Last Updated on 2024-01-02

8 Pro’s and 7 Con’s of Working at Amazon Warehouse

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Alex Rodriguez

T1 Asssociate with experience across Decant, Waterspider, Stower, Packer, and Receive Dock roles

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Justin “JJ” James

T1 Asssociate in a Delivery Station with 2+ years of experience working in the Stower, Picker, and Stager roles

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Dustin Stowell

T2 in a Sortation Center with 3+ years of experience working in the Problem Solver, Scanner, Stager, Picker, Stower, Waterspider, Material Handler, and Unloader roles

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Ozy Watson

T1 Asssociate with 1+ year of experience working in the Unloader, Scanner, Stager, Stower, Picker, Inducter, Pusher, Diverter, and Pick-to-Buffer roles

Amazon has many warehouses across the United States, employing over one million L1 (entry level) associates. There are many upsides to working for Amazon: competitive pay, excellent benefits, and growth opportunities, along with some downsides. In this post, we will go into both the pros and the cons of working at an Amazon warehouse so you can decide whether or not it sounds right for you, based on an honest and impartial view. 

Note that all of these pros and cons apply whether you’re working as a Fulfillment Center (FC) Associate, Sortation Center (SC) Associate, or Delivery Station (DS) Associate, unless otherwise specified.

8 Pros of Working at Amazon

We’ll start off with the positive things about being an Amazon warehouse employee. 

#1) Competitive Pay

Amazon is known for paying their employees fairly. They are one of the best paying employers for entry level jobs in many areas. The average starting hourly wage for an L1 Amazon warehouse employee is roughly $17/hr, ranging from $15/hr on the low end to $21.50 (and sometimes even higher with shift differentials included) on the high end. Additionally, many sites offer a sign-on bonus of anywhere from $500 to $3000 for new L1 associates.

After some time working at Amazon, you can work your way up on the automatic wage increase scale (called the “step plan” by Amazon), for a raise of roughly $0.25-0.50 every 6 months (each site has its own step plan amounts). Finally, Amazon also offers opportunities for bonuses such as the referral bonus, the 5- and 10-year tenure bonuses, and the (very rare) performance bonus.

Read more about how Amazon pays warehouse employees.

#2) Availability of Many Different Schedules

At any Amazon warehouse, there’s a shift schedule to fit around almost any desired working schedule. Amazon has day shifts, night shifts, early morning shifts, and weekend shifts. The amount of hours one works per day and per week is just as flexible when finding a schedule - there are full-time (FT) positions for 40 hours a week, reduced time (RT) positions for 30-39 hours a week, and part time (PT)  positions for under 30 hours a week.

Justin James, an Amazon employee of 2+ years, says that RT positions get the same benefits as FT, making an RT position a good choice for those who don’t want to work a full 40 hours a week but still need health insurance or other benefits.

Amazon also offers flexible schedules - when working a Flex position, you choose shifts for the next week when they’re made available every Friday instead of working specific days and shift times. This allows employees to change the days and times they work every week to better match their schedule and their life. Amazon has FlexRT (Flexible Reduced Time) schedules with a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 60 hours worked per week, along with FlexPT (Flexible Part Time) schedules with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 19 hours worked per week.

Read more about Amazon Warehouse’s many shift scheduling options.

#3) Voluntary Time Off and Voluntary Extra Time

For most non-Flex warehouse employees, Amazon offers Voluntary Time Off (VTO) and Voluntary Extra Time (VET). As the names would suggest, VTO allows one to miss scheduled hours without expending accrued unpaid time or PTO (while still accruing UPT for the time taken on VTO), and VET allows one to add extra hours or shifts to their schedule. All shifts over 8 hours in a day and over 40 hours in a week are subject to overtime pay at 1.5x base hourly rate (depending on your state, you may also be entitled to overtime despite working less than 8 hrs/day or 40 hrs/wk - for example, Alex Rodriguez, an Amazon employee of 2+ years, says that any hours over your regular schedule are subject to overtime rates in California). This allows Amazon employees to better customize their work schedules and number of hours worked to their life circumstances. 

#4) Employment Availability

Amazon operates all over the country with 1,000+ active sites between FCs, SCs, and DSs. This makes it possible to work at Amazon while living almost anywhere in the United States. New warehouse workers are always needed - turnover is fairly high and Amazon is always expanding. Finally, the requirements to become an Amazon associate are minimal - you can be hired with few qualifications and little preparation. If you can pass a drug test and a background check, you can work at an Amazon warehouse. All of these factors together make Amazon warehouse jobs both widely available and easy to get.

#5) Opportunities for Advancement and Career Development

As an Amazon warehouse employee, you will have many opportunities for professional growth. There are many L3 and above positions at Amazon warehouses for which experienced L1 employees are the main candidate pool. 

Of these positions, there are many different paths available - general warehouse management (L3 Process Assistant & L4 Area Manager), Safety (L3 & L4 Safety), L3 & L4 Reliability & Maintenance Engineering, and HR (L3 Associate HR Partner, L4 HR Partner,

L5 HR Business Partner). 

