Warehouse expansion stalled by worker shortage

The pressure continues to mount on warehouse managers.

The latest statistics for warehouse workers continue to show an across-the-board increase in demand for experienced workers. But with jobs remaining unfilled, the worker shortage is sending shock waves throughout the retail sales system.

What’s behind the shortage? The pandemic drove online sales through the roof at a time when warehouse workers were already in short supply. Turnover, historically high in the sector, has soared this year.

Writing for “ETF Trends,” Senior Economics Analyst Patrick Watson writes: “Some blame it on extra pandemic unemployment benefits, yet job openings remain high even in states that ended them early. So that looks like a partial explanation, at best. The numbers will sort out eventually. Meanwhile, we know two things with high confidence.

  • Many U.S. employers want to hire more workers.
  • Many U.S. workers, for whatever reason, don’t want to work for those employers.

“In theory, higher wages should solve this shortage. Supply and demand will balance at the right price. Wages are indeed rising, but apparently not enough. Workers seems to want more than employers are willing or able to give.”

So it isn’t just the money — warehouse workers are sitting on the sidelines despite bonuses and wage hikes. Meantime, the heightened demand for delivered goods spawned a surge in the construction of new warehouse facilities in local markets as the Amazons of the world raced to shorten delivery times. But those new facilities can’t operate at capacity until more bodies materialize.

Commenting on this confluence of anxiety provoking trends in the online publication “Inbound Logistics,” John Haber, founder/CEO, Spend Management Experts, said: “As a result, hiring warehousing workers is a continuous cycle just to maintain a certain level. But as more warehouses are built closer to the customer, more workers are needed.”

Where to find them? One source of dependable, experienced warehouse employees would be a temporary employee agency that specializes in filling the needs of the warehouse manager.

A staffing service with warehouse workers on call can boost your facility’s productivity on short notice, and keep productivity steady while the competition continues the search for the illusive fulltime warehouse worker.

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