To make sure its supply chain keeps up with the rest of its business, Walmart is raising wages for its in-house truck drivers. In an announcement, Walmart announced that it's raising its starting salaries for truck drivers to a range between $95,000 and $110,000 a year – up from the current first-year average salary of $87,000.
Truckers are in high demand, and the industry as a whole is facing a very tight labor market. To ensure that segment stays healthy for the long haul, Walmart is expanding a program to train workers to become drivers.
For employees who decide to take advantage of that program, all that's required is a 12-week course commitment to become fully certified. After that, those drivers will also have the potential to make up to $110,000 in their first year with the company. And that’s just to start. Walmart said drivers who have been with the company longer can earn even more, depending on factors like tenure and location.
Walmart has been doing a lot of hiring recently, but compared to its other job roles, it says its trucking gigs are “destination jobs.”
“The investments in pay and training build on multiple recent driver bonuses and improved schedules that enable drivers to spend more time at home,” the company claims. “There’s never been a better time to join our fleet. Once drivers are on board, this is a job many leave only for retirement.”
Other companies also likely to raise pay
The carrots that Walmart is dangling are certainly enticing. Compared to the $48,978 average salary a long-haul trucker makes per year, Walmart’s offer is nearly twice as high. However, the company might not be the only one trying to romance drivers to join its ranks.
“To attract and retain drivers, fleets must increase pay, which is now happening at extraordinary levels,” said the American Trucking Association (ATA). “We’re witnessing unprecedented pay increases across the industry, with weekly driver earnings surging at a rate more than 5x their historical average—up more than 25% for long-haul, truckload drivers since the beginning of 2019.”
The ATA said trucking fleets are also offering substantial, five-figure sign-on bonuses and full benefits to compete for the same limited pool of drivers.