If you’re a warehouse laborer or freight stocker looking for work, you’re in luck. Warehouse fulfillment and distribution employers are competing for qualified labor, meaning wage growth is underway in these sectors. E-commerce is the leading factor behind this trend, with every $1 billion in added e-commerce sales equaling 1 million square feet more in warehouse space. It’s also been the most active industrial sector over the past two years in the U.S., representing 22.5% of all big-box deals with 500,000+ square feet.
Driving the high demand for e-commerce workers is the fact that fulfillment operations require two-to-three times more labor than nonfulfillment operations due to the intensive picking, packing, and shipping an array of product types in varying combinations to consumers or pick-up centers. With signs pointing towards big-box leasing being mid-cycle and still on the rise, site location and warehouse technologies have become key factors in making market conditions successful. Logistics, access to markets and transportation routes, and consumer demand are all driving industrial site selection. With the demand for same or next-day delivery and demographic shifts to urban areas, vacant offices and parking centers are being repurposed into fulfilment and distribution centers.
Another new type of industrial use is making headway, “creative industrial” – integrating the creative office environment with modern industrial elements. By incorporating the onsite amenities in desired locations that the younger generation of workers demand and seek, industrial users are able to deliver their goods or services while building their corporate images. Consolidation is also a leading factor in the creative industrial trend as industrial users seek to consolidate their engineering, R&D and corporate operations under one roof to reduce operating costs and maximize efficiency.