What Does a Warehouse Associate Do
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
On the Move in the Warehouse
Warehouse associates are the backbone of our product supply chain, ensuring that goods from a wide range of industries make their way to their final destinations. Positions in this field include everything from equipment operators to computer specialists, manual laborers and inventory clerks. The job often requires physical labor, attention to detail and strong organizational skills. While the position can be physically demanding, it can also provide a degree of flexibility, which can be attractive for working mothers. Warehouse positions often span the range of numerous shifts, providing more options for juggling work hours with co-parenting and childcare.
Warehouse associates are generally responsible for accepting delivery of goods, tracking inventory and storing materials in appropriate areas. Duties can involve unloading boxes or other products, transporting them via forklift or handcart to appropriate areas of the warehouse, and filling out paperwork to indicate receipt of goods. The opposite directive is also true when a warehouse serves as a holding or transportation facility in which goods are picked up by carriers for delivery elsewhere. In this instance, warehouse associates are responsible for locating goods, loading trucks, and generating computerized reports indicating the time, date, location and cost of transferred goods. Warehouse associates’ other responsibilities can include:
- Creating tracking reports
- Creating invoices
- Filling orders
- Handling customer questions and complaints
- Ensuring safety of warehouse workers
- Conducting training on warehouse safety issues
- Meeting regulatory compliance requirements
Higher education is unnecessary for most warehouse associate jobs, though a GED or high school diploma is often encouraged. Vocational training can be an asset, as can business management classes. Specialized training or licensing may be required for equipment operations. As in many industries, a college degree in a related field can increase earning potential, as well as allow for faster escalation into supervisory or management roles.
About the Industry
Companies that deal with manufacturing, shipping, transportation and storage all utilize warehouse facilities, either rented or on-site. These can include furniture companies, packing and shipping corporations, equipment and automotive manufacturing plants, electronics companies, and grocery and retail facilities. While many of the functions are similar from one warehouse to another, the physical demands required for the various positions vary based on the industry served. Work environments also vary as well; for example, food warehousing is likely a refrigerated environment in which you’ll be dealing with colder temperatures; whereas, a manufacturing plant that requires significant ventilation may have temperatures that vary with local weather conditions.
Years of Experience
- 0–5 years: $20,470–$37,112
- 5–10 years: $21,298–$41,314
- 10–20 years: $22,668–$43,647
- Over 20 years: $23,033–$46,224
Job Growth Trend
It is anticipated that warehouse associate jobs will grow on demand at an average pace over the next decade at about 7 percent. Jobs may become more computerized overtime in inventory and tracking areas, which could make advanced knowledge an asset.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.