Getting the goods from the manufacturer to the distributor to the customer is the job of the logistics industry, and warehouses are a key element in this chain. Warehouse operatives are employed to make sure the process runs smoothly.
Who can I work for?
Warehouses are operated by a variety of businesses, from global corporations to small independents. These facilities range from chilled storage units to huge complexes playing host to a variety of goods.
Where and when can I work?
Whilst most warehouse jobs are based indoors, some working time may be spent outside, so warehouse operatives should be prepared for changing weather conditions. Shift work is common and many warehouses operate 24 hours a day. It is common for shifts to be on rotation, but exact working hours and shift patterns vary widely depending on the employer.
What can I earn?
Most entry-level warehouse positions receive the national minimum wage, which is approximately £12,400 per annum, whilst those with experience or a more specialised role can expect their annual salary to increase to £14-£18k.
What are the benefits?
Often a warehouse operative works within a team, making it a lively and social environment. It is also a physical job suiting those not interested in sitting at a desk all day.
Are there chances of promotion?
Prospects for progression are good within larger companies. Jobs open to a competent warehouse operative might include warehouse team leader or warehouse manager roles.
What will I be responsible for?
A warehouse is often broken down into departments such as goods in, dispatch, storage and stock control. Depending on the size of the company, an operative might be dedicated to a certain task, or responsible for a variety of jobs, such as handling goods manually or using mechanical equipment, recording any damaged, missing or faulty goods, labelling goods, picking and packing goods and using computerised systems to record the movement of goods.
What qualifications do I need?
Qualifications are not usually required for the position of warehouse operative. However, an NVQ in warehousing and storage or a forklift driving licence improves the chances of employment in this industry.
Do I need any experience?
Most employers require no previous experience when recruiting a warehouse operative, as full training is usually provided on the job. Experience of manual handling or a background in logistics is likely to be advantageous.
What attributes are needed?
Working in a warehouse is a manual job so being able bodied and physically fit is essential. Remaining conscientious and reliable is important, as the organisation will have a daily schedule to keep to.