Pay and job security dominate the wish lists of hourly employees working in warehouses and distribution centers, according to the fourth annual warehouse employee opinion survey published by staffing firm ProLogistix.
The survey asked 1,624 respondents to identify—out of a possible nine choices—the most important criteria in looking for a job. About 54 percent cited "pay" as either their first or second most important criterion, while 47 percent chose "job security."
Those criteria also topped the list in 2008 and 2009, but they were more dominant in those years than they were in 2010. The biggest increase in 2010 came in the category of "benefits"; 22 percent of the respondents to the 2010 survey cited benefits as either the first or second-ranked criterion, up from 14 percent in 2009. This is the fourth consecutive year ProLogistix has conducted the survey.
The survey also found employees were more willing to work less-favored shifts if needed to ensure job security. About 42 percent said they would be willing to work the midnight-to-seven a.m. shift, commonly known as the "graveyard" shift. That's an increase from 31 percent in 2009 and 26 percent in 2008. About 68 percent said they would work weekend shifts, if necessary, as a condition of employment, up from 53 percent in 2009.
Brian Devine, a ProLogistix division vice president who oversees the study, said the increasing willingness of workers to show up for less-desirable shifts was the most striking finding from the study. The trend illustrates how "open and flexible" workers have become in order to preserve or solidify their employment status, Devine said.
The survey's findings indicated warehouse workers were not spared the job cuts spawned by the deep recession. When asked why they left their previous job, 46 percent—by far the largest percentage of respondents—said they were laid off due to a lack of work. That was up from 34 percent in 2009.
The survey respondents were either ProLogistix employees working in warehouses and DCs, full-time workers employed by ProLogistix's clients, or ProLogistix applicants with at least six months' experience. About 68 percent of the respondents had three or more years of logistics experience, and 44 percent were between the ages of 35 and 54. Devine said the age of respondents has been gradually trending up since the survey began.
The survey's geographic sampling excluded the West Coast and select areas of the Northeast. Devine said those areas were not covered because ProLogistix does not have staffing operations there. He added that the survey's sampling size and characteristics were large and comprehensive enough that adding those population centers "wouldn't have moved the needle that much."