Walmart is raising salaries for its truck drivers, moving starting salaries to as high as $110,000, on top of offering additional training opportunities, as the retailer fights back against the industrywide driver shortage. Pay can go even higher for drivers with seniority, including Walmart’s existing 12,000 drivers.
Walmart already has training infrastructure in place through programs such as Live Better U and Walmart Supply Chain Academy — so the next step is simply adding more teachers. This has resulted in the launch of the Walmart Private Fleet Development Program, which currently gives supply chain associates in the Dallas and Dover, Del. Areas the ability to earn their commercial driver’s licenses.
“Our transportation team will continue to grow with our business, and we’ll continue to invest in them along the way,” said Fernando Cortes, SVP, Transportation and Karisa Sprague, SVP, Supply Chain People at Walmart in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be part of one of the world’s largest private fleets and we plan to keep hiring the best drivers in the industry to join our team.”
Making driving positions more attractive is an important part of maintaining the supply chain, particularly for a national retailer like Walmart. More than 68% of all freight in the U.S. is moved over highways, according to Redwood Logistics. This can become a serious bottleneck during a labor crunch, and the transportation industry was short 80,000 drivers in 2021, according to the American Trucking Association.
The shortage has been partially driven by COVID-19, which reduced the number of training and apprenticeship programs available for new drivers, according to CBS News. With approximately 300,000 truck drivers leaving the industry each year, according to data from the Department of Transportation, bringing in fresh workers annually is a vital part of keeping the supply chain healthy. Walmart’s new commitment could be a crucial step in ensuring its shelves stay full.