Warehouse distribution workers receive and store products and merchandise for a company. They work in a variety of industries, including retail, postal, automotive and food. Warehouse workers are largely responsible for receiving and storing merchandise, unloading off the back of trucks and delivery vans. Others prepare and load merchandise for shipping.
Warehouse distribution workers spend a lot of time on their feet or operating machinery used to ship and receive packages. Sometimes the machinery can be heavy. They also are often responsible for the upkeep of the warehouse, as well as making sure items that are delivered and sent out are in good condition. Warehouse distribution workers occasionally have to sign and file away invoices, as well as track orders and their expected due dates.
Warehouse distribution workers must possess the strength and endurance needed to lift materials. They should be able to follow the instructions of a supervisor, working well alone or as a member of a team. That entails strong communications skills, a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. Warehouse distribution workers should also know how to operate the equipment needed to move merchandise, such as forklifts or conveyor belts.
Most warehouse distribution workers are only required to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. That’s because the position is typically considered entry level, allowing workers the opportunity to learn on the job with limited training. Some warehouse distribution workers receive certificates in logistics-related areas for the purpose of advancement. Often as important as a formal education is a proven ability to perform manual labor.
Almost all industries need employers who can help distribute merchandise, which is why opportunities for warehouse workers are likely to remain abundant for years to come. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of packers and packagers will increase by more than 13 percent through 2018, while those for warehouse laborers and material movers will increase by more than 3 percent during the same decade.
Non-supervisory warehouse distribution workers can make a decent wage, depending on their experience, industry and overall responsibilities. According to PayScale.com, warehouse workers made anywhere from more than $22,000 to more than $34,000 per year in May 2010. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that warehouse workers earned a median hourly wage of anywhere from $9.16 to $10.89 per hour in May 2008.