As well as internal advancement opportunities, Amazon also offers training and skills that are relevant to other jobs. Working at Amazon can be a great way to get your foot in the door for a career in warehouse operations or management. Amazon’s benefits package even includes a program that pays for a portion of tuition.

#6) Excellent Benefits Package

Amazon offers a comprehensive benefits package to all permanent full-time warehouse employees. This benefits package includes PTO, vacation time, high quality health insurance, short- and long-term disability, life insurance, generous Leave of Absence options, and more. From Justin’s point of view, Amazon is very generous with employees’ time off options.

Unlike some other jobs, all of Amazon’s benefits are available starting Day 1. One of the most valuable benefits offered to Amazon warehouse employees is Career Choice, through which Amazon will pay up to $5,250 towards education per calendar year for full time Amazon associates (and $2,625 for part time associates). This can be used at any of Amazon’s approved partner schools, or on a specific career training program. Another fringe benefit of working at Amazon is the Amazon A to Z app. The app allows you to easily manage all your work matters- time off requests, tracking your schedule & performance, viewing your compensation, communicating with HR, etc.- from your phone.

#7) Stability & Job Security

As a non-seasonal Amazon warehouse employee, you have a fair amount of job security. Amazon is always expanding, and warehouse employees will be necessary for the foreseeable future. Good associates can be hard to find, and Amazon does a lot to retain them. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about many of the possible headaches that can come along at other jobs such as no-cause layoffs or the company folding.

#8) Clean, Safe, Respectful Working Environment

Amazon has high standards of cleanliness, safety, and respect for others in the workplace. Anyone who jeopardizes any of these important things won’t last long in the warehouse, thereby filtering out people and behavior that would create an unsafe or hostile working environment. Nobody should have to worry about dirty working conditions, safety issues at the workplace, or hostile coworkers. As an Amazon warehouse employee, you will likely never encounter any of these.

6 Cons of Working at Amazon

We’ll now move on to some of the negative things about working at an Amazon warehouse.

#1) Extremely Physical Work

Amazon warehouse employees are expected to lift and move packages weighing up to 50 pounds, repetitively - for 8 to 12 hours straight. Additionally, many Amazon employees walk thousands of steps and up to 10 miles in a single shift. During your first few weeks, your muscles will be aching and your feet will be sore by the end of each shift. While your body does eventually adjust, working at an Amazon warehouse will always be a physically strenuous job. While some may see this as a negative, others may like how working a highly physical job keeps you in shape and helps the time go by faster.

#2) Repetitive Work

During any given shift at an Amazon warehouse, you will spend most of it doing the same thing over and over again. Whether it’s packing orders, picking orders to be packed, stowing items to be sorted for delivery, or staging items to be moved into delivery trucks, there is a lot of repetition in the work of an Amazon associate. Oftentimes you can ask your manager for you to get cross trained in departments other than your primary job, making things slightly less repetitive - but not by much. Creating a good relationship with your site management will help you greatly with obtaining training and advancement opportunities. Adding to this, most Amazon warehouse sites ban the use of headphones or earbuds.

#3) Aggressive Working Culture

At Amazon warehouses, there’s always something to be don e- and this is strongly reflected in the working culture. During high-volume days and peak times of the year, Amazon associates are pushed to the max to keep up with the quantity and quality benchmarks set by management. Even during slower times, Amazon still pushes L1 associates quite hard- and there are less people to split the work between than during peak season.There is very rarely any “downtime” during an Amazon associate’s shift (outside of breaks, of course) and never a shortage of work to be done.

#4) Mandatory Overtime

Tying into the aggressive working culture, mandatory overtime (called “MET” by Amazon) is one of the challenges that full-time Amazon warehouse associates will have to deal with (Part time associates are exempt). While MET isn’t common, an Amazon associate can expect to have it called about 3-5 times a year. This happens most commonly around Prime Day and the peak season of late November to late December. In addition to the extra working hours, vacation time and personal leave of absence approvals are also frozen during times when volume is high enough for MET to be called.

#5) Isolation

While working as an Amazon warehouse associate, there is usually very little interaction with others (depending on your job). You will often be standing at your workstation or aisle for hours on end. Most of your work will be facilitated by machines rather than direct interactions with other people, and there are no customers to talk to. While some people may thrive on not having to deal with customer and coworker interaction, others may find the Amazon warehouse work environment isolating and draining. 

#6) Highly Variable Quality of Management

As an Amazon associate, the quality of the L3/L4 employees - your direct supervisors - and the higher level managers above them can make or break your experience. As the ones deciding what needs to get done, directing how it gets done, and supervising the implementation of those methods, their decisions and management style has a huge effect on how enjoyable a given Amazon warehouse site is to work at. Some perpetuate a stifling level of micromanagement, while others leave room to engage and grow. You might work at one Amazon warehouse and hate it, then transfer to another where you enjoy it a lot more. This variability in quality of management makes finding a site that fits you rather hit-or-miss. Managers also rotate departments or sites quite frequently, making it even harder to find a good manager who sticks around.

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