Walmart raises pay for American truck drivers to $110,000 and begins retraining program


Walmart said it is raising the starting wages of its 12,000 long-haul U.S. truckers who deliver goods to its stores and Sam’s Club locations amid a U.S. driver shortage that threatens to prolong supply chain problems. and the scarcity of goods.

Qualified drivers, who tend to be in their 40s and 50s, according to government and industry officials, remain in short supply. Federal limits on daily work hours, the COVID-19 pandemic and other obstacles have led many truckers to quit.

Walmart Inc is also following rival Inc in incentivizing employees in other roles to retrain for the in-demand transportation jobs needed to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks and support its operations in line.

Walmart drivers were already among the highest paid in the country. Now the world’s biggest retailer is upping the ante by resetting truckers’ starting salaries to $95,000 to $110,000 a year, from $87,500 previously.

That far exceeds the 2020 median salary of $47,130 for American large truck drivers, whose “real” earnings have lagged behind inflation and effectively remain at about 70% of what they were in the 1990s. 1970, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 1.9 million large truck drivers ply the nation’s highways, according to the bureau.

Walmart’s move could strengthen its competitive advantage at a time when safe, experienced 18-wheeler drivers are in short supply and Amazon is building its own network of trucking contractors.

“We are proud to announce salary increases to ensure that Walmart remains one of the best companies in the world to drive forward,” Karisa Sprague, Walmart’s senior vice president of supply chain human resources, said in a statement.

Consumer demand for everything from food to furniture has skyrocketed during the pandemic. That overwhelmed resources, from truck availability and seaport capacity to warehousing and distribution space, hampering the flow of goods and driving up costs.

At Walmart alone, supply chain costs were $400 million higher than expected in the fourth quarter that ended Jan. 28 and included the important holiday shopping season, the company said.

Recent data suggests that pandemic demand may be cooling off.

Commerce Department data released last week suggested the pandemic-driven purchases of physical goods may have peaked as consumers resume spending on travel and entertainment.

Walmart continues to aggressively invest in and is following Amazon in creating a path for employees to shift to transportation jobs to support e-commerce logistics.

Walmart’s 12-week in-house trucking training program allows employees to earn their CDL and become full-fledged Walmart private fleet drivers. Walmart bears the cost of approximately $4,000 to $5,000 for that training.

The company, which pays signing bonuses that can exceed $10,000, hired a record 4,500 truckers last year, bringing its trucking workforce to around 12,000. It has already graduated 17 new drivers from classes in Texas and Delaware, and plans to expand the program this year with a goal of training 400 to 800 drivers to move merchandise to its more than 5,300 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the US.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Arriana McLymore in New York; edited by jonathan oatis

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