Warehouse employment up 90%

JD.com warehouse
Warehouse employment is up 90% since 2010 thanks to e-commerce.

The growth in e-commerce has also meant an increase in warehousing jobs. Warehouse employment has risen 90% since 2000, compared with a 12% increase in average employment during the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

U.S. workers are aware of the growth and looking to get into the game. In fact, the number of people seeking warehouse positions has grown 8% in the past two years. The demographic most interested in these jobs are Gen Xers, while millennials show the least interest. 

Looking at data collected from job website Indeed in the summer of 2017 versus the summer of 2016, there was 158% increase in the search term "full time warehouse" and 123% growth in "Amazon warehouse." Other popular search terms included material handler, fulfillment associate, warehouse part time and package handler. 

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Who is looking for these jobs? Millennials are 15% less likely than Generation X and 8% less than Baby Boomers to who interest in warehouse jobs. 

However, even as brick-and-mortar employment changes, it seems retail employees are not the ones looking for warehouse jobs. They are searching most for jobs as customer service representatives, store clerks, receptionists and cashiers. Those jobs are largely compatible with skills those in the physical store space already have. For example, a customer service representative from a retail job could fill the same role at an insurance company. 

And the skill sets tend to be different, according to Andrew Flowers, an economist with Indeed. Retail workers have relatively more experience in customer service, sales and merchandising, while warehousing workers are relatively more experienced in moving objects, operating machinery and written communication. But retail workers may want to take a second look, as warehousing jobs have an average hourly salary that is about 50% higher than retail jobs. With that said, warehousing jobs more often require a college degree (although by no means do all of them).

So what does a growth in warehouse employment mean for the rest of U.S. workers?

"It’s hard to predict how the U.S. workforce will change, but let’s think about two changes: workers’ skills and the geography of jobs," Flowers told FierceRetail. "On skills, as warehousing grows, the skills used in that type of work will be demanded more—skills in logistics, operating machinery, moving packages, written communication and so on. Warehousing jobs are not just manual labor, but it is common. On geography, forthcoming Indeed research shows that warehousing jobs are growing slowest in rural areas and fastest in low-density suburbs. So workers might relocate as warehousing grows."

Moving forward, as e-commerce continues to grow, so will warehousing career opportunities. Flowers notes that this could be just the beginning of a shift. 

"Retail job growth has been slowing for some time, but it didn’t start to decline until this year. If retail jobs really do fall off, this phenomenon might have a ways to play out," he said.