So far, 2020 has been a rough year for job growth, with the United States seeing extremely high unemployment numbers. As of April 2020, the unemployment rate hit an all-time high of nearly 15%, before decreasing to around 11%. There is still hope for individuals looking for a new career move in the second half of the year, especially if you are researching careers in transportation and warehousing.

For individuals interested in transportation and warehousing careers, this article will provide valuable information on the dichotomy of the current warehouse workforce, an overall outlook of jobs in the industry, and essential skills that will help you land and succeed in this quickly moving sector.  

Passing the Torch: From Boomers to Millennials 

One of the most significant changes coming to warehousing is those who will manage warehousing operations going forward into the future. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire, they make way for Millennials and Generation Xers raised with widespread access to tablets, smartphones, high-speed internet, and cloud technology. This in-depth experience and knowledge of modern technology will facilitate the faster acceptance of disruptive technologies that are becoming more widely accepted in warehouses across the world, including big data analysis, blockchain technology, cloud-based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Internet of Things (IoT) based handheld devices, and robotics.

Passing the torch to the next generation of warehouse managers will depend on the transfer of knowledge from the old guard to the new. While technology will also play its part here, nothing can replace on-the-job training, as no amount of technology can fully replace a solid foundation in supply chain management principles.

As more traditional jobs focus on embracing future generations of workers, warehousing facilities will need to expand their thinking to re-image the warehouse of yesterday and adopt modern technologies to meet the fast-paced marketplace. When properly harnessed, employers will be able to benefit tremendously from the new workforce entrants’ focus on forward-thinking and flexibility.

Transportation and Warehousing Careers Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 7% growth rate for 2020. While slower than the 10% overall growth of all industries, transportation and warehousing careers are in plentiful supply, with no signs of abating. A recent Bloomberg article found that jobs in the logistics field, including shipping, storage, and warehousing careers, have grown a staggering 180% over the past 30 years. With an ever-tightening labor supply for these types of jobs, transportation and warehousing companies are reporting difficulties attracting and retaining qualified, hourly workers. This is all excellent news for individuals currently working in or considering a career in transportation or warehousing. Business sectors with a lessening employee pool are often driven by external market pressures to provide workers with increasingly better benefits, including higher pay, enhanced training, and improved benefits. Additionally, as more and more Americans choose to shop online versus traditional retail settings, more demand is likely to come for skilled logistics and warehousing professionals, offering up healthy job security. 

Worker Skills for Transportation and Warehousing Careers

So, what does it take to land a transportation or warehousing career? To answer this question, it is crucial to break it down into specific jobs that you may encounter in the industry. Job specifics aside, skills and education that transcend all careers in the transportation and warehousing industries include proficiency with numbers and basic math skills, attention to detail, basic computer knowledge, and the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems.

Transportation: Drivers

Truck drivers are the essential backbone of the entire transportation industry of our country. They are responsible for obtaining a commercial driver’s license and transporting goods from manufacturing facilities to warehouses, retailers, or directly to the customer. The first not-so-obvious skill for truck drivers is communication skills. While most people think of drivers as only sitting behind the wheel, drivers need to interface with dockworkers and customers when loading and unloading freight and with dispatchers and other logistics personnel. Therefore, drivers should bring a positive, customer service-oriented displacement with them. Driving is also inherently dangerous, and as such, drivers need to employ excellent judgment skills. Physical attributes necessary to be a driver include good hearing and eyesight, as well as being in good physical condition for sitting and standing for long periods and heavy lifting.   

Warehousing: Warehouse Associate

Warehousing associates are generally tasked with overseeing the integrity and accuracy of all orders arriving at and leaving the warehouse. Necessary tasks include inspecting and researching inventory levels, completing and reviewing order documentation, physically loading and unloading shipments using varying equipment from hand trucks to forklifts, and ensuring safety rules and regulations are followed. As such, individuals should have the right combination of soft skills such as leadership, communication, and time management, and hard skills, including technical, computer, and analytical skills. If you are comfortable interacting with a wide range of individuals, feel comfortable interfacing with computers, and have a knack for solving problems, you will excel as a warehouse associate.

Warehousing: Distribution Center Manager

Distribution center managers fill critical positions in the supply chain management space. Distribution center or warehouse managers are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising warehouse teams, as well as managing daily activities in the warehouse. These tasks could include planning budgets, profit and loss statements, creating long term projects and goals, and ensuring that inventory, shipping, and receiving all run smoothly. Skills needed for successful warehouse managers include a background in business management or supply chain management, in addition to excellent computer, communication, and analysis skills.

Transportation and Warehousing Careers in Knoxville, TN

Technology, training, improved benefits, and job security are great reasons to consider a transportation and warehousing career this year. For individuals looking for transportation industry jobs in Knoxville, TN, or the surrounding area, Rowe Transfer consistently seeks out bright, dedicated individuals interested in challenging yet rewarding work that requires continuous education and a customer-focused attitude. Interested readers can visit the Rowe Transfer Careers Page for more information about open career positions, or email us your resume if you don’t see a matching job. We’ll hold on to your information and reach out to you once a new position opens up.

Rowe Transfer: Going the Extra Mile

Rowe Transfer has been in business for 136 years and counting because of our commitment to customer satisfaction, adoption of the newest technology and engineering practices, expansion of transportation services, and a focus on the continuous development of our staff and methods. If you or an organization requires expert assistance with rigging, crating, transportation, logistics, or warehousing, no one can claim more years of experience or more satisfied customers than Rowe Transfer. Contact us today to request a quote online, by calling (865) 523-0421, or by sending us an email, and we’ll return your correspondence right away.