Alternative Careers: Series II –Fragrance Industry

The global economy is traveling through a transition phase. A transition wherein business models are evolving into creating newer ecosystems which never existed in the past. We are at the cusp of witnessing some of the most intriguing business models which are likely to dominate the near future. Under such a scenario, it is imperative for parents and students to evolve their thoughts to newer opportunities. A lateral thinking in this direction will help the new generation professionals to adopt new careers which never existed in the past.

This article attempts to bring to the forefront five such lucrative segments which can be explored by new age professionals and perhaps can be a career defining moment for them. Each of these segmented industries has a wider platform for impactful advancements and is still in their growing stages. Information about each of these developing sectors will be broken down into different series for your better understanding. The below information is a peek into one of the new age opportunities that can be adopted as a career.

Fragrance Industry

Trends indicate that the world fragrance market demands including essential oils, natural extracts and aroma chemicals will rise by 4.4% a year to reach $26.5 billion in 2016. The increasing consumer interest in natural products will drive value demand forward, as natural fragrance ingredients tend to be more expensive. Rise in personal consumption expenditures in emerging economies will stimulate use of Home & Personal Care products contributing to industrial growth. Hence, FMCG recruitment agencies are one of the most aggressive headhunters in the market who are always on the lookout for professionals with a creative outlook and positive attitude.

History of Fragrances

Aromatic brews flaunting qualities like power, mystery, sport, sensuality, passion, practicality, etc. have always beckoned and bewitched humans, down the ages. Prayer or penance, to cure or to conquer, fragrances were intertwined with the lives of the ancients, which is not much different than our uses today. Perfumes and scented oils have been used since the beginning of human history and its use has been recorded as far back as the ancient Egyptians and ancient China but was further developed and refined by the Romans and the Persians.

Some scents were retrieved by extracting the gum and sap from trees, as in the case of Myrrh, or from the steeping of petals or leaves from the Rose plant or any other aromatic plant. Trade routes were based on the trade of scents, in the form of spices, essential oils, and rare plants from which perfume could be made. It wasn't until the 19th century that the perfume industry as it is known today became apparent. Advances in chemistry at this point in time allowed for larger distribution and larger amounts to be made. Prior to this, perfumes were made in small personal batches at home and there were only a few popular flavors like musk, rose, etc, but now the fragrance business is moving from the 'one flavor fits all' mode to customized fragrances and this allows fragrance manufacturers to attract a wider audience. Today, France is the centre of the European perfume design and trade.

Definition of Fragrances

The word fragrance originated from the Latin word fragrantia or fragrare that literally translates to ‘smell sweet’ and which was then adapted by the French in the mid 17th century.

Fragrances are, by definition, chemical organic compounds that are released into the air through vaporization which is why humans can smell them. They are used to scent the air and ourselves but can also pose health risks and decrease the indoor air quality. The increases in adverse effects are caused by a lax industry standard on the testing and research of the materials used in fragrances.

Market Segmentation of Fragrance Industry

Fragrances are available in a range of product categories like personal care, fabric care and household care.

Wash Products


Hand Washes Shower Gels


Bars Powders Liquid

Paste, other fabric care products like Fresheners, Softeners, etc.

Body Care Creams Lotions


Corrective products Talc's

Fine Fragrances and Alcoholics

Hair Care

Household Cleaners








Hair Oil




Multi-purpose & Toilet cleaners


Air Care

Hair Care

Household Cleaners

Air fresheners







Hair Oil



Multi-purpose & Toilet cleaners


There is better consolidation in the fragrance market, with larger players like Unilever, Godrej, Dabur, Wipro, Henkel, ITC, etc., generating most of the sales.

The Indian fragrance market is valued at Rs 3 billion, comprising of alcoholic and attar perfumes with a 50% market share each. In alcoholic perfumes, one-third is represented by unorganized market while the rest is mainly imported. India offers a great advantage for foreign chemical companies, who are distributors and end users of aromatic chemicals for Flavors and Fragrance chemicals, to reduce their procurement cost of raw materials.

Career Prospects

One of the Top rated executive search firms had stated that, If you have a keen sense of smell and like being in the company of fragrances or if you are fascinated by scent, to become a Perfumer or Fragrance Chemist could be the right career choice for you. This is not an easy field to get into. Career as a Perfumer or Fragrance chemist is one of the most challenging professions in the fragrances industry. There are only a thousand or so Perfumers in the country, so there is a good chance for a lucrative career. The job roles performed in this industry are quite similar to the ones in the flavor industry as well. Key roles and duties are very much the same in flavor and fragrances industry. The list is given below:

Junior Level

Mid Level

Senior Level

Fragrance Evaluators

Account Manager

Creative Center Director

Trainee Perfumer

Consumer Insights Manager

Regional Director

Fragrance Chemist

Key Account Manager Distribution

Creative Fragrance Director

R & D Chemist

Application Manager

Senior Account Manager


Regulatory Head

Senior Marketing Manager

Operations Manager

Senior Perfumer

Most perfumers are employed by major fragrance producers or perfume houses, with a small number working exclusively for small independent perfume manufacturers who make customized perfumes. Today, a larger number work for other industries such as food and beverages industry that require regular testing of product smells and odors. In India, perfumery industry is in its blooming stage. Perfumers can also find opportunities in tea, wine industry as well as in the field of Aroma Therapy.

As per details shared by few recruitment firms in Mumbai, a beginner in this field or in application department can expect a pay scale ranging from Rs. 20,000 - 25,000. The candidate with a perfumery degree from an established school can earn around Rs. 35,000 in the initial stage itself. A perfumer in the creative department, after several years of experience, earns around 18,00,000 - 20,00,000 P.A.

Future Trends

India is expanding capacities for production of aromatic chemicals due to the growing demand of such chemicals within the Indian market. The Indian fragrance market is approximately around 225 million USD growing at the rate of 10% since past 5 years. Consumer’s fascination of fragrances has only increased with time as the manufacture of fragranced personal care, laundry care and household care products is ever growing. In addition, fragrances are present in a number of other commercial products such as tissues, candles, baby diapers, etc. Fragrances have also made their way into scented stationeries, and trash bags that now come in fragranced versions. Nowadays marketers sell products with fragrances as their main selling point with entire advertising campaigns centering on the fragrance odor of a product. The consumers tend to go towards more powerful and long lasting fragrances.

The best placement agencies in Mumbai claim that, the Indian Flavor and Fragrance Industry have made the changes to remain in the forefront as a major force at the global level and now enjoy a major share of the world markets today.


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