Walmart's Supply Chain Plan: Pay Its Truck Drivers $110K

Retailer also will train current employees for the job
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2022 6:15 PM CDT
Needing Truckers, Walmart Ups Starting Pay to $110K
Trucks line up to have containers loaded from a stack at the Norfolk International Terminal in December in Norfolk, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Long before the supply chain problems began, Walmart executives thought having their own fleet of trucks was the best way to keep inventory moving to stores. To that end, the retailer is raising salaries for its drivers and investing in a program to turn more of its other employers into truckers. Annual pay for the company's own drivers has averaged $87,000; starting pay now will run $95,000 to $110,000 a year, the Wall Street Journal reports. "You can pull up job postings and there are lots of sign-on bonuses and shiny objects out there, and we want to make sure our associates are taken care of," said executive Karisa Sprague.

Walmart has launched a 12-week training program in which 400 to 800 people will earn a commercial driver's license this year, covered by the company, and a driving job. A license otherwise can cost $4,000 to $5,000, per CNBC. Enrollment is open to people near the training locations in Sanger, Texas, and Dover, Delaware, but the company said it will be available to other employees in the future. Executives said Walmart hired 4,500 truck drivers, the most ever, last year. The company has about 12,000 truck drivers in all.

The American Trucking Associations said the truck driver shortage hit a high last year of 80,000 workers. The trade group attributed the worsening shortage to an aging current driver workforce, the low number of women in the field, and the pandemic, which drove more people out of the industry and attracted fewer to it. It can cost around $4,500 to become a truck driver independently, she said. "We know that the industry isn't necessarily building more drivers, but we want to be able to continue the growth of our private fleet," Sprague said. "We need to find multiple ways to do it." (More Walmart stories.)

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