Walmart Offsets Trucker Shortage By Offering New Drivers $110,000 Per Year

Retail giant Walmart Inc. (WMT) said on Thursday that it would be increasing the salary of long-haul truck drivers and also launching a new program, which will train the next generation of truck drivers. These steps have been announced by the company to make up for the shortage in driving staff, which it needs to replenish store shelves and warehouses across the country.

The retailer said that truck drivers will now be paid between $95,000 and $110,000 in their first year with Walmart, which the company said will raise their average pay. As of now, the company has not disclosed the present salary range for a new truck driver, but said that they have made an average of $87,500 in their first year.

The company also announced the beginning of a 12-week program in Sanger, Texas, and in Dover, Delaware, where people can earn a commercial driver's license and join Walmart as truck drivers. "The program will cover the cost of earning a license, which can be anything between $4,000 and $5,000," said company spokeswoman Anne Hatfield.

The spokesperson said, "The program will initially be open to only supply chain associates who are near the two training locations. In the future, all Walmart employees will be able to apply for the program. The company hopes to train between 400 and 800 new drivers this year."

The retail giant is scrambling to recruit more drivers because the book in e-commerce has changed the nature of its business and disrupted its entire supply chain.
The US has been grappling with the issue of shortage of truck drivers and it was at an all-time high of more than 80,000 workers in 2021, as per the American Trucking Associations trade group. The lack of workers was a result of many factors like the grueling hours of long-haul trips, the older average age of current drivers and the lesser number of women in the industry. The Covid pandemic worsened the situation with some drivers leaving the profession and lesser numbers turning up for training programs.

During the pandemic, Walmart's main income was through online sales as people got groceries delivered to the home or retrieved online orders by curb-side pickup. US. e-commerce sales are up 11 percent in the fiscal year, ended January 31. They have risen 90% from the last two years.

For Walmart and other retailers, soaring online sales have rewritten their business rules and led to a competition to deliver packages as soon as possible and also keep items in the stores.

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