Walmart wants truck drivers really bad, and they’re willing to pay big money. The retail giant will boost the starting pay of its long-haul drivers from $87,500 to a range of $95,000 to $110,000. The company hopes to retain its pool of drivers as well as attract new ones.
US Suffering From Shortage of Truck Drivers
At present, the United States is suffering from a shortage of truck drivers nationwide. The COVID pandemic forced many long-haul drivers to stay home while businesses shut down.
Given the relief from the extreme pressure of driving long hours over long distances, many drivers called it quits.
Many decided to retire, while others took on other jobs to stay closer to home. This led to a massive shortage of drivers qualified to transport goods between states.
As a result, the people qualified to drive long-haul trucks are now in short supply. The drivers tend to be in the mid-40s and 50s age range, with decades of experience under their belts.
In many cases, truck drivers stay on the road for weeks. Then, they go home for a short rest period, then travel again. Consequently, not many workers relished the idea of driving long distances alone and traveling long distances.
Walmart Boosts Driver Salaries
Walmart announced that it’s boosting the starting pay for its 12,000 long-haul truck drivers. These drivers deliver merchandise between its distribution centers to its stores and Sam’s Club locations.
The retail chain also followed its rival Amazon’s decision to encourage employees to retrain for transportation jobs such as driving trucks.
In 2020, the average truck driver earns $47,130. This median pay is already way behind inflation. Currently, this amount is 70% of its value back in the 1970s.
With its offer of up to $110,000, Walmart more than doubles the average truck driver's pay.
Actually, Walmart’s truck drivers are already among the highest-paid drivers in the industry at an average of $87,500. Walmart hopes that this pay boost removes any consideration to retire or take up other job offers.
The pay raise also places Walmart at a competitive level with another supply chain titan. Distributor Sysco is also offering drivers up to $100,000 in annual compensation.
1.9 Million Truck Drivers Not Enough
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 1.9 million big rig drivers service the entire United States.
Meanwhile, the American Trucking Association said last October that the country is suffering from a lack of 80,000 drivers in the US.
This prompted drivers to call. Many trucking companies and clients responded by offering sign-on bonuses.
Walmart’s pay boost can pay dividends in the short and long term. It could bolster their manpower requirements at a time when 18-wheel drivers are in very short supply.
It also provides a cushion against poaching from rivals. In fact, Amazon is currently making moves to expand its available drivers.
The online giant is currently building its own network of hauling contractors across the nation.
Watch the KTLA 5 news video reporting that Walmart is raising pay for its truck drivers:
What do you think of Walmart’s decision to boost truck drivers’ pay to $100,000? Will this attract many Americans to shift to truck driving? Also, can this boost the number of drivers and help resolve the supply chain crisis?
Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.