Warehouse work is one of the most in-demand occupations and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. It pays well, especially for entry-level and unskilled workers, and opportunities are plentiful. Yet, some people are reluctant to enter the warehousing field, perhaps because of misconceptions about working conditions and other concerns.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of publicity about bad conditions in warehouses. According to the news reports, warehouses could not accommodate proper social distancing or keep surfaces germ-free, which led to the virus spreading unchecked through some facilities. Although many of these news reports were overblown, the pandemic certainly pointed out many other crucial vulnerabilities in standard warehousing and supply chain operations and identified areas of concern.
The industry has responded and improved many aspects of a warehouse worker’s experience. If you are looking for a career with low barriers to entry, a living wage, an opportunity to develop marketable skills, and the possibility of career advancement, warehouse work might be right for you.
When the pandemic hit and e-commerce exploded, warehouses were unprepared. Selecting, packing, and shipping merchandise directly to consumers is far more labor-intensive than shipping pallets of goods to retailers. But with many brick-and-mortar stores closing their doors indefinitely, warehouses had to ask a lot of their workers to meet the new consumer demand.
Most warehouses learned valuable lessons from this experience. Many facilities increased their investment in automating repetitive or physically demanding tasks that lead to worker fatigue and injury. Warehouse employers began cross-training more of their workers to do multiple jobs, giving them valuable training and experience while protecting the facility in case of a future staffing crisis.
Warehouse owners and managers are doing more to ensure employees feel safe at work. For example, many have chosen to have their facilities rearranged to allow for more physical distancing and improve ventilation and sanitation practices. Warehouses recognize that few employees are willing to trade their health for their wages and are responding by making their facilities safer and more pleasant places to work.
Another area of substantial improvement from a worker’s standpoint is the money they can make in warehouses. Apart from the signing bonuses and other incentives many companies are offering, starting wages for unskilled warehouse workers could reach $18.00 per hour.
As workers gain experience and develop specific skills, wages might reach as high as $30.00 an hour. Because many warehousing jobs offer frequent opportunities for overtime, working in a warehouse could provide a decent living, especially for people who lack a college degree.
Consumers have become accustomed to online shopping, and they are unlikely to return to buying in stores the way they did before the pandemic. Demand for warehouse labor is likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.
Although warehouse work offers abundant entry-level positions, these are not dead-end jobs. Ample opportunities exist for people looking to develop marketable and transferable skills operating the sophisticated technology that is becoming more and more necessary for managing warehouse operations.
One way warehouses are addressing the staffing gap is through the use of flex-work or gig labor. HapiGig enables experienced warehouse workers to sign up for as many temporary assignments as they want, for as long as they want. Gig work can be a source of extra income, and it can expose the worker to other warehouses, thereby enhancing their skills and expanding their networks within the industry.
HapiGig is a web-based platform that connects experienced and vetted warehouse gig workers to facilities that need extra help on a temporary basis. Consider applying to become a HapiWorker today.