There wouldn't be full shelves in many grocery and department stores without night stockers. They work late shifts when few or no customers are around, which gives them more flexibility in transporting carts full of boxes to aisles and endcap units. If you are detail oriented and can handle monotonous work, you might enjoy working as a night stocker.
Night stockers are responsible for fully stocking stores during non-peak hours -- after trucks deliver goods and when most shoppers are gone. In this job, you count the number of brands, sizes, styles or flavors you need, and then retrieve those items from the stockroom. Most boxes have identification numbers which help you locate them in the stockroom. You must keep track of items removed from the stockroom and those you place on shelves and displays. This may be done by recording the items you stock on an inventory reporting form, or using a hand-held scanner to register the movement of goods from stockroom to shelves. You also report all damaged merchandise to store management. If you are highly experienced, you might train other night stockers on stocking procedures.
Most night stockers work in grocery, department and other stores that remain open during late hours, or all night. The work is highly physical, as you load boxes on carts and transport them to the selling floor. You are also prone to cuts and lacerations, as you use box cutters to open boxes. And since you must climb ladders to retrieve some merchandise, you could fall if you're not careful. Muscle strains can also occur in this job, which is why many night stockers wear lifting belts.
Education and Training
Most night stockers have high school diplomas or GEDs. Math skills are essential for counting the number of items you need on shelves or displays. Training for these clerks usually takes place on the job and lasts less than a month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of your time will be spent learning procedures and polices and locating backroom products under the direction of an experienced night stocker.
Salary and Job Outlook
Material recording clerks, including night stockers, earned average annual salaries of $24,250 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. If you are among the top 10 percent of earners, you would make more than $36,440 per year as a night stocker. Jobs for all stock clerks, including night stockers, are expected to increase 1 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is significantly slower than the national average of 14 percent for all occupations.
2016 Salary Information for Material Recording Clerks
Material recording clerks earned a median annual salary of $28,010 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, material recording clerks earned a 25th percentile salary of $23,000, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $35,800, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,095,300 people were employed in the U.S. as material recording clerks.