Knowing your worth as a warehouse operative

Knowing your worth as a warehouse operative

At some point in our working life we have all looked at our payslip and asked ourselves, “could I earn more money somewhere else” but how do we go about finding out the answer? Is the grass really greener on the other side or is it just different grass?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you are being paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Compare your hourly rate to the industry averages

As a warehouse operative we would expect you to be earning somewhere between £7.82 - £9.97 per hour / £13,396- £22,337 per year.

If you have a forklift license and are operating machinery as part of your role, then you may be earning a higher rate of somewhere between £8.23 to £11.20 per hour, or £14,642 - £25,204 per year. While overtime is not always paid at a higher rate, when it is it can be around £8.12 to £15.09 per hour for both positions. Pay scales can vary quite dramatically across the country and so your location does have a part to play in how much you earn. For example, research carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in 2017 showed that average incomes in the South East were 25% higher than those in the West Midlands. While it is not a hard and fast rule, generally areas that have a higher cost of living tend to offer increased pay rates in comparison to other areas where the cost of living is lower.

Make sure you are earning at least the national minimum or living wage

Before you start to question how your current hourly rate compares to those that other employers are offering, the most important thing to check first is that you are earning no less than the UK national minimum wage or living wage. 

You can check to make sure you are receiving the correct minimum rate of pay for your age on the government website.

If you are not being paid the national minimum or living wage what can you do?

If you have not received the right minimum or living wage then your employer owes you the difference between what they have paid you and what they should have paid you.

As a first step, try having an informal chat with your employer, ask them to explain how they have worked out your pay. You could show them a print out from the government website showing how you found out that your rate was wrong.

Hopefully your employer will see their mistake and offer to pay you what you are owed immediately.

If this doesn’t go as planned then you can call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) helpline on 0300 123 1100, they will check your calculations and work through your options with you.

In April this year there will be an increase in the National Minimum and Living Wage rates, the government will publicly announce the new rates and we will be updating them here so if you are currently earning at the rates shown above be sure to check your payslip again in May to make sure you are receiving the new rate.

Whether you work full or part time has no bearing on the rate of pay you receive, part time employees have the right to earn the same rates as their full time counterparts.

Find out who the highest paying employers are for your role

Once you have satisfied yourself that you are earning at least the minimum or living wage then you can turn your attentions to seeking out other employers who may be paying more for your role.

According to Glassdoor some of the highest paying employers for warehouse workers are currently Asda and Wincanton followed closely by Tesco, Sainsburys and Ocado.


Consider agency work vs direct employment

If you work as a warehouse operative through an agency then you may receive a higher hourly pay rate than those who are directly employed in the same environment. But those who are directly employed may receive other benefits as part of their salary and feel more secure in their position.

Both options have their advantages, the question is which do you value most, higher pay rates and the freedom to choose where and when you work or employee benefits and job security?

Important things to think about

In many cases your rate of pay increases after your first 12 weeks working in a role so if you are quite new, it may be worth staying where you are.

Additionally, pay rates can increase based on your level of experience, longer standing and more experienced employees can enjoy enhanced rates of pay if they stick around long enough.

If you do decide to try your luck with a different employer be smart, do your research, find out who they are, what they stand for and see if you can find some reviews from existing or recent staff.

Lastly, do not leave your current role until you are absolutely sure that you have a job to go to.