what is a warehouse worker?

As a warehouse worker, or a warehouse operative, you work in a company warehouse. Your duties typically involve organising and preparing items, merchandise or company supplies for shipping. You also take delivery of incoming supplies or goods and arrange them in the storage facilities. The work can be physically demanding since you have to lift various items to and from delivery trucks. Organising the warehouse and logging entries to keep the company's inventory information up to date is also part of your duty.

As a warehouse worker, your day-to-day activities include receiving and processing company goods or materials. Depending on the need, this may include organising and retrieving stock, checking, packing and shipping orders or managing other employees.

Warehouse workers are essential in any industry dealing with shipping and receiving goods. Companies that ship clothing or construction equipment employ warehouse workers to manage inventory. You may also work in retail warehouses or manufacturing industries. Your job always involves assisting with shipping, receiving and handling heavy loads in all industries.

Would working as a warehouse worker suit your organisation skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a warehouse worker role.

warehouse worker jobs

average salary of a warehouse worker

According to National Careers, the average salary of an entry-level warehouse worker is £16,000 per year. Building your skills and experience level boosts your salary to £24,000 annually. Some employers pay hourly rates to shift workers, while others have weekly or monthly payment schedules.

The salaries vary based on knowledge, complexity and working environment. Common benefits in this line of work include health insurance, paid time off and pension benefits. You also receive overtime pay for working extra shifts.

factors that affect warehouse worker pay

Like with most industries, your experience impacts your salary potential. Warehouse workers with more years of experience get higher hourly pay. Your academic qualifications also increase your compensation package. For instance, a warehouse worker with additional certifications earns more than those without post-secondary qualifications. The industry sector you work in also determines your salary. If you work for pharmaceutical and chemical storage facilities, you will earn more than warehouse workers in the retail industry. The risk involved in handling hazardous substances and chemicals warrants better pay.


trade operatives
trade operatives

types of warehouse workers

Some types of warehouse workers include:

  • warehouse associate: a warehouse associate carries out all warehouse activities, from moving goods and tracking inventory to labelling items and preparing shipping invoices.
  • warehouse loader: as a warehouse loader, you pack goods in a warehouse into shipping containers and delivery trucks. You need to ensure the items are safe during transit by packing them in sturdy packaging materials. You also track the shipments from dispatch to delivery at the destination.
  • warehouse clerk: this is a warehouse worker who records orders and supervises processing to ensure customers receive their orders.
  • forklift operator: your job is to move inventory around the warehouse using a forklift. Sometimes, you also load and offload goods from containers or delivery trucks.


warehouse worker job description

If you prefer physical work to the confines of a desk job, you will find warehouse work both challenging and rewarding. The industry provides many opportunities for committed and self-motivated workers. You also always work with a diverse set of people who can stimulate you intellectually.


education and skills

Applying for a warehouse worker role requires entry-level qualifications. Typically, the job requires only GCSEs. However, some companies may require additional qualifications, including:

  • experience: the role you qualify for depends on the amount of experience. A year or two of relevant experience in a warehouse environment improves your competitiveness for an entry-level position.
  • training: you don't have to worry about post-secondary training since you will receive on-the-job training. Some companies provide regular training for career development.
  • certification: while this role usually doesn't require certifications, it is an excellent way to impress a potential employer. In most cases, these certifications help you advance into more senior roles. Some of the certifications you need include forklift, supply chain and professional certification for supply chain and warehouse.

skills and competencies

For warehouse work, you will need the skills outlined below to succeed:

  • interpersonal skills: people skills determine how well you will work alongside a team. In order to collaborate with your co-workers, you need good communication skills. Possessing active listening skills also helps you follow instructions to avoid any mistakes.
  • organisational skills: your organisational skills determine how well you use your time, strength and mental energy to accomplish the tasks at hand. It also refers to how organised you are with your physical space. Organisational skills determine how you leverage your space to make it ideal for productivity, letting you focus and not sacrifice the quality of your output.
  • technical skills: working in a warehouse requires maths and computer-centric skills. As a warehouse worker, you use basic maths to count inventory and track shipments. Computer skills are also useful when updating the log and inventory records. Proficiency in various programs, like Microsoft Excel or customer relationship management (CRM) systems, will also prove useful in this line of work.
  • time management: warehouses are fast-paced and operate on strict schedules as shipments proceed on a day-to-day basis. You should be able to keep up with the fast environment without lowering the quality of your work.
  • mechanical skills: basic mechanical skills in operating equipment and vehicles will prove useful when applying for a warehouse worker job. The skills are useful in equipment maintenance, reducing the need to arrange for repairs that can prove to be costly.



FAQs about working as a warehouse worker

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