With trucking shortages rocking industries around the country, Walmart is taking matters into its own hands and ensuring that its fleet of trucks—one of the largest in the nation with about 6,500 trucks—remains on the road. According to Bloomberg, Walmart announced plans to double its spending on attracting and retaining more drivers by the end of the year.
“To be candid, right now, I could hire a few hundred drivers,” Senior Vice President of Transportation Tracy Rosser shared. “It is getting tougher and tougher to find qualified drivers. It’s a really serious situation right now.”
To solve the shortage, Walmart is currently looking into referral bonuses offering drivers up to $1,500 for those they help bring on board, shortening the on-boarding process for new hires by over a month, and is even launching its first national TV ad focused on its 7,500 truckers, which Rosser noted in a blog post will sweeten the deal for prospective trucking hires with a proposed expedited hiring process.
“New drivers earn on average $86,000 annually, have access to benefits on day one, receive as many as 21 days of paid time off in their first year, enjoy predictable home time, don’t load or unload freight, and can earn quarterly safety bonuses and incentives—we are adding new ways to find and recruit the best talent,” Rosser said. “We’re also streamlining the hiring process to get drivers onboarded much quicker. Under the pilot, the process will speed up by as much as a month. The new program is already in place in Bentonville, Arkansas, and will expand to Indianapolis this month.”
Transportation has been a focus for Walmart since its beginnings. Founder Sam Walton began his own truck fleet in the ‘70s, and two of Walmart’s past CEOs—Lee Scott and Mike Duke—worked their way up the corporate ladder through the transportation department. Proving this notion even more, current CEO Doug McMillon spent his first day in his role doing a ride-along in a Walmart truck.
“Trucking is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle—but it does not work for everyone,” 15-year Walmart fleet veteran Fleet Veteran Gary Mars said. “Quite honestly, nobody wants to drive a truck anymore. But we have to have ‘em. Without trucks, America stops.”
Walmart’s latest efforts are also parallel to National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which began yesterday, that seeks to fill vacancies and improve the long-haul driving image as a career during the currently tight labor market.
Will Walmart’s investment be an effective solution in solving the trucking shortage? Deli Market News will continue to report as it affects our industry.