Have you ever wondered what a warehouse operative does? Perhaps you’ve looked at a warehouse job before and not applied because you weren’t sure if you have the right skills. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the warehouse operative job description. We’ll also guide you through what it takes to work in a warehouse environment.
The warehousing industry is huge. According to a statistics website, in the UK, over 215,000 people work in warehouses. Warehouses are essential to the smooth running of manufacturing, distribution and logistics companies. This is where products and equipment are stored until they’re ready for shipping or to be taken to a retailer.
Warehouse operatives keep a warehouse running smoothly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They undertake a variety of duties such as lifting products from shelves, taking deliveries, and using technology to count stock.
In this warehouse operative job description guide, we’ll discuss:
- What are the duties of a warehouse operative?
- What’s the average salary for a warehouse operative in the UK?
- What skills do you need to work in a warehouse?
- How to get a warehouse job.
What Are the Duties of a Warehouse Operative?
The duties of a warehouse operative cover a wide range of activities. Warehouse operatives are responsible for moving goods around a storage facility ready for delivery to a customer. They must be able to maintain an efficient workflow when working as an individual or as part of a team.
The duties of a warehouse operative can include picking, packing, and processing orders.
- Picking consists of selecting items from shelves.
- Packing involves putting finished goods into boxes for delivery. Packing may also include labelling and sealing packages.
- Processing orders involves preparing goods for shipment.
Warehouse operatives will organise the orders according to destination. They’ll then load the orders onto lorries or delivery vans.
Luke Williams, Industrial Recruitment Consultant at Proactive Personnel in Cannock says, “the duties of a warehouse operative include assisting with unloading vehicles. Warehouse operatives will also check in stock and sort items onto racks and shelves. Part of the duties of a warehouse operative is also to collect items from the warehouse and prepare orders for delivery. It’s important to stick to a specific schedule to ensure goods are delivered on time.”
A warehouse operative may also operate machineries like forklifts, scissor lifts, and pallet jacks. This will sometimes involve working at heights using ladders and mechanical lifts. Some warehouse operatives need an FLT license if using a forklift is necessary. Having an FLT license can mean you’re paid a higher wage than a warehouse operative without one.
What’s the Average Warehouse Operative Salary in the UK?
The average warehouse operative salary in the UK is around £10.50 per hour.
When you’ve gained more experience as a warehouse operative, a team leader or supervisor role may be an option. According to Reed, the average salary for a warehouse supervisor in the UK is around £28,058.
A warehouse manager is a senior role that can pay upward of £32,499 per year in the UK but can rise to around £39,999 according to Jobsite.
What Skills do I Need to Work in a Warehouse?
Most warehouse operative jobs don’t need any specific qualifications. But, to work as a warehouse operative, you’ll need a set of skills. For example, you must have good communication skills and be willing to work as part of a team.
Izabelle Wedley, Principle Industrial Consultant at Proactive Personnel in Wrexham says, “Teamwork is important when working as a warehouse operative. You can all work together and motivate each other to meet your targets.”
Having a flexible attitude towards work and hours is also essential to succeed in this role. Many warehouse vacancies need employees to work on a shift rotation. One week you may be asked to work on the morning shift and the next it’ll be a night shift.
Different shift times might not be suitable for some candidates, especially for those with childcare responsibilities. But, most companies will offer benefits such as higher pay for night shifts, or a shift allowance. A shift allowance is extra pay for working on rotating or unsociable shifts.
You’ll also need organisational skills to become a good warehouse operative. This is because you’ll play a significant part in helping the warehouse function run efficiently. Being organised will help you optimise storage space, which will help your colleagues find products more easily.
Warehouses use technology to help record products and barcodes before storage. These systems are usually accessed via a smartphone or tablet, so basic computer knowledge is beneficial.
“You’ll need to be physically fit [for most warehouse jobs] as these roles usually involve heavy lifting and a lot of walking on a daily basis.”Izabelle Wedley, Principal Industrial Consultant, Proactive Personnel.
Other helpful warehouse operative skills include problem-solving, attention to detail and time management. With the targets and KPIs you’ll need to meet, these skills will help you be more productive. Attention to detail is important to make sure the correct goods go to the correct place. And, time management skills will help you meet your targets.
How to Get a Warehouse Job
Warehouse jobs can be quite easy to get, especially at entry level.
- They often don’t need candidates to have any specialised knowledge.
- They often don’t need candidates to have advanced education.
- There is plenty of need for good warehouse operatives.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, available warehouse jobs have skyrocketed. Consumers are doing more online shopping than ever before. This means more and more companies need warehouse operatives to find goods and prepare them for shipping.
It can be quite easy to get your foot in the door if you’re looking for a warehouse job. You only have to search a jobs board such as Indeed or TotalJobs and you’ll be met with hundreds of vacancies in your area.
Or, for a quicker and more direct route, you can register with a recruitment agency like Proactive Personnel.
As soon as you have some experience working as a warehouse operative, you’ll have the option to progress your career. The next step is to reach the position of warehouse supervisor and then warehouse manager.
A warehouse operative is a crucial role to keep a warehouse running all year round. Without warehouse operatives, consumers would struggle to shop online. There would be no such thing as next-day delivery, and shop shelves would be empty.
Although these roles usually don’t need any specific qualifications or skills, it’s an important job. As long as you’re physically fit, able to work different shift patterns, and have a can-do attitude, you already have what it takes to become a warehouse operative.
Now that you know a little more about the warehouse operative job description, visit the Proactive Personnel jobs board. Here you can view the latest warehouse operative jobs in your area. And if you still aren’t sure if a warehouse operative role is for you, read our quick guide to working in the warehouse & logistics sector for more insight into the industry.