- Walmart raised pay for long-haul truck drivers, offering salaries of up to $110,000 in the first year, with the ability to earn more based on tenure and location, the company announced Thursday.
- The largest U.S. retailer also launched a three-month training program for supply chain associates in Delaware and Texas to earn commercial driver's licenses and become Walmart drivers, according to the post on the company website.
- "The average salary for a long haul driver is $56,491 a year," the company said, citing Glassdoor. "Walmart's starting wage can nearly double that."
The six-figure salaries and 12-week training program are Walmart's latest push to recruit for and retain its private fleet of about 12,000 drivers.
Previously, the average driver at Walmart made $87,500 in their first year, according to spokesperson Anne Hatfield. The company did not respond to questions about the average driver's salary beyond the first year, or whether overall driver pay would change with this news.
Seventeen drivers have graduated from the training programs in Sanger, Texas, and Dover, Delaware, Hatfield said. Walmart picks up the cost of earning a commercial driver's license, which can be $4,000 to $5,000, and pays drivers hourly while they train, she said.
Drivers who graduate from the program are not required to work for Walmart for any set amount of time or repay the costs if they quit, Hatfield said.
Walmart hopes to train between 400 and 800 new drivers through its new Fleet Development Program. It is currently open only to supply chain associates at or near the Sanger or Dover facilities. But Walmart plans to expand it this year to more supply chain workers and, eventually, to all company associates.
For those interested in driving a truck, it could provide a path to higher paying jobs.
The average hourly wage in Walmart's supply chain was more than $20 an hour, compared to about $16.40 an hour for store workers and "a little bit higher than that" at Sam's Club, CFO Brett Biggs said during the 2022 UBS Global Consumer & Retail Conference last month.
The company hired 4,500 truck drivers in 2021, more than at any point in the company's history, Hatfield said. She did not respond to a request for driver hiring or overall employment statistics for previous years.
"We will continue to hire based on need to support growth of the business," Hatfield said.
Fierce competition for drivers and high inflation are pushing employers to raise wages and provide other incentives. Across the trucking industry, employers are attempting to fill roughly 80,000 driver jobs, according to the American Trucking Associations.
Yellow Corp., which employs more than 30,000 drivers, increased its total spending on salaries, wages and employee benefits by $151.6 million last quarter, "primarily due to contractual wage rate increases and to a lesser extent salary and overtime wage increases," according to an SEC filing.
Driver pay per mile at Werner's Truckload Transportation Services increased 22% in Q4 due to driver wage increases, incentive recruiting bonuses and minimum pay guarantees, CFO John Steele said in a February earnings call. The median employee salary, excluding the CEO, was $86,370 as of Dec. 31, according to an SEC filing last week.
Derek Leathers, Werner president and CEO, said on the call that the recruitment and retention efforts are paying off. "Despite the significant driver headwinds, our strategic investment in sourcing, pay and driver amenities enabled us to expand our driver base," Leathers said.