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What Material Recording Clerks Do About this section

Material recording clerks
Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks track outgoing and incoming shipments.

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.

Duties

Material recording clerks typically do the following:

  • Keep records of items shipped, received, or transferred to another location
  • Compile reports on various changes in production or inventory
  • Organize the assembly, distribution, or delivery of goods to meet production schedules
  • Prepare materials for shipping by labeling or checking packages
  • Examine products for damage or defects
  • Check inventory records for accuracy

Material recording clerks use computers or hand-held devices to keep track of inventory. Sensors and tags enable these electronic tools to automatically detect when and where products are moved, allowing clerks to keep updated reports without manually counting items.

The following are examples of types of material recording clerks:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks manage the flow of information, work, and materials within or among offices in a business. They compile reports on the progress of work and on any production problems that arise. These clerks set workers’ schedules, estimate costs, keep track of materials, and write special orders for new materials. They also do general office tasks, such as entering data or distributing mail. Expediting clerks maintain contact with vendors to ensure that supplies and equipment are shipped on time.

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks keep track of and record outgoing and incoming shipments. Clerks may scan barcodes with handheld devices or use radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners to keep track of inventory. They check to see whether shipment orders were processed correctly in their company’s computer system. They also compute freight costs, prepare invoices, and write inventory reports. Some clerks move goods from the warehouse to the loading dock.

Material and product inspecting clerks weigh, measure, check, sample, and keep records on materials, supplies, and equipment that enters a warehouse. They verify the quantity and quality of items they are assigned to examine, checking for defects and recording what they find. They use scales, counting devices, and calculators. Some decide what to do about a defective product, such as to scrap it or send it back to the factory to be repaired.

Work Environment About this section

Material recording clerks
Many material recording clerks work in an office inside a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

Material recording clerks held about 1.2 million jobs in 2020. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up material recording clerks was distributed as follows:

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks 734,900
Production, planning, and expediting clerks 365,700
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping 59,100

The largest employers of material recording clerks were as follows:

Manufacturing 29%
Wholesale trade 15
Food and beverage stores 3

Material recording clerks usually work in an office inside a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

These workers also may spend time on the warehouse or plant floor to handle packages or automatic equipment, such as conveyor systems.

Injuries and Illnesses

Some material recording clerks may need to lift heavy items and to bend frequently, which may lead to injury. Using proper lifting techniques helps to reduce the risk of harm.

Work Schedules

Most material recording clerks work full time. Some work nights and weekends or holidays.

How to Become a Material Recording Clerk About this section

Material recording clerks
Material recording clerks learn on the job from an experienced worker.

Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and are trained on the job.

Education

Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Some employers prefer to hire production, planning, and expediting clerks who have a college degree.

Training

Material recording clerks usually learn on the job. Training for most material recording clerks lasts up to 1 month. Production, planning, and expediting clerks may train for up to 6 months.

Material recording clerks first may learn to count stock and mark inventory and then move on to more difficult tasks, such as recordkeeping. Production clerks first typically learn how their company operates before they write production and work schedules.

Workers learn safety rules as part of their training. Many of these rules are standardized through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Advancement

With additional training or education, material recording clerks may advance to other positions, such as purchasing agent, within their company.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Material recording clerks are frequently in contact with suppliers, vendors, or managers and need to convey their company’s needs effectively.

Customer-service skills. Material recording clerks may interact with customers in order to respond to problems or complaints.

Detail oriented. Material and product inspecting clerks must pay attention to detail when checking items for defects, some of which are small and difficult to spot.

Math skills. Material recording clerks may need to calculate shipping costs or take measurements.

Pay About this section

Material Recording Clerks

Median annual wages, May 2021

Total, all occupations

$45,760

Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

$42,030

Material recording clerks

$37,870

 

The median annual wage for material recording clerks was $37,870 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,090.

Median annual wages for material recording clerks in May 2021 were as follows:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks $48,040
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping 37,610
Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks 36,890

In May 2021, the median annual wages for material recording clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $39,240
Wholesale trade 37,700
Food and beverage stores 36,850

Most material recording clerks work full time. Some work nights and weekends or holidays.

Job Outlook About this section

Material Recording Clerks

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Material recording clerks

-1%

Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

-2%

 

Overall employment of material recording clerks is projected to show little or no change from 2020 to 2030.

Despite limited employment growth, about 111,600 openings for material recording clerks are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and increased use of other technology, such as hand-held devices that read barcodes automatically, allow fewer clerks in warehouses to do the same amount of work. In addition, use of barcodes, electronic and optical readers, and RFID tags is expected to increase accuracy in shipping, thereby reducing the number of times a product needs to be weighed, checked, or measured.

As retail continues to move from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online commerce, retailers likewise continue to automate warehouse operations. Collaborative robots and other technology help increase efficiency but may limit the demand for some material recording clerks.

However, the tasks done by production, planning and expediting clerks and by material and product inspecting clerks remain difficult to automate. As a result, employment in these occupations is projected to increase.

Employment projections data for material recording clerks, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Material recording clerks

1,159,800 1,153,400 -1 -6,300

Production, planning, and expediting clerks

43-5061 365,700 393,600 8 27,900 Get data

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks

43-5071 734,900 694,300 -6 -40,600 Get data

Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping

43-5111 59,100 65,400 11 6,300 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about material recording clerks, visit

MHI

Warehousing Education and Research Council

CareerOneStop

For a career video on shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks, visit

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks

O*NET

Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks

Shipping, Receiving, and Inventory Clerks

Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, Recordkeeping

Video