September 15, 2009

What DC workers want

Study finds warehouse and DC workers value job security over pay.

By Mark B. Solomon

Warehouse and distribution center employees put job security ahead of pay when ranking workplace priorities and would rather have more paid vacation days than a 30-cent-per-hour wage increase. Those are among the findings of the third annual survey of 1,500 warehouse and DC employees by ProLogistix, an Atlanta-based logistics staffing firm.

Of 1,000 workers who responded to a question about their top work priority, 360 cited job security, 310 cited pay, and 107 said their top concern was doing work they enjoyed. In the 2007 and 2008 surveys, pay was the top work priority. The change in the 2009 findings reflects workers' worries over having and keeping a job in the midst of the economic downturn.

Benefits matter too. More than 90 percent of the respondents said they would rather remain at their current pay levels and have six days of paid vacation than earn 30 cents more per hour with no vacation, the survey found. Nearly 81 percent said they would rather have health insurance and remain at their current pay scale than earn 50 cents more an hour with no health coverage.

Although workers would like to be rewarded for perfect attendance, 46 percent said they didn't expect their employers to provide any such incentives.

When asked how they searched for jobs, 61 percent said they used Internet job boards. That was followed by newspapers and employment guides. And refuting the notion that the warehouse and DC workforce is a transient one, the survey showed that respondents' average tenure at their previous workplace was more than three years.

Brian Devine, a partner at ProLogistix, advises warehouse and DC managers to boost their workers' pay—the average rate of pay for a warehouse and DC employee is $11.01 per hour—and to consider other incentives to attract and retain workers. Employers "need to think of the hourly worker and what's important to them," Devine says.

Devine also urges employers to be more liberal with paid days off and to offer incentives to reward perfect attendance.

About the Author

Mark B. Solomon
Executive Editor - News
Mark Solomon joined DC VELOCITY as senior editor in August 2008, and was promoted to his current position on January 1, 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management fields as a journalist and public relations professional. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in Washington as a reporter for the Journal of Commerce, covering the aviation and trucking industries, the Department of Transportation, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, he worked for Traffic World for seven years in a similar role. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Solomon ran Media-Based Solutions, a public relations firm based in Atlanta. He graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C.

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