Best warehouses to work for

26% of the companies on Breakroom employ warehouse workers. As more of us now shop online, the demand for warehouse workers has shot up.

However, it’s not just online shops that hire warehouse workers: all sorts of businesses need goods and materials stored, picked and packed up. Supermarkets, food suppliers and manufacturers all use warehouses too.

There are only a few qualifications needed to work in a warehouse. In some cases you just need the right to work in the UK. Warehouse jobs are therefore open to lots of people.

With an estimated 1,500 warehouses in the UK, it’s worth looking into which warehouses are the best to work for.

The top 10 warehouses to work for in the UK

  1. Harrods: 8.7/10

  2. Northern Rail: 8.6/10

  3. Smurfit Kappa: 8.4/10

  4. Games Workshop: 8.3/10

  5. Collins Aerospace: 8.2/10

  6. Princes Food: 8.2/10

  7. CSM Machinery: 8.1/10

  8. BAE Systems: 8.1/10

  9. Britvic: 7.9/10

  10. CTDI: 7.9/10

Interested by one of these warehouses? Read on and find out more about what it might be like to work there.

What’s it like working in a warehouse?

We asked Breakroom users who work in warehouses to share what their jobs are like.

This is what Breakroom users said to expect from a warehouse job:

  • It’s physical work. This is good for exercise, but can be quite tiring.

  • There are different types of tasks. These include picking, packing, loading and driving. But you may be given only one type of task to do.

  • Driving jobs in warehouses may have extra entry requirements.  Find out what entry requirements might needed for driving jobs here.

  • There can be pressure to meet targets.

  • Working long hours is common.

How many hours do warehouse workers work?

Before we look at how many hours warehouse workers typically work, let’s look at the most common type of contract used for warehouse jobs.

Type of contract % warehouse workers on this contract
Zero hour 2%
Part time 19%
Full time 79%

As you can see, the majority of warehouse workers are on full-time contracts, so will work full-time hours. Let’s break this down even further.

Type of contract Average number of hours worked per week
Zero hour 30
Part time 29
Full time 42

Even if you’re a warehouse worker on a zero hours or a part-time contract, you’re still likely to be getting a lot of hours.

Warehouse workers on zero hour and part-time contracts only work a few hours shy of full-timers.

Warehouse workers on full-time contracts work on average 42 hours a week. This is the equivalent of working 8.4 hours a day, 5 days a week.

This all supports what this warehouse worker said about their job:

“[It’s] long hours. I feel very tired at the end of the shift.”

Seeing that warehouse workers work a lot of hours, let’s see whether they get proper breaks during their shifts:

% warehouse workers who said yes % warehouse workers who said no
Get to take proper breaks? 76% 24%
Get paid for breaks? 44% 56%

The good news is that the majority of warehouse workers get proper breaks when they’re working. The not-so-good news is that 56% of these workers don’t get paid for these breaks.

How much do you make working in a warehouse?

We’ve explored how many hours you can get as a warehouse worker. Now let’s take a look at pay rates.

Hours worked a week 25% of people earn this or less 50% of people earn this or less 75% of people earn this or less
Low hours (under 16) £8.21 per hour £9.00 per hour £9.50 per hour
Part time (16-34) £8.51 per hour £9.12 per hour £9.90 per hour
Full time (35+) £9.01 per hour £9.93 per hour £11.18 per hour

25% of warehouse workers working 35+ hours earn less than the Real Living Wage. As of 2020, this is £9.30 across the UK and £10.75 in London.

Warehouse workers who don’t work long hours earn even less. 50% of warehouse workers who work low or part-time hours earn less than the Real Living Wage.

Now let’s dig into the different types of warehouse jobs and see what each pays.

Type of warehouse job 25% of people earn this or less 50% of people earn this or less 75% of people earn this or less
Warehouse worker £8.88 per hour £9.50 per hour £10.74 per hour
Supervisor or manager £8.90 per hour £9.51 per hour £10.86 per hour
Driver £9.08 per hour £9.90 per hour £11.50 per hour

Unsurprisingly, entry level workers are paid less than people with extra responsibilities, or those with extra skills, like driving.

However, roles that have more responsibilities, like warehouse supervisors and managers, only get paid a little bit more than entry level jobs.

This supports what this warehouse worker says about warehouse pay rates not reflecting responsibilities:

“I take on multiple jobs and responsibilities with no increase in pay.”

Out of all these warehouse jobs we have looked at, the best paid warehouse workers are drivers.

Is working in a warehouse good or bad for your health?

As we’ve established, warehouse work is physically demanding. This warehouse worker shared this about the intensity of their job:

“It’s very physical (approx 18,000 steps daily) and there’s a lot of heavy lifting.”

With such physical work, there’s a real risk of injury. Therefore, the health and safety of warehouse workers is extremely important.

However, workplace safety in warehouses has recently become even more important, as COVID-19 poses a risk to warehouse workers. Warehouses are indoor spaces that have a lot of people working in them.

So we asked warehouse workers how safe they felt at work, along with how stressed they felt. This is what they shared:

Responses Stressed in workplace? Feel safe in workplace?
Warehouse workers who said yes 60% 74%
Warehouse workers who said no 40% 26%

It’s really good to see that the vast majority of warehouse workers feel safe in their workplaces. However, what is concerning is that 60% of warehouse workers have said work makes them stressed.

As important as physical safety is, mental wellbeing for workers is just as critical. As we’ve explored earlier, warehouse work can include long hours and pressure to reach targets. It’s not surprising that many warehouse workers are feeling stressed.

If you’re interested in warehouse work but concerned about stress levels, have a look into these companies:

Companies with warehouse jobs % of warehouse workers who aren’t stressed here
Waitrose & Partners 70%
Ocado 60%
Royal Mail 60%

The Breakroom verdict on warehouse jobs

If you’re after a job that doesn’t require experience, a warehouse job might be for you. It can get quite tiring but if you like a physical challenge, it’s worth considering.

For anyone who thinks the physical part of warehouse work sounds a bit overwhelming, there’s also the option to be a driver. These driver jobs also pay better too.

It’s important to note that a lot of warehouse work is high pressure, but we have highlighted some companies where warehouse workers are less stressed.

The Breakroom verdict is that out of the companies that hire warehouse workers, quite a few offer full-time workers good pay. However, this isn’t the case for part-time warehouse workers, who earn less.

If you’re a worker, here are the things to look out for in job ads for warehouse work:

  • What is the hourly pay rate - is it equal to or more than the Real Living Wage?

  • Does it clearly say what hours you’ll be contracted to work?

  • Does it clearly say what breaks you’ll get and whether they’re paid?

If the job ad doesn’t cover these points, it’s worth checking if there are any similar warehouse job ads that do.

Companies that hire warehouse workers could get a much better Breakroom rating if they did the following:

  • Update all pay rates so they’re in line with the Real Living Wage

  • Make sure pay rates are equal for full-time and part-time workers

  • Work to reduce worker’s stress levels

The data used here is from 1 August 2020

Published on 3 August, 2020