Walmart announced this week that truck drivers will soon start earning up to a $110,000 salary in their first year with the company with additional benefits and salaries offered to drivers who have been with the department store for longer periods of time.
The superstore conglomerate announced the decision this week in a press release, noting that it is investing heavily in its supply chains with the announced raises, as well as a new training program for employees to earn their commercial driver’s license.
“Our approximately 12,000 drivers are deeply dedicated to safety and professionalism, and today, we’re proud to announce pay raises to ensure Walmart remains one of the best companies in the world to drive for,” the company said in a statement.
The company also announced a new initiative that will train drivers, known as the “Walmart Private Fleet Development Program.”
“Now, we have launched the first-ever Walmart Private Fleet Development Program,” Walmart said in its press release. “Over the course of a 12-week program, supply chain associates in the Dallas, Texas, and Dover, Delaware, areas earned their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and became full-fledged Private Fleet Walmart drivers.”
According to CNBC, the announcement comes as the trucking industry grapples with a massive worker shortage that could impact all aspects of the economy:
Walmart, the country’s largest private employer with 1.6 million workers, is ramping up recruiting efforts for truck drivers as the growth of e-commerce changes its business and complicates its supply chain. It is also a tight market for trucking labor.
The shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. hit an all-time high of more than 80,000 workers last year, according to the American Trucking Associations trade group. The lack of workers has stemmed from several factors, according to the trade group, including the grueling hours of long-haul trips, the older average age of current drivers and the small number of women in the industry. The Covid pandemic exacerbated the shortage, it said, as some truck drivers left the industry and fewer people went through training programs.
While the trucking shortage is just one area that has disrupted the economy, earlier this week, The Daily Wire reported that food supply chain disturbances caused by the war in Ukraine will also harm consumers around the globe, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen:
For one, global food security is threatened by disruptions in both Ukraine and Russia — which together control nearly one third of the planet’s wheat exports. “Russia’s invasion disrupted the flow of food for millions of people around the world and caused prices to spike,” Yellen said, explaining that financial institutions are “doing essential work to address both the short-term and long-term effects on global food prices and supplies” while “fast-disbursing budget support, financing to support domestic food production, and social safety nets.”
A spokeswoman for Walmart told CNBC that the company expects to train between 400 and 800 new drivers this year alone.