Is Warehouse Work Blue-Collar?

Hand wrapping a pallet

Most entry-level warehouse jobs are blue-collar. This is because a blue collar worker is defined as a working class person who performs manual labor.

This description fits warehouse work well since most of it is manual.

Examples of blue-collar warehouse roles include:

  • warehouse associate
  • order selector
  • reach truck operator
  • lumper
  • loader/unloader
  • yard jockey
  • pallet runner
  • sanitation worker
  • putaway
  • packer
  • stower
  • receiver

Not all entry-level jobs in a warehouse are blue-collar, however. HR specialist, demand planner, buyer, carrier relations analyst and IT specialist are some of the entry-level white-collar roles that can be found in a warehouse facility.

A white-collar worker is one who performs desk, managerial or administrative work.

white-collar workers in a warehouse

All senior titles in warehouses are white-collar. Examples include:

  • Director of warehouse operations
  • Managing director
  • Warehouse manager
  • Operations manager

Blue-Collar Vs White-Collar Warehouse Jobs

Blue-collar workers tend to be hourly-paid while their white-collar colleagues tend to be salaried.

Blue-collar workers do manual labor on the warehouse floor while white-collar workers spend most of their time in offices performing tasks on their computer.

Generally, there are more filled and open blue-collar positions than white-collar positions in a warehouse.

A lot of white-collar warehouse workers are choosing to work from home while their blue-collar peers must commute to work since they have to be physically present at the warehouse to perform their duties.

Blue-collar work can be exhausting and can cause injuries such as back pain due to constant heavy lifting. At the same time, white-collar work can also be unhealthy due to spending more time seated.

Pros of Blue-Collar Warehouse Jobs

happy warehouse worker

Blue-collar warehouse workers can make a sizeable starting wage in some companies; sometimes even more than some of their white-collar peers.

The job makes you stay active and healthy due to the continuous movement and lifting.

Barriers to entry in this line of work are little to none. Warehouses are hiring around the clock and you can easily get the job right out of high school.

Most entry-level blue-collar roles in warehouses keep you on your feet and engaged with work which makes the day go by faster.

Cons of Blue-Collar Warehouse Jobs

Exhausted warehouse worker.

Like most manual labor jobs, blue-collar workers in warehouses are usually lower paid than their white-collar counterparts in the long term. With the rising cost of living, it is hard to make living wage in the long-term as an entry-level warehouse worker.

It is very hard to climb up the corporate ladder as a blue-collar warehouse worker. This is because many warehouses rarely promote from within and when they need to hire for managerial positions, they employ outsiders.

Additionally, upward mobility is also hard for blue-collar warehouse workers. Even though initial pay may be relatively high for entry-level workers, getting significant pay bumps over the course of one’s career is rare since promotions are hard to come by.

Manual warehouse work involves a lot of repetitive motion which can cause injury to the joints and back. Back pain is one of the most common complaints that warehouse workers have due to repetitive bending and lifting.

Blue-collar jobs are also physically and mentally draining. Many entry-level warehouse jobs are not easy. They involve long hours of heavy and grueling work. However, it is possible to find some warehouse jobs that are a bit easier on your body.

Jobs Similar to Blue-Collar Warehouse Work

construction worker

Blue-collar jobs can also be found in other industries. These can either be skilled (requiring specialized training) or unskilled.

Examples of industries that employ many entry-level skilled and unskilled manual labor include:

  • construction
  • manufacturing/factories
  • agriculture
  • mining
  • skilled trades, e.g. plumbing, carpentry and electricians
  • truck driver
  • firefighter
  • retail