How can you tell there’s a desperate shortage of truck drivers? See how much Walmart is offering.
Those of us involved in any way in the trucking industry have long been aware of the immensely troubling shortage of qualified drivers. As current drivers age out of the industry, the situation becomes even worse. Last week, the issue once more took center stage when an article appearing in the Dallas News, as well as other publications, detailed Walmart’s latest plans to recruit drivers.
According to the Dallas News article, “Walmart is raising trucker salaries in its push to hire 900 more drivers this year across the US.” The company is offering an average annual salary of $87,500 plus twenty-one days of vacation in the first year! With a private fleet of 6,500 trucks, Walmart cannot afford to find itself too short on drivers.
However, research has shown that salary alone won’t attract over-the-road drivers who must often spend days away from home and family, not to mention the issues with HOS rules and other regulations. Walmart has obviously noted that research as well since, for this new recruiting effort, they are “promising more predictable scheduling to be conscious of work-life balance and is shortening the time from application and starting work,” according to the article.
The reality is that as businesses and consumers increase their purchasing online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores, the need for drivers to get product to distribution centers is only going to increase. This will also mean an increase in the need for “last mile” delivery drivers as well (I don’t see drones being a major delivery source any time soon). With an unemployment rate at or below 4 percent, drivers who are qualified and wishing to maintain the job will become ever more desirable. For good drivers, it is now an job-seeker market.
It will be interesting to see how successful Walmart will be in this new initiative and how other organizations without those deep pockets will try to compete. All I can say is “stay tuned.”