You may order from Amazon often and not realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make your order arrive at your doorstep like magic! The workers that make it happen work in a fulfillment center and are often called Amazon Picker Packers.
If you are just getting started in the working world and still trying to “figure things out” and need a job to pay the bills, then Amazon Picker might be a good option. There is also the option to be an Amazon stow associate if you are looking for something that requires less walking around, but offers similar pay and opportunities.
This warehouse job is an entry-level option that requires little or no experience. But you might be surprised to find out that the pay and is not so bad. You should also know that Amazon does do background checks and has a bit of a lengthy hiring process.
Related: Walmart Cart Pusher Job
What Does An Amazon Picker Picker Do?
This job will have you working in a warehouse environment and having responsibility for packages and deliveries that are coming in and out of the warehouse. It is a busy – and physically demanding position so it will require you be in good physical shape.
Some of your day to day activities might include:
- Receive inventory and put it away in designated areas in the warehouse
- Pull customer orders and pack them for shipping
- Loading of shipments on trucks
- Assess products for quality – making sure boxes or products are not damaged
- Report troubles to supervisors
- Utilize scanners and computers to read bar codes and note orders
As a side note, the picker position is a bit different than the packer! A picker will find products and pull them from the shelves, while a packer will take those items and pack them up for shipping. You may do one role or both while you are employed in the warehouse.
Just like any job, some skills will make you more successful. When applying for a job, there will be things the hiring manager will look for which might include some of the below:
- Physical capabilities and stamina since you will be lifting and moving heavy items as well as standing for long durations of time.
- Time management skills are needed to ensure the job is done under very tight timelines. Most customer orders are dispatched in very short time frames and trucks need to be offloaded quickly when deliveries arrive.
- A high school diploma or GED is usually required, but no additional education is needed.
- Detail oriented is a strong skill you will need as you will be responsible for pulling the proper products and shipping details for customers.
- Ability to learn about proper packaging techniques and items used to ensure products ship safely. Having this experience will offer better chances of being hired.
- Desire to learn how to use equipment like pallet jacks or rollers, although previous experience would be helpful to be hired.
While this job is entry-level, the above skills and experiences will give you a better chance of getting hired! You can also take a look at our Fedex package handler job description, which is another solid job opportunity that is similar to this.
Amazon Warehouse Environment
There is one thing about Amazon – they are a demanding company to work for. This specific positions is responsible for getting orders from customers correct and out the door as fast as possible.
You will spend most days on your feet and will be lifting packages of all sizes. They generally ask that you be able to lift 75 pounds with no help. The lifting will require you bending up and down often which can be rough on the knees and back.
Machinery work might be required.
Amazon Packer Salary + Benefits
Amazon does offer a minimum $15 per hour base pay, but in 2021 increased their average starting wage in the United States to $18 per hour.
Some areas are also offering a $3,000 signing bonus.
There are also some other great benefits that they offer to full-time employees including:
- Retirement savings
- Employee discounts
- Healthcare and HSA
- Maternity and parental leave for birth and adoption
- Overtime for over 40 hours
- Time and a half for major holidays
- Vacation, sick and personal days
- Paid time off
There is also an employee referral program from Amazon that offers a bonus if you bring new employees to Amazon.
Amazon Packer Hours
Amazon packers can work all hours of the day and night, but allows you to choose what works best for you. The flexibility is definitely a plus!
Amazon utilizes and app for what they call their “Amazon Anytime Shifts” which allows you to select the shifts you want to work. The app also allows you to cancel a shift in advance, keep up on available work hours you can cover and workplace news.
You can work as few as 4 hours a week or over 40, the choice is yours.
Certain times of the year may required some additional hours worked due to the increase in volume.
I have seen issues with what Amazon calls Mandatory Extra Time (MET) and employees being required to work when they clearly stated they could not. It is important to note that at very busy times additional hours might be required.
Unfortunately, there has been many negative things said about working for Amazon. There is no shortage of complaints about their micro-management and expectations for performance.
In one article a worker noted that productivity was ranked amongst workers, which in itself can cause a toxic culture. Picker packers at Amazon are judged based on what is called “units per time” and “takt time”.
Takt time is the amount it takes you to process one item and unites per hour measures the amount of actual packages you are packing per hour.
You might be required to handle several hundred units per hour with a takt rate of a few seconds per package. If you cannot meat this after your introductory period to the job, you may face being written up.
If you can deal well with pressure and meet very stringent expectations for performance, then it can be a great opportunity for you.
What Real Pickers Packers Say
Our goal at Blue Collar Brain is to help you make smart job choices – which means offering as much insight as we can into any job we profile.
Below are some recent interesting posts and comments from those that are working as an Amazon picker packer – or news about working at an Amazon warehouse.
Hearing first hand can give you a better idea if this is a place you want to work.
While this may not make a great trade career for the long term, it can be a very good part-time or temporary position and may bring future opportunities for growth.
If you are making a career change and need something to fill the gap – or a recent high school grad, this can be a great step until you find the path you want to go down.