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IPFS News Link • Employee and Employer Relations

Why Walmart pays its truck drivers 6 figures

• https://www.freightwaves.com, Rachel Premack

One Walmart truck driver says he has 15 years left of working, and he intends to spend them hauling loads for Walmart. "Barring a lottery win or marrying a sugar mama, I don't see myself going anywhere," said the Texas-based driver, who asked not to have his name included as he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

Such loyalty to a single company is unusual in trucking, an industry notorious for massive turnover. And the Texas trucker isn't alone in his dedication to Walmart. One of the best jobs you can get in trucking is at Walmart. The uber-retailer says truck drivers can make up to $110,000 in their first year at the company. That's twice the nationwide median pay of a truck driver, and certainly above the $17.50 an hour that the average Walmart associate earns. Home time, paid vacation and good health insurance are also guaranteed for Walmart company drivers. These offerings are elusive in the trucking world.

It's not out of the goodness of Walmart's corporate heart that it pays truck drivers a truckload. Rather, truckers are key to Walmart's retail dominance — and they have been from the start. Without a highly engaged trucking workforce, it's not likely that the company would have flourished in the way it has. The Fortune 1 company prioritized supply chain long before it became a buzzword.

"At Walmart, we believe in offering our drivers a competitive compensation package to attract the best drivers in the industry," a Walmart spokesperson told FreightWaves in an emailed statement.  

Walmart employs some 14,000 drivers, which makes it comparable to some of the largest for-hire fleets in the U.S. It's added 5,800 drivers to the company in the past five years alone. 

Recently, Walmart has shifted some of its strategies around recruiting those new drivers. In 2018, Walmart changed its truck driving recruitment program to allow more drivers to pass its program. A senior vice president at Walmart told Yahoo! Finance at the time it was because of a "shortage" of truck drivers. (Those who study the trucking industry dispute that such a shortage exists, concluding that drivers leave the industry for jobs with better pay and hours.)

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