A Career in Warehouse Management
The handling, storage and onward movement of goods and materials around the country
(and even overseas) is a vast and complicated business. To ensure that, for
example, supermarket shelves are kept full and clothing stores receive their new
season’s fashion stocks, warehouses operate by storing all sorts of products and
then despatching them to where they are needed.
Most goods at some point need to be stored in a warehouse, so warehouses receive
goods, store them securely and despatch to customers when requested. Warehouses
store a variety of goods such as chemicals, electrical goods, textiles, foodstuffs,
building materials and furniture. To keep goods at optimum quality the warehouses
may need to be temperature-controlled or maintain certain light levels, or have special
security such as bonded warehouses that store imported goods that have yet to be
assessed for customs purposes.
Computer technology has changed the way that warehouses operate increasing their
flexibility and agility to respond to customer demands. All items entering a
warehouse will be recorded on the warehouse management systems and some warehouses are
so large that computer-controlled cranes and lift trucks are used to move between the
racks and automatically select the goods.
People management will be a key part of a warehouse manager’s day-to-day
activity, including drawing up shift rotas, and possibly recruiting and training
operative-level staff as well as taking responsibility for health and safety and
Working in warehouse management requires a wide range of skills:
- IT literacy – many
warehouses have sophisticated warehouse management systems
- Numeracy skills – for
- Planning and organisation
skills – for effective stock management
- Teamwork skills
- Leadership skills
- Flexibility – many
warehouses operate shift patterns so this may not be the right job for those seeking a
regular 9-5 working routine.
There is plenty of warehouse work at all levels, from jobs that require few or no
qualifications for entry positions through to formal graduate training schemes.
It is possible to enter the profession straight from school or college either via
direct entry to an employer or by taking up one of the apprenticeship opportunities
that exist in warehousing and related occupations, so it is worth visiting the
Apprenticeship websites to see what is available (there are separate sites for each of
the four nations):
Salary and career development
Salary levels will vary according to the job role. On qualification,
apprentices will earn around £13,500 depending on the occupational pathway
followed, and the salary for graduate schemes is in the range £18-25,000.
Salaries for non-graduate supervisory or junior managements roles can be from
£17,000 to £20,000 a year, while experienced warehouse managers can earn
between £22,000 and £35,000 and more senior managers attract salaries
£40,000 and more per year.
There is a wide range of roles from warehouse assistant through to lift truck
driving and customer care assistants with plenty of opportunity for progression. With
experience and qualifications employees can work their way up the ladder to supervisory
and managerial positions. There are plenty of examples of senior level staff
having worked their way up from warehouse operative roles but some of larger
organisations prefer to recruit candidates with degrees or Higher National Diplomas for
trainee management jobs due to the demanding natures of the work.
Membership of a relevant professional body will support people as they progress up
the career ladder and provide a variety of opportunities to network and to acquire
professional qualifications. There are specialist degrees at undergraduate and
post-graduate level, which provide the academic background to support and inform
Warehouse management roles exist across a range of employers:
- Supermarkets and
- Public sector
– such as NHS and armed forces
There is a number of professional bodies and trade associations relevant to the