SHIPPING AND RECEIVING CLERKS California Occupational Guide Number 63 Interest Area 5-D 1997
SHIPPING AND RECEIVING CLERKS prepare and send (ship) and take in (receive) merchandise sent between companies. Smaller firms usually hire clerks to do both shipping and receiving, while bigger companies often hire workers to do shipping and receiving separately.
Shipping Clerks are responsible for all shipments going out. They make sure that the right merchandise is being sent and is in perfect condition. They prepare bills of lading and related paperwork for commercial and other shipments. They write and keep records and reports on warehouse activities. They wrap the goods, using tools such as staplers, strapping machines, and hammers. Shipping Clerks also address the containers, using stencils and labeling tools. They figure freight or postal rates and record costs and weights of each shipment. They may supervise the loading of merchandise to guarantee that it's sent safely. Shipping Clerks may also inspect trucks and vans to make sure they're clean when shipping such items as grain, flour and milk.
When shipments arrive, Receiving Clerks unwrap the goods, using tools such as pry bars and wire cutters. They make sure that the right goods were received by checking the shipments against the original orders. They also make certain that merchandise is in perfect condition. Receiving Clerks notify departments responsible for filing adjustment claims if shipments are damaged or not right. When good must be inspected, Receiving Clerks send samples of merchandise to quality control units. Finally, Receiving Clerks route items coming in to the right plant, or warehouse, or department.
Shipping and Receiving Clerks may operate hand trucks, forklifts, tow trucks, cranes, pickup trucks, mailing machines and loading conveyers.
Shipping and Receiving Clerks can work indoors and outdoors. Working conditions depend on the type of employer. Clerks employed in new shipping centers or large department stores usually work in comfortable areas that are air-conditioned, well-heated and lighted. Those clerks who work in large warehouses can (depending on the weather) experience uncomfortable temperatures. These warehouses are often hot, drafty or cold. Clerks may be exposed to a lot of noise and other distractions. Workers' hands and clothing often get dirty from containers, glue, and stenciling ink. Shipping and receiving materials generally are not considered dangerous. Clerks who ship and receive heavy merchandise can be injured and must be careful in handling orders.
Most employers expect clerks to have at least normal strength and be able to stand for long periods. Normal or corrected eyesight and hearing are a must. Shipping and Receiving Clerks sometimes work under pressure to move merchandise in or out according to tight time schedules. This happens during certain times of the year, such as Christmas and when firms get rush orders. Shipping and Receiving Clerks must have patience and the ability to work independently and make good working relations with fellow workers.
Clerks may be members of the Teamster's union or a number of other unions.
The California Projections of Employment, published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department, estimates that the number of Traffic, Shipping and Receiving Clerks in California will reach 118,510 by 2005, an increase in new jobs of 14,780 over the number there was in 1993.
There will also be an estimated 20,510 job openings due to people retiring or leaving the occupation. Added to the 14,780 new jobs expected, this makes for an estimated total of 35,290 job opportunities through 2005.
(These figures do not include self-employment nor openings due to turnover.)
Most manufacturing companies, wholesale houses, transportation companies, and retail outlets, such as department stores, use Shipping and Receiving Clerks. Although employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all jobs from now until 2005, a lot will depend on the economy and the amount of goods being shipped.
Many firms now use computers to handle their shipping and receiving operations and use better mechanical equipment to move orders. These changes may slow down job growth for Shipping and Receiving Clerks, but the demand for Clerks hasn't seemed to slow down as certain duties can't be automated. There are generally more job applicants than job openings, and competition is tough; applicants with not much experience can have a hard time finding a job.
WAGES, HOURS AND FRINGE BENEFITS
Shipping and Receiving Clerks new to the job make from minimum wage to $13.00 an hour, while clerks with six months to two years of experience earn an hourly wage of the minimum to $16.00. After three years, the hourly wage is $5.50 to $19.50.
The normal workweek is 40 hours, but when products, merchandise or materials are needed in a hurry, clerks may have to work overtime on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and evenings. Overtime is usually paid at time and a half.
Fringe benefits can include paid vacations and holidays, group life, health and dental insurance, sick leave and retirement. Some employers offer clerks stock purchase and profit sharing plans.
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING
Shipping and Receiving Clerks must write correctly and spell accurately, and they must have a good memory. Employers prefer applicants with a high school education including courses in typing, business arithmetic and other business courses. Some employers require clerical experience and the ability to use standard office machines. A valid driver's license is required by some employers. Employers may prefer workers who are familiar with certain types of business operations such as retail or manufacturing. They also may want workers with knowledge of different shipping methods such as U.S. postal and private parcel post service, air freight, railroad, and trucking. New employees or those employees recruited from inside the company from positions such as packer, order filler, or stock clerk are usually trained on the job by experienced workers. Some companies may require a physical examination.
Promotional opportunities for Shipping and Receiving Clerks are better in big companies and depend on proven skill and ability. A typical promotion ladder is to shipping and receiving supervisor, warehouse manager and then to traffic rate clerk. Chances for more advancement are better for workers who continue to improve their skills and pick up other skills. These workers may be promoted to traffic manager, buyer, or purchasing agent.
FINDING THE JOB
Shipping and Receiving Clerks may find work by applying to employers, private employment agencies and the California Employment Development Department Job Service Program. Newspaper classified ads are also an excellent source of job leads.
RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES
Stock Clerks No. 74 Buyers (Retail Trade) No. 118 Forklift Operators No. 190
OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES
DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed., Rev. 1) Shipping and Receiving Clerk (clerical) 222.387-050
OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Traffic, Shipping and Receiving Clerks 580280
Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162