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Retail Warehouse Employment Continues to Grow

Posted On11/04/2019

ContributorSheri Pepper

By Rebecca Ferlotti

While growth in many industries has stalled at around 12% since 2000, the retail warehouse sector has expanded by 90% over the same time period. For warehouse employees, this expansion translates into advancement opportunities and the potential for improved job security.

A New Breed of Positions

In the past, warehouse positions focused primarily on manual labor. However, with new technology and advancements in distribution and logistics, warehouse roles have evolved to accommodate the expanding marketplace and require team members to have additional or new skills.

For example, warehouse employees now often operate machinery or tap into other skills they have developed over time. In fact, working in a modern warehouse environment has the potential to improve an individual’s soft skills, which ultimately can help them advance by improving their adaptability, time management, attention to detail, communication, and independence.

Management, senior level, and C-suite candidates can also find ample opportunity in this growing business sector.

Not Enough Candidates

Another plus is the simple fact that retail warehouses are searching for qualified and trainable candidates. In today’s tight labor market, employers in the warehouse and distribution/logistics fields find they have more available jobs than applicants. These employers are therefore creating innovative hiring campaigns to build their teams.

Generation Xers are more likely to seek out warehouse jobs than Millennials, and warehouse careers may be a viable option for Generation Y job seekers.

Benefits of the Boom

Warehouse wages are increasing. For example, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is higher than many other sectors’ minimum wage rates. Because there is no slowdown of consumers purchasing from both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses that also have internet sales, online retailers need massive warehouses for stocking products and processing orders.

There is no shortage of jobs in the field, and employers often prefer to promote from within, just like other industries. Being given a chance to climb the ladder is non-negotiable for many people seeking warehouse roles, and employers understand they need to meet that demand by providing training and advancement opportunities. Because of the distribution center job surge, there has also been a positive change in the transportation and logistics field with over 23,000 new jobs created in 2018.

A majority (60%) of warehouse employees enjoy their jobs and say they find their work to be rewarding. This compares to just 24% who prefer to work in a retail storefront instead of a warehouse.

Four advantages to warehouse employment:

  1. Many warehouse positions offer full benefits packages.
  2. Being hired for a full-time warehouse position means having consistent work, which translates into having a consistent paycheck.
  3. By working in a warehouse environment, employees gain or can improve upon transferable skills.
  4. Warehouse employment is growing, offers advancement opportunities, and is a source of all levels of positions in both large and smaller organizations.

Four tips for warehouse employees:

  1. Make sure you have necessary certifications (such as a CNC operator certification).
  2. Wear comfortable shoes with a steel toe to protect your feet. Since you will be walking around the warehouse, consider getting shoe inserts to alleviate foot pain.
  3. Take quick stretch breaks every so often to decrease the risk of injury on the job. Remind yourself to drink water during those quick breaks.
  4. Check to make sure you have all your safety gear before entering the warehouse each day (ear plugs, goggles, gloves, etc).

Warehouse services are forecast to grow at a 6% compound annual growth rate through 2022. High demand for warehouse workers is prompting employers to rethink their practices and adapt to the changing job marketplace, which could mean higher wages and better working conditions. The industry shift could have a significant impact on the desirability of these positions for many years to come.

If you need help finding a warehouse position, Nelson recruiters will work with you to determine your career path.