A Walmart truck leaves the company’s distribution center in Washington, Utah
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Walmart said Thursday it is raising salaries for long-distance truck drivers and launching a new program to train the next generation as it seeks dependent workers to replenish store shelves and warehouses across the country.
The retailer says truck drivers will now earn up to $ 110,000 in their first year with Walmart, which the company says will increase their average salary. The company did not provide the current salary range for a new truck driver at Walmart, but said they made an average of $ 87,500 in their first year.
Walmart has also launched a 12-week program in Sanger, Texas and Dover, Delaware, where people can obtain a commercial driving license and join Walmart’s fleet. It will cover the cost of earning a license, which can range from 4,000 to $ 5,000, company spokesman Ann Hatfield said.
The program will initially be open only to supply chain partners who are close to two training locations, Hatfield said. In the future, he said, all Walmart employees will be able to apply for the program. He said the company expects to train 400 to 800 new drivers this year.
Walmart, the country’s largest private employer with 1.6 million employees, is increasing its efforts to hire truck drivers as the growth of e-commerce changes its business and complicates its supply chain. It is also a tough market for trucking workers.
According to the American Trucking Association trade group, the truck driver shortage in the United States reached an all-time high of more than 80,000 workers last year. According to the trade group, the shortage of workers has arisen due to various reasons, including difficult times of long journeys, the average age of current drivers and the small number of women in the industry. The epidemic has exacerbated the shortage, with some truck drivers leaving the industry and fewer people going through training programs.
Walmart posted on Thursday morning on its corporate website about salary bumps and training programs. It has about 12,000 truck drivers in its workforce. The company has hired 4,500 truck drivers, more than at any time in its history, a spokesman said.
During the epidemic, most of Walmart’s sales shifted online because people delivered groceries at home or recovered online orders through carbide pickups. US e-commerce sales rose 11% in the last full fiscal year, ending Jan. 31. They jumped 90% on a two-year basis.
For Walmart and other retailers, the growing online sales have spurred the business momentum and prompted a competition to deliver faster packages and stock items in stores.