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If you're looking for career insight on warehouse management, this article explains what you can expect from the role, the typical skills and experience needed, average salaries, and key places to look for work.

What is a warehouse manager? 

The role of a warehouse manager encompasses many different responsibilities – generally overseeing the comings and goings of both goods and staff in an ever-changing physical environment.  

They ensure the efficient operation of a warehouse facility, guaranteeing the smooth flow of goods in and out. Their responsibilities include managing inventory levels, coordinating incoming and outgoing shipments, optimising storage space, and implementing safety protocols. They also supervise warehouse staff, provide training, assign tasks, and monitor performance to maintain productivity and quality standards. The role of a warehouse manager also involves liaising with other departments, such as procurement, logistics, and customer service, to fulfil orders accurately and on time. 

This role suits individuals with strong organisational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment. Effective communication and leadership abilities are essential for delegating tasks and resolving issues efficiently. Problem-solving skills are also crucial for addressing logistical challenges and optimising workflows.  

Prior experience in warehouse operations or logistics management is typically required, along with familiarity with inventory management systems and health and safety regulations. A warehouse manager should be adaptable and resourceful, capable of making quick decisions to address unexpected circumstances and ensure operational continuity. Overall, this role demands a proactive, hands-on approach to effectively oversee all aspects of warehouse operations. 

Types of warehouse manager 

Warehouse manager roles can vary based on the size of the warehouse, industry, and specific requirements of the company. Some common types of warehouse manager roles include: 

General warehouse manager: looks after the overall operations of the warehouse, including inventory management, staff supervision, and logistics coordination. 

Distribution centre manager: manages the distribution centre’s activities, including receiving, storing, and shipping goods efficiently. 

Inventory control manager: focuses on maintaining accurate inventory records, implementing inventory control procedures, and optimising inventory levels to meet demand. 

Operations manager: responsible for overseeing various aspects of warehouse operations, including personnel management, facility maintenance, and process improvement. 

Fulfilment centre manager: manages fulfilment operations, ensuring orders are picked, packed, and shipped accurately and on time. 

Cold storage manager: oversees the operations of warehouses that store perishable goods or require controlled temperature environments. 

These are just a few examples, and the specific responsibilities and job titles may vary between companies. 

What do you need to become a warehouse manager? 

To become a warehouse manager, you typically need a combination of qualifications, experience, and skills, including a bachelor’s degree in business administration, logistics, supply chain management, or a related field. 

Some employers may accept relevant vocational qualifications or certifications in logistics and warehouse management. Relevant industry certifications such as the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) or Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) can enhance your credentials and competitiveness in the field. 

Prior experience working in warehouse operations, logistics, or supply chain management is essential, and those with supervisory or managerial experience within a warehouse setting will be in a particularly strong position. Demonstrated experience in inventory management, order fulfilment, and process optimisation is valued. 

With digital transformation creating great efficiencies in this sector, it pays to show proficiency in using warehouse management systems (WMS) and other relevant software for tracking inventory and optimising processes. And, with often-hazardous warehouse environments, it goes without saying that managers must keep abreast of the latest health and safety regulations. 

Warehouse manager role and responsibilities 

Typical responsibilities of a warehouse manager include overseeing inventory management, organising the storage of goods, coordinating shipments, managing staff, ensuring health and safety regulations are followed, and optimising warehouse operations for efficiency.  

Employers in the industrial, logistics and warehouse sectors will look for those who can demonstrate strong leadership and interpersonal skills to effectively manage warehouse staff and foster teamwork.  

Working hours can vary but often include regular weekday shifts with occasional overtime or weekend work depending on demand and specific industry requirements. 

Salaries for warehouse managers vary only marginally by region, with an average £34,500 in the south east; £34,900 in the West Midlands, and £34,800 in Wales. You can find salaries for all other regions and similar roles in our procurement, supply chain and warehousing 2024 salary guide

Warehouse manager career prospects 

Warehouse managers can expect a range of career prospects, including opportunities for advancement into higher-level management roles within supply chain and logistics sectors. With the growth of e-commerce and the increasing importance of efficient warehousing and distribution, skilled warehouse managers are in high demand. 

While specific regions may have varying levels of job opportunities based on factors like industrial activity and population density, major urban centres and industrial hubs tend to offer more opportunities for warehouse managers. Cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool are often hotspots for warehousing and logistics jobs due to their strong economies and transportation infrastructure. The so-called warehousing and logistics golden triangle of the East Midlands is another hotspot. The area comprises some 300 square miles of prime distribution facilities, easily accessible to the M1, M6 and M42. 

According to a 2024 report by the UK Warehousing Association, ‘the sector has grown by 61% since 2015 and now stands at approaching 700 million sq ft. Development of warehouses over 1m sq ft has increased by 345% in the last decade, while online retailer occupancy has risen by 813%’. It goes on to highlight the ‘sustained growth, continuing demand and the sector’s adaptability to respond to changing social and supply chain trends, from online shopping to near shoring’.  

Our procurement, supply chain & warehousing salary guide 2024 provides real-time data on the average salary for a host of roles in the sector, as well as insight into the types of benefits that professionals are seeking. Use the guide to benchmark your salaries or help plan your next career move. 

You can also consult our specialist recruitment team for advice on the market and for help with seeking a new industrial, warehousing or logistics role.