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Three Warehouses to be Developed in St. Louis Under Qualified Opportunity Zone

Warehouse Operators Need Flexible Approach to Hiring

In common with the trucking firms that transport goods to logistics centers, warehouse operators themselves are often hard-pressed to staff up with unemployment at historically low levels, especially as the holiday peak season draws near. “We are in uncharted territory, as many employers prepare for peak season and seek to secure seasonal talent,” said EmployBridge’s Joanie Courtney.

What matters to the talent, seasonal or otherwise? Based on responses to EmployBridge’s 11th annual Warehouse Employee Opinion Survey wage corrections, shift preferences and more flexible human resource policies all are key to attracting and retaining hourly workers.

For the first time since the survey was established in 2007, two-thirds of warehouse workers reported earning hourly rates of $12 or more. That compares with 26% in 2014. EmployBridge studies show that warehouse wages began increasing in 2014, but have more room for correction.

“It appears from our survey findings that $12 an hour has become the bare minimum wage for warehouse workers,” said Employbridge SVP Brian Devine, who created the annual survey. “However, we’re seeing many of our clients offering more attractive wages in order to secure quality talent given the single-digit unemployment market.”

Looking at workers’ shift preferences, 67% of respondents said they wanted first shift and preferred eight-hour shifts. Courtney advised employers to consider implementing 20-hour work weeks or an increased number of shorter shifts that could appeal to semi-retirees, students and working parents with a view toward expanding applicant pools for seasonal help and beyond.

Maintaining rigid HR policies may no longer make good business sense as it did when unemployment was 7% or higher. Just as employers in many other sectors are re-evaluating and relaxing their hiring criteria requirements and other policies to fill production critical positions, supply chain companies are beginning to do the same,” said Devine.

This translates into attendance policies that are reasonable and fair, “and that take into consideration the realities of hourly workers’ limitations,” he added. Moreover, given that there are roughly 10.5 million U.S. workers with less than a high school diploma, “we’re seeing many customers revisit their education requirements and relax background screenings to secure much-needed talent.”

EmployBridge conducted the survey between February and April of this year, collecting data from 15,883 workers. Respondents included job seekers, as well as workers employed full-time, part-time or on a contingent basis, and with at least six months of warehouse experience.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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