BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart is upping the ante to attract hundreds of truck drivers, as the trucking industry faces industry-wide shortages, USA Today reports. The discount retailer brought on board more than 1,400 truck drivers last year, but still needs hundreds more to join its fleet.
To boost the number of applicants and to improve retention rates, Walmart is increasing its pay. Starting next month, drivers can earn a penny extra per mile as well as additional bonus for each delivery, which adds up to about 89 cents per mile driven or an average annual salary of $87,500. Currently, the median salary for a truck driver on a national route tops $53,000, according to a 2018 survey by the American Trucking Association.
Walmart says the hiring increases is because of more deliveries, which means more demand for truck drivers. Same-store sales reaching 3% in 2018 at Walmart locations. “We’re leaning heavily on the expertise of our Walmart road team and our certified driver trainers to grow our skilled fleet of professional drivers,” said Lori Furnell, Walmart’s director of driver talent acquisition.
The American Trucking Association estimates that, by 2026, the trucking industry might be 175,000 drivers short. The driver shortage is driving up shipping costs.