What Is a Stock Clerk? (Including Duties and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Stock clerks receive and handle merchandise and supplies in a stockroom. Excelling in this position requires various essential skills. Understanding what the role entails and how you can become one can help you determine if it's a career worth pursuing. In this article, we answer the question “What is a stock clerk?”, explore how to become one, share the relevant skills required to excel in the role, discuss the work environment for stock clerks, provide tips that can help you in the role, and examine salary expectations.

What is a stock clerk?

The answer to the question “What is a stock clerk?” is that a stock clerk is an individual who is responsible for overseeing and organizing stock. These professionals monitor the movement of items or goods for sale from warehouses or stock rooms to display shelves. Stock clerks also keep inventories of the goods in stock.

When a company receives its merchandise, a stock clerk ensures proper unloading, unwrapping, organizing, and inspecting of the goods for quality. Depending on the size and weight of the merchandise, this process may involve the use of lifting equipment, such as forklifts and hand pallet trucks.

Related: What Does a Clerk Do at Work? (With Job List and Salary)

What does a stock clerk do?

The duties of a stock clerk include the following:

  • Receiving deliveries: Stock clerks are usually in charge of receiving goods from suppliers on arrival. They ensure that the goods supplied correspond with those the company ordered.

  • Performing quality checks: While taking delivery, stock clerks also check the goods to ensure they meet up with the company's quality standards. They accept those that pass the quality check and reject those that don't for replacement.

  • Maintaining inventory: Stock clerks keep a comprehensive list of goods that are within the company at all times. They also compile and present changes in inventory to supervisors and managers for appropriate action.

  • Tagging goods: Stock clerks are responsible for appropriate tagging of goods received. This tagging can be for pricing, storage, or transfer.

  • Maintaining internal flow: Stock clerks oversee the sorting and movement of goods within a company. This movement can be from the warehouse to the shelves or to other departments, depending on the company's business.

How to become a stock clerk

You can take the following steps if you want to work as a stock clerk:

1. Get relevant education

The minimum educational requirement for a stock clerk role is typically a high school diploma or a GED. While postsecondary education isn't often a requirement, earning a college diploma in business or a logistics-related field can position you to attract the best opportunities in the field and provide you with more advancement opportunities. While in school, you can focus on physical education and computer courses, as they're directly related to optimal performance as a stock clerk.

2. Undergo training in stocking

Upon starting a new position, stock clerks typically receive a few weeks of on-the-job training. This training typically instructs them on store policies, inventory, company roles and responsibilities, and how to operate the company's software. If a stock clerk advances from a bagging or cashiering position, they may require a shorter training period.

3. Obtain certifications

While you can secure a stock clerk role without prior certification, earning certifications in certain aspects of the job may make you a strong candidate for new roles and advancement. For instance, a certificate in warehouse or inventory management can help you prove your suitability for more advanced roles. Earning a forklift licence can also make you a more competitive candidate.

Related: What Does a Warehouse Worker Do? (With Skills and How-to)

Skills for stock clerks

The following are the important skills for stock clerks:

Computer literacy

Most companies use application software to manage their inventory. Depending on your employer, you may use various software packages in your role. The ability to use a computer comfortably can help you meet your responsibilities quickly and accurately. Touch-typing skills can be useful for speedy data entry, and proficiency in specialized inventory software such as enterprise resource planning software is an advantage.

Read more: Computer Literacy in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

Basic calculation skills

Inventory management requires basic calculation skills to monitor the inflow and outflow of items or goods. The ability to make quick additions, subtractions, multiplications and calculate percentages is crucial to accomplishing your tasks as a stock clerk. Your ability to make these quick calculations can help you save time when performing your duties.

Good memory

A retentive memory is essential for stock clerks who want to succeed in their roles, especially in smaller companies. Your ability to recall information quickly can help you locate and retrieve items upon request. Your supervisors and managers may also depend on you for information on current inventory on short notice. The ability to commit your employer's product policies to memory can also help you become more effective at your job.

Read more: What Is a Memory Type? (With List of Types and Tips)

Communication skills

Store clerks require strong written and verbal communication skills to excel in their roles. They often interface with management, vendors and colleagues, and the ability to convey their thoughts and ideas in a clear, easy-to-understand manner is essential. These professionals often prepare reports that they submit to their supervisors and managers. They may also communicate important information about delivered goods to vendors.

Read more: 15 Communication Skills for Professionals to Develop

Attention to detail

The ability to pay attention to detail is a crucial requirement for stock clerks. Attention to detail is the efficient dedication of cognitive resources that ensures thoroughness and accuracy in the completion of tasks. This skill can help stock clerks to notice discrepancies between shipment and inventory. It can also help them notice damages in delivered goods and return them to the vendor. This skill can help to minimize errors and increase productivity.

Read more: How to Be More Detail-Oriented (With Tips)

Physical fitness and stamina

Stock clerks usually spend most of their time at work on their feet, moving inventory from one point to another. They require strength to lift and move heavy objects, while they need stamina to perform their duties for extended periods. You can build your stamina by exercising consistently and meditating regularly.

Related: 14 Logistics Companies in Canada That Are Hiring Now

Stock clerk work environment

Stock clerks can work in various settings across different industries. These may include grocery stores, electronic stores, department stores, warehouses, factories, and any other company with a production department. Depending on the size of the employing company, a stock clerk may report directly to the chief executive/store owner or a supervisory manager. They may also operate a forklift to move goods in large quantities easily.

A stock clerk's schedule typically depends on the operating procedure of the employer. Some may offer a typical five-day work week, while others offer shifts with regular days off during the week.

Tips for excelling as a stock clerk

The following tips can help you excel in your role as a stock clerk:

Take inventory-related classes

Taking classes related to storekeeping, warehousing, and inventory management right from high school can equip you with the foundational knowledge that can help you perform well in this role. Many business classes, such as those on commerce and economics, have modules that cover these areas. If you're already out of high school, you can take these courses independently to acquire this basic knowledge and earn a certificate.

Pay special attention during onboarding

Even if you've had relevant training before assuming the role of a stock clerk, the training you receive during your onboarding process can be more beneficial to your success in the role. While your previous training exposes you to general best practices, the in-house training equips you with specific knowledge for operating in the organization. Paying attention ensures you're aware of all relevant and vital information.

Seek advancement opportunities

Consider actively seeking advancement opportunities while working as a stock clerk, especially if you already have a degree. You can start by considering supervisory roles within your workplace. Your supervisors and managers most likely know of such openings. Consider opportunities in other companies, industries, or locations if none is available in your current job.

Pursue further education

If you began your stock clerk career without a degree, you can consider getting one later. Earning a bachelor's degree in an area relevant to the field, including business administration, warehouse and inventory management, and logistics and supply chain management, can be beneficial if you want to continue on the career path. Such a degree can equip you with additional skills and experience that may qualify you for advanced positions. As a stock clerk, you can aspire to a supervisory or managerial role. A supply chain management and sales position can also be upgraded to the stock clerk role.

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