Walmart offers pay hike hoping to entice hundreds of new truck drivers

Just how big is the truck driver shortage?  Consider what Walmart’s doing.

It’s giving a penny a mile increase and a 50-cent increase in activity pay for arrivals and drops to its drivers. As a result of the activity pay offer, those drivers will earn a dollar every time they arrive at a destination and drop a trailer.

The offer starts in February as Walmart, based in Arkansas anticipates its fleet of drivers to grow by another 900 this year. And the increase will give first-year drivers an average wage of $87,500 annually with an all-in rate of nearly 89 cents a mile, according to an announcement by Walmart.

“Truck drivers are a critical part of our team here at Walmart and have been since Sam Walton started the private truck fleet in the 1970s,” said Greg Smith, executive vice president of Walmart U.S. Supply Chain in a statement.

“Our professional drivers are part of what makes Walmart so special. This wage increase reflects the importance of our private fleet and our commitment to recruiting and retaining the best drivers in the industry.”

Walmart has 8,000 drivers and they travel more than 700 million miles as they deliver goods to the 4,700 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores around the U.S.  

To be eligible to drive for the retail giant, a commercial driver must have at least 30 months of full-time experience with no serious traffic violations in the past three years.

“The modern trucking industry operates in every aspect of economic life, delivering everything from textbooks and medical supplies to retail goods and construction materials, and truck drivers are an essential component of ensuring the trucking industry remains healthy in our state,” said Jim Newport, CEO of the Oklahoma Trucking Association.

“Walmart’s drivers set a high industry benchmark for professionalism and performance, and we applaud Walmart’s commitment to retaining and recruiting highly talented individuals for its private fleet.”

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