Walmart has announced its plans for doubling the amount of money spent attracting and retaining truck drivers in the face of the apparent “truck driver shortage.”
Walmart’s fleet of 6,500 trucks is one of the biggest in the country, but Walmart officials are saying they are having trouble getting and keeping truck drivers in seats.
“To be candid, right now I could hire a few hundred drivers,” said Tracy Rosser, Walmart’s senior vice president of transportation.
“It is getting tougher and tougher to find qualified drivers. It’s a really serious situation right now.”
Walmart only hires drivers with at least 30 months experience driving over the last three years but offers new hires around $86,000 a year and up to 21 paid vacation days, which has allowed them to keep their driver turnover low. Now though, in the face of a higher driver turnover due to the “truck driver shortage,” Walmart has begun offering referral bonuses of up to $1,500 and is even shortening the driver hiring process by more then a month, reported Bloomberg.
This week, Walmart is also launching a National TV ad focused solely on their team of 7,500 truckers, coinciding with National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Walmart hopes the new TV ad will change the public’s perception of long-haul trucking, inspiring people to apply for the truck driving positions Walmart needs filled.
The ad will feature Chris Stapleton’s recent hit “Traveller,” as well as “drivers who are noticeably not 50-something white men.”
“Trucking is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle — but it does not work for everyone,” said 15-year veteran of Walmart’s fleet Gary Mars.
“Quite honestly, nobody wants to drive a truck anymore. But we have to have ’em. Without trucks, America stops.”