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Examining sources of warehouse employee turnover

Hokey Min (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 19 June 2007




This paper aims to identify key variables that affect warehouse employee turnover. These variables include: occupational variables (e.g. skills, years of experiences); organizational variables (e.g. firm size, industry); individual variables (e.g. pay scale, job security). This paper also develops a conceptual model for linking the aforementioned variables reflecting job alternatives and job satisfaction to warehouse employee turnover.


This paper conducted empirical analysis to determine which variables significantly influence warehouse employee turnover. The empirical analysis is based on data obtained from the questionnaire survey intended for various industries such as manufacturing, third‐party logistics providers, wholesalers, and retailers which get actively involved in warehousing operations. The survey data was analyzed using a series of regression analyses to identify variables significantly influencing warehouse employee turnover.


Job security turned out to be one of the most important factors for recruiting and retaining warehouse employees, whereas monetary incentives have little or nothing to do with warehouse employee turnover. The larger the warehouse, the higher the employee turnover. That is to say, a lack of personal attention paid to warehouse employees may have the adverse impact on their retention. More experienced warehouse workers are less inclined to give up on their current jobs than less experienced warehouse workers, probably because the former is more accustomed to warehouse working environments than the latter.

Research limitations/implications

The current study did not fully explore the impact of ethnicity on warehouse employee turnover, despite the growing diversity of warehousing workforce. Also, the current study was primarily based on the feedback provided by warehouse managers. Future research may incorporate the opinions of warehouse workers into the turnover model.

Practical implications

This paper provides practical guidelines as to how firms can cope with warehouse employee shortages caused by unusually high employee turnover in the warehouses.


Regardless of various warehouse employee retention strategies including pay raises, fringe benefits, bonuses, and gain sharing, many warehouses are still struggling to retain qualified labor. Since, warehouse productivity can be directly affected by the availability and quality of labor, a warehouse employee shortage may have a lasting effect on a firm's competitiveness. In an effort to help firms prevent chronic warehouse employee shortage, this paper is one of the first attempts to identify the main sources of warehouse employee turnover based on the findings of empirical survey of selected US firms.



Min, H. (2007), "Examining sources of warehouse employee turnover", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 375-388.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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