Walmart hired a company-record 4,500 truck driving associates in 2021
Walmart has announced that, in an attempt to alleviate a shortage of truck drivers, it will be raising pay for its long-haul truck drivers and launching its own training program.
The move is being made amidst a national shortage of truck drivers, with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) trade group disclosing the industry was short more than 80,000 workers as of last year — an all-time high.
Walmart announced in a blog post on Thursday that the new average pay for its long-haul truck drivers in their first year will range from $95,000 to $110,000, up from a current company-stated first-year average of $87,500.
In addition, Walmart has also started up training programs in Texas and Delaware for people who want to earn a commercial driver’s license and begin working for the company.
Walmart says its program will cover the cost of earning a commercial license, saving prospective drivers an average of between $4,000 and $5,000.
The program will at first only be available to Walmart employees who work in close proximity to the training locations, however the company will later expand the program to any of its current workers who want to apply, reports CNBC.
“In the last several years, we’ve cast a wide net, inviting associates from across the business to learn more, see more and do more,” Walmart said.
The ATA says the nation’s truck driver shortage is related to several factors, including current drivers aging out of the position, the long and grueling hours the job can have, and a lack of women in the field.
COVID-19 also exacerbated the issue, according to the ATA, which said the global health crisis caused a number of truck drivers to leave their positions and fewer prospective employees to sign up for training programs.
Walmart currently has around 12,000 truck drivers on its payroll, while the company hired a record-high 4,500 truck driving associates last year alone.