Warehouse workers go by a lot of names: "warehouse laborers," "general laborers," “pickers/packers,” “package handlers” and more. But despite the multiple labels, one fact essentially characterizes the role of warehouse workers’ jobs across the board: These pros are the absolute lifeblood of fast-paced industrial worksites. After all, they're the ones who take charge of many mission-critical day-to-day tasks.

From a high-level, the key responsibilities of warehouse workers include:

  • monitoring and maintaining inventory
  • ensuring high-quality, timely service
  • maintaining a clean and safe work environment
  • complying with standard operating procedures (SOPs), relevant work processes and more

On a more granular level, the daily duties assigned to warehouse workers typically include:

  • moving and sorting goods and materials
  • lending a hand to complete shipments, process and load orders
  • preparing and processing orders
  • materials pulling, picking and packing
  • packing boxes
  • reading orders and placing them in appropriate delivery areas in advance of shipments
  • carrying out preventive maintenance activities as prescribed

how do you become a warehouse worker?

For those interested in becoming a warehouse worker, the good news is that there are relatively few barriers to entry. In fact, these roles are often entry-level positions with little previous experience required. If you're new to the manufacturing and industrial space, warehouse work could be a great way to break in. And as an added bonus, some amount of paid, on-the-job training is something you can expect to receive from many employers. Not too shabby, all in all.

Looking to find the right opportunity? Job-search tips for savvy would-be warehouse workers include:

  • browsing job boards
  • signing up with a staffing firm that can proactively identify relevant positions based on your interests and experience — and then email them directly to your inbox when they become available

what are the key skills of a warehouse worker?

Success as a warehouse worker depends on having a diverse set of skills. Sometimes, for example, you'll need to efficiently carry out tasks on your own, often with minimal supervision; at others, delivering on operational goals will entail much more of a collaborative effort. Either way, the sheer variation of day-to-day work should help keep you engaged. Of course, it also means you should carefully read all of the job description before you apply — because it's the only way to know whether or not you're qualified or a good fit for the role.

Generally speaking, at any rate, the following skills are all highly prized by employers when considering a new warehouse hire:

  • teamwork
  • communication
  • attention to detail
  • ability to follow written and verbal instruction
  • self-motivated
  • safety mindset
  • quality-oriented
  • time management

how much does a warehouse worker make?

Typically working in eight-hour shifts, warehouse workers earn anywhere from $14.80 to $19.90 per hour, based on the latest data, with a national average of $17.83 per hour. But keep in mind that warehouse workers can have widely varying day-to-day responsibilities from one worksite to the next, so it's tough to put an exact figure on what you should expect to earn with your first paycheck. Browsing job boards and comparing pay levels for different warehouse worker roles is always a good first step to gain insights.

Alternately, you can also head on over to our free salary comparison tool, which will help you uncover at-a-glance data about pay rates across roles and markets. It's always up to date with the latest figures — so you can rest assured that you'll always have access to the most timely and accurate information, to boot.

key takeaways

We've covered the ins and outs of daily work for your average warehouse worker. So, at this point, you should have a pretty clear idea of what to expect in the role, as well as next steps to pursue if you're looking to get started.

To recap, we've covered:

  • what warehouse workers do
  • training, experience and core requirements
  • essential skills
  • pay rates
  • and more

Got it? Good! Now, it's time to take the next step: Search for warehouse worker jobs. Plus, if you're up for a career change — and a pay-rate upgrade — check out these in-depth breakdowns of highly in-demand jobs in the manufacturing and logistics space. There, you'll find actionable guidance on exactly what steps you need to take to make the move today.