Walmart is paying up to $110,000 to attract and retain in-house truckers

Walmart Inc. is ramping up pay for its truckers as the retailer seeks to shore up staffing amid a nationwide need for drivers. 

In-house truck drivers will now be able to earn between $95,000 and $110,000 in their first year at the company, a Walmart spokeswoman said Thursday. At the high end, that’s 26% higher than the previous average for new drivers. Veterans of the Walmart Private Fleet can earn even more, the company said in a statement. 

Walmart is boosting efforts to attract and retain truckers as employers across the country struggle to keep 18-wheelers rolling. The U.S. has a shortage of 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations. Walmart, which employs about 12,000 truck drivers, had to hire 7,000 over the last two years, including a record 4,500 in 2021, the spokeswoman said. 

The pay bump pushes Walmart truck drivers further ahead of typical U.S. levels. Median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $47,130 in 2020, according to the Labor Department. 

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer also touted a training effort for employees who want to become drivers. So far, 17 employees in Delaware and Texas have earned commercial driver’s licenses over the course of the 12-week program, the spokeswoman said. 

The company is hoping to train 400 to 800 new drivers this year, she said. The in-house program saves prospective truckers the cost of commercial driver training, which can range between $4,000 to $5,000 for people doing it independently, she said. 

Walmart climbed less than 1% to $156.12 at 12:40 p.m. in New York. The stock gained 7.1% this year through Wednesday, compared with a 6% decline for the S&P 500.

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