On the Money

Sep 01, 2002 9:30 PM  By

Money has its uses, but some things are, well, priceless. Firmly in that category is “Warehousing Salaries and Wages: 2002 Data,” a brand-new report from the Warehousing Education and Research Council. Conducted for WERC by Leever Research Services, the study more than lives up to its decisive title. It is an encyclopedic compilation of job descriptions, demographics, and compensation ranges for just about every warehousing position — in just about every geographic region — you can imagine.

Business Math
(n) Average $ Median $
Salary + Bonus
Director of logistics 144 101,878 95,000
General manager 287 85,326 80,000
Operations manager 356 62,029 58,659
Traffic manager 156 57,086 55,050
Customer service manager 140 52,624 50,000
Office manager 119 41,224 39,500
Warehouse supervisor 788 42,052 40,998
Average Hourly Wage
Forklift operator 310 12.19 11.87
Order filler 206 11.38 11.00
Shipping/receiving clerk 244 12.02 11.36
Customer service rep 190 12.50 12.00
Source: WERC, 2002

At 104 pages, the report is almost three times the length of its predecessor, published two years ago, and provides information from 382 warehouses, as opposed to 335 in the older version. The respondents constitute 17% of a total sample of 2,249 WERC members who received an eight-page questionnaire in early January 2002. Positions that the researchers surveyed included director of logistics, warehouse supervisor, operations manager, and customer service representative. Participating warehouses submitted data for up to five employees serving in each exempt position; information for non-exempt jobs included the starting, average, and highest hourly wages for each post, plus the number of employees serving in those positions.

Although the report doesn’t have an executive summary (perhaps its one drawback), it provides so much information that the data tables are well worth reading in their own right. Merely by scanning the tables at random, for example, we learn that 64% of warehouses require no work experience for the position of order filler; that 40% of warehouse supervisors have been in their jobs two years or less; and that a non-unionized customer service manager makes 14% more in salary and bonuses than his or her unionized counterpart. Directors of logistics earn $130,000 at a retail business, but only $78,500 at a third-party public warehouse. Median pay is more evenly balanced for warehouse supervisors. They earn about $42,000 in the Northeast and Midwest (the report uses U.S. Census regions); roughly $40,000 in the South and West; $41,500 in the retail business; and $37,000 in the third-party public warehousing sector.

Worried about what to pay your new forklift operator? Fret no more. In New England, you would start him at an hourly wage of $10.75 an hour, move him up to an average of $13.55, and max him out at $15.50.

For all its worth, the WERC study doesn’t literally come without a price. It costs $80 — an unbelievably low fee for the quality and extent of the research it delivers. For more information, contact WERC at 1100 Jorie Blvd., Suite 170, Oak Brook, IL 60523; phone: (630) 990-0001; e-mail: wercoffice@werc.org.