Will higher pay and training put more drivers behind the wheel for Walmart?
There’s a trucker shortage out there and Walmart is looking to avoid being part of it. The retailer announced that it is increasing pay for its fleet drivers and has launched a new program that will enable people working in its supply chain operations to become drivers themselves.
The retailer, which has about 12,000 truckers as part of its fleet, said that its drivers can now earn up to $110,000 in their first year with the company. Drivers who stay with the company can earn more based on their time on the job and where they are located.
Walmart has gained high marks for its Live Better U educational program that covers the cost of college tuition and books for associates enrolled in the program. It also covers upskill training at the chain’s Walmart Academies across the country. The retailer is doing something similar with its truckers, as well. Supply chain associates working in Dallas and Dover, DE, enrolled in the Walmart Private Fleet Development Program and went through a 12-week program to earn their commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).
Fernando Cortes, senior vice president, transportation and Karisa Sprague, senior vice president, supply chain people, writing in a company blog post detailed how Walmart was able to create the program in-house. The two said the existing training infrastructure provided the necessary foundation, but that its student drivers needed teachers.
“Fortunately, we have some of the best in the business already employed: the established drivers of our Private Fleet,” the two wrote. “Now with another title as Certified Driver Trainers, they turned their attention to training a new generation of associates in our values of safety, courtesy and pride. After completing specialized training in the Walmart Academies, they began working with trainees — teaching written material and, of course, overseeing the actual driving.”
Walmart, like other retailers, is operating in a market short on drivers. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the U.S. needs 80,000 more drivers than it presently has to handle its current level of deliveries. That number, according to the ATA, will likely double as the hardships of the job and demographics work against efforts to fill open slots. The vast majority of drivers are older and male. Sixty percent of new over-the-road drivers are 40 or older. Only seven percent of all drivers are female.
- Drive-In Opportunity: Walmart Raises Driver Pay and Launches Private Fleet Development Program – Walmart
- Can retail make its trucker numbers add up? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will higher pay coupled with Walmart’s Private Fleet Development Program give the retailer an edge over retail rivals in addressing trucker shortages? Do you expect other large retailers to mimic Walmart?