8 Common warehouse roles & their responsibilities

The rise of online shopping and home delivery services have led to huge growth in the distribution and fulfillment industry. As a result, warehouse workers are in high demand all around the country, and pay is on the rise. So if you're looking for a good-paying, stable job with room for growth, warehouse work may be right up your alley. But which position is right for you? Check out some of the most common warehouse roles and responsibilities below.

Who makes a good warehouse worker?

Warehouses are fast-paced environments where workers must cooperate to safely and quickly complete tasks, so you have to be a good team player. You will also need to pay close attention and work hard to keep things moving along smoothly.

For most warehouse jobs, the only educational requirements are a high school diploma or GED. Some (but not all) warehouse jobs may require you to lift a certain amount, such as 50 pounds. Other positions might require the use of equipment or machinery. But no matter the job title, each team member plays an important role in warehouse productivity and safety.

RELATED: 4 Keys to success on your first day at a warehouse job

Warehouse roles & responsibilities

1. Warehouse Associate

Warehouse associates do many different tasks within a warehouse, depending on what is needed most. This might include picking up and moving goods, keeping track of inventory, scanning and labelling items, filling out invoices, and more. You might think of warehouse associates as the backbone of the warehouse, always keeping things going.

Skills required: Physical fitness, organizational skills, time management, communication skills

Tip: Warehouse associate shifts on Instawork pay above average, and with shifts around 8-10 hours long, that extra pay adds up! Plus, you can book as many or as few shifts as you like based on your schedule.

2. Warehouse Loader

A warehouse loader’s main task is to pack items into shipping containers, trailers, or vehicles so they can be safely transported. Understanding safety protocols is very important for this job, as is strength, speed, and accuracy. Loaders may also need to use record-keeping software or forms to track shipments as they leave the warehouse. 

Skills required: Physical fitness, organizational skills, computer skills, safety-first mindset

3. Warehouse Clerk

Warehouse clerks communicate with customers and staff to make sure that orders are properly recorded and processed. In some warehouses, clerks may also be responsible for physically preparing, packing, and shipping items to customers.

Skills required: Physical fitness, communication skills, customer service, computer skills, attention to detail

4. General Laborer

Although many warehouse roles and responsibilities are specific, there are opportunities for general laborers as well. This type of position is ideal for someone who has a varied skill set or a lot of experience in a warehouse setting. It's also a good role for someone who prefers a flexible position that changes often.

Skills required: Flexibility, attention to detail, organizational skills, communication, physical fitness

Tip: General labor shifts on Instawork pay above average, and with shifts around 8-10 hours long, that extra pay adds up! Plus, you can book as many or as few shifts as you like based on your schedule.

5. Shipping & Receiving Associate

Warehouse shipping & receiving associates are tasked with making sure that items are received, processed, and shipped accurately. The job might include data collection, documenting shipments, working with vendors, and tracking orders while working closely with the warehouse clerk. Shipping and receiving associates may also pick, pack, and ship orders to customers.

Skills required: Physical fitness, data entry, record keeping and tracking, customer service, teamwork

6. Warehouse Material Handler

Warehouse material handlers redistribute, move, and retrieve goods within the warehouse. They are responsible for retrieving and shipping inventory as well as restocking inventory as it arrives at the warehouse. The work may be physical in some warehouse facilities at times, but most material handlers use manual and electrical loading equipment.

Skills required: Ability to follow instructions, attention to detail, equipment operation, teamwork, physical fitness

7. Forklift Driver

Some warehouse roles and responsibilities require more specialized knowledge, like forklift driving. The main job of a forklift driver is to move inventory and goods around the facility. They have to be able to safely operate the machine, and pick up/unload cargo so that it can be stored or retrieved in the warehouse. At times, forklift drivers may also have to operate the machine on a loading dock to load and unload trucks.

Skills required: Forklift training and license, attention to detail, safety-first mindset, organizational skills, communication skills

Tip: Forklift driver shifts on Instawork pay above average, and with shifts around 8-10 hours long, that extra pay adds up! Plus, you can book as many or as few shifts as you like based on your schedule.

RELATED: How to get a forklift license

8. Warehouse Machine Operator

Warehouse machine operators move  both incoming and outgoing inventory and goods inside the warehouse facility. They do this by using different types of equipment such as pallet jacks, cherry pickers, hand trucks, packing machines, and other manual and electrical equipment.

Skills required: Ability to follow instructions, safety-first mindset, equipment operation, teamwork

Finding warehouse work

Hopefully, this brief list of common warehouse roles and responsibilities gives you a better idea of what type of jobs are available in a warehouse, and what they involve. Think you would make a good warehouse worker? Make sure to download Instawork, where you can  find high-paying warehouse shifts near you, complete basic warehouse training, and build your network with other professionals. With lots of open jobs and record-high wages, there’s almost never been a better time to find warehouse work!

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