what is a warehouse operative?

As a warehouse operative, your primary role is to perform warehousing duties like handling raw materials for a manufacturing or production company. After production, you ensure proper storage of finished products to maintain their freshness and quality. Warehouse operatives are also in charge of distribution in warehouses or storage facilities. In distribution, you pack the ordered items and prepare them for dispatch. You also process shipments by sorting, loading or unloading inbound or outbound items from the warehouse.

When items arrive at the warehouse, you should confirm if they match the accompanying shipping documents and the items are the exact quantities in the invoices. Apart from the manual tasks, a warehouse operative also prepares and verifies the shipping documents. This ensures the goods are taken care of in transit and arrive at their destination in the highest quality.

what does a warehouse operative do?

As a warehouse operative, you primarily work in the logistics sector of large wholesale and retail companies. Any company with a large distribution centre or a storage facility to keep their goods before sending them to physical shops requires warehouse operatives. You can also be in charge of transportation, including driving large trucks from one warehouse to another.

Would working as a warehouse operative suit your interest in doing hands-on work? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a warehouse operative role.

warehouse operative jobs

average salary of a warehouse operative

According to National Careers, an entry-level warehouse operative earns an average salary of £16,000 per year. As you improve your experience and gain more skills, your compensation package increases to £24,000 annually. Some companies pay hourly or weekly wages, especially in shift schedules. Warehouse operatives also enjoy overtime pay and other benefits from the employer. For instance, permanent workers benefit from contributing to a pension fund and medical allowances. End year bonuses are also common.

what are the factors that influence warehouse operative salary?

Your salary as a warehouse operative hugely depends on the industry. For instance, when you work in retail companies, your compensation package differs from those working in manufacturing and logistics. The workload varies, and the material handling procedures require specialised skills. Hence, the wages reflect the complexity and scope of your duties. The work hours also influence the salary; shift-based workers in night shifts may earn more since they work unsociable hours. Large multinational companies with massive warehouses tend to pay more than small businesses with medium-sized warehouses. The location also determines the salary due to the demand for the role. For instance, if you work in London, your pay is higher due to the high cost of living and increased demand for the role as a warehouse workers.


trade operatives
trade operatives

types of warehouse operatives

Types of warehouse operatives depend on the roles they undertake in the warehouse. Some include:

• receiver: as a receiver, you are a warehouse worker in charge of receiving inbound shipments. That means your job is to record new raw materials or goods arriving at the warehouse. You also confirm if the finished goods are received in good condition and check the packing list to ensure the quantities match the invoice.

forklift operator: your job is to move heavy goods around the warehouse using specialised equipment. Aside from moving incoming shipments to the ideal storage space, you remove outgoing items and load them on the docks or the trucks.



working as a warehouse operative

Working as a warehouse operative gives you numerous prospects. Some of the duties, responsibilities and work schedules to expect are explained below.


education and skills

Becoming a warehouse operative doesn't require formal training, but you need experience handling goods. Some of the ways of joining the profession include:

  • apprenticeship: you can become a warehouse operative through an apprenticeship and complete your coursework while you work. The supply chain warehouse operative intermediate apprenticeship requires some GCSEs with maths and English. On-the-job training helps you acquire the relevant skills for the job.
  • work experience: it is possible to start your career as a warehouse operative temporary or seasonal worker. You won't need formal educational qualifications, but some employers require GCSE qualifications and basic IT skills to manage warehouse management software.

skills and competencies

For job success, you need to develop the following skills:

  • organisational skills: as a warehouse operative, you need to be organised for the warehouse functions to run efficiently. With organisational skills, you can optimise the space available and catalogue products in the storage unit to make it easy for other workers to find them. You will also manage hectic schedules by strategically organising the loading and offloading areas.
  • it skills: a warehouse operative should have basic computer skills to manage large warehouses that use warehouse management systems. IT skills help you record the correct product information and barcode them correctly before storage. Using Radio Frequency Identification readers also requires basic computer skills.
  • dexterity: you need strong hand-eye coordination as a warehouse operative. Dexterity helps you minimise errors and increase the overall productivity when reading packaging orders and labelling boxes or counting items manually.
  • problem-solving skills: working in a warehouse environment is challenging, and you may encounter equipment malfunction. With problem-solving skills, you can handle issues and ensure the warehouse runs without glitches.

Please use these images in the context of inclusion projects
Please use these images in the context of inclusion projects


FAQs about working as a warehouse operative

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