Faced with a nationwide shortage of truckers, Walmart announced Thursday that it is raising the salary truckers can earn in their first year to $110,000.
“The average salary for a long-haul driver is $56,491 a year,” Walmart said in an infographic posted with the announcement. “Walmart’s starting salary can almost double that.”
The American Trucking Associations said in October there was a shortage of 80,000 drivers in the United States, prompting carriers to demand higher wages. Some trucking companies have responded by offering signing bonuses.
Walmart’s rise puts it on par with another supply chain giant, food retailer Sysco, which now also advertises its drivers could earn up to $110,000 a year.
“Drivers are in high demand today – a fact exacerbated by COVID,” the ATA said in a March 25 statement. “To attract and retain drivers, fleets need to raise wages, which is happening at extraordinary levels right now.
“We are seeing unprecedented wage increases across the industry, with drivers’ weekly earnings growing at a rate more than 5 times their historical average – up more than 25% for truck drivers long-haul since the start of 2019,” the trucking association said. , adding that some fleets are offering five-figure bonuses and perks as they compete for a limited group of drivers.
Walmart also announced the launch of a truck driver development program. Already, the company said, the 12-week program has enabled existing Walmart supply chain workers in Texas and Delaware to earn commercial driver’s licenses and become full-fledged private Walmart truckers.