.

All consumer goods companies want to sharpen their competitive edge and ensure their future success by recruiting graduates with the right skills and attitudes.

Companies to keep an eye on in 2021 include Unilever, Mars, Danone and Procter & Gamble.

Food and beverage

The food and drink sector is one of the few sectors that suffered a limited impact as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies such as Yilli, Pepsi Cola and Danone have a wealth of opportunities for trainees.

Pepsi fared relatively well during 2020 and remains focused on streamlining its portfolio.

Yilli has overtaken Danone to become the most valuable dairy brand in the world, while Nestlé’s portfolio remains the most valuable food and drink portfolio, with a total brand value US$68.5bn.

The company has a raft of expansion projects on the horizon, including in Australia, the US and Switzerland.

IT and tech

Amazon, Oracle, Red Hat, Tanium and Twilio are among the many tech companies actively looking to hire trainee accountants. They are posting an estimated 50% more accounting and finance jobs on recruitment websites in the US, compared to 2019.