Stock Clerks and Order Fillers
- Employers prefer to hire stock clerks and order fillers who
are familiar with computers and other electronic office and
- Employment is projected to decline, due to the use of automation
in factories, warehouses, and stores.
Stock clerks and order fillers receive, unpack, check, store,
and track merchandise or materials. They keep records of items
entering or leaving the stockroom and inspect damaged or spoiled
goods. They sort, organize, and mark items with identifying codes,
such as price, stock, or inventory control codes, so that inventories
can be located quickly and easily. They also may be required to
lift cartons of various sizes. In larger establishments, where
they may be responsible for only one task, they may be called
stock-control clerks, merchandise distributors, or property
custodians. In smaller firms, they also may perform tasks
usually handled by shipping and receiving clerks. (A separate
statement on shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks appears elsewhere
in the Handbook.)
In many firms, stock clerks and order fillers use hand-held scanners
connected to computers to keep inventories up to date. In retail
stores, stock clerks bring merchandise to the sales floor and
stock shelves and racks. In stockrooms and warehouses, stock clerks
store materials in bins, on floors, or on shelves. Instead of
putting the merchandise on the sales floor or on shelves, order
fillers take customers’ orders and either hold the merchandise
until the customers can pick it up or send it to them.
Working conditions vary considerably by employment setting. Most
jobs for stock clerks and order fillers involve frequent standing,
bending, walking, and stretching. Some lifting and carrying of
smaller items also may be involved. Although automated devices
have lessened the physical demands of this occupation, their use
remains somewhat limited. Even though mechanical material-handling
equipment is employed to move heavy items, the work still can
The typical workweek is Monday through Friday; however, evening
and weekend hours are common and may be required when large shipments
are involved or when inventory is taken.
|Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Many stock clerk and order filler positions are at the entry
level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers,
however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other
electronic office and business equipment. Typing, filing, recordkeeping,
and other clerical skills also are important.
Stock clerks and order fillers usually learn the job by doing
routine tasks under close supervision. They learn how to count
and mark stock, and then they start keeping records and taking
inventory. Strength, stamina, good eyesight, and an ability to
work at repetitive tasks, sometimes under pressure, are important
characteristics. Stock clerks whose sole responsibility is to
bring merchandise to the sales floor to stock shelves and racks
need little training. Stock clerks and order fillers who handle
jewelry, liquor, or drugs may be bonded.
Training in the use of automated equipment usually is done informally,
on the job. As this occupation becomes more automated, however,
workers may need longer periods of training to master the use
of the equipment.
Advancement opportunities for stock clerks and order fillers
vary with the place of employment. With additional training, some
stock clerks and order fillers advance to jobs as warehouse manager
or purchasing agent.
Stock clerks and order fillers held about 1.6 million jobs in
2004. More than three out of four work in wholesale and retail
trade. The greatest numbers are found in grocery stores, followed
by department stores. Jobs for stock clerks are found in all parts
of the country, but most work in large urban areas that have many
large suburban shopping centers, warehouses, and factories.
Employment of stock clerks and order fillers is projected to
decline through 2014 as a result of the use of automation in factories,
warehouses, and stores. Because the occupation is very large and
many jobs are entry level, however, numerous job openings will
occur each year to replace those who transfer to other jobs or
leave the labor force.
The growing use of computers for inventory control and the installation
of new, automated equipment are expected to inhibit growth in
demand for stock clerks and order fillers, especially in manufacturing
and wholesale trade industries, where operations are most easily
automated. In addition to using computerized inventory control
systems, firms in these industries are relying more on sophisticated
conveyor belts and automatic high stackers to store and retrieve
goods. Also, expanded use of battery-powered, driverless, automatically
guided vehicles can be expected.
Employment of stock clerks and order fillers who work in grocery,
general merchandise, department, apparel, and accessories stores
is expected to be somewhat less affected by automation because
much of their work is done manually and is difficult to automate.
In addition, the increasing role of large retail outlets and warehouses,
as well as catalog, mail, telephone, and Internet shopping services,
should bolster employment of stock clerks and order fillers in
these sectors of retail trade.
Median annual earnings of stock clerks and order fillers in May
2004 were $20,100. The middle 50 percent earned between $16,250
and $25,910. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,970, and
the highest 10 percent earned more than $33,420.
These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other
workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide
them or offer an allowance to purchase them.
Workers who also handle, move, organize, store, and keep records
of materials include shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks;
production, planning, and expediting clerks; cargo and freight
agents; and procurement clerks.
|Sources of Additional Information
State employment service offices can provide information about
job openings for stock clerks and order fillers.
Source: Bureau of Labor
Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook
Handbook, 2006-07 Edition