For many people, cracking that six-figure salary range is a goal that’s challenging to realize. Many jobs require specific experience or a skill set to qualify people for a pay jump. Workers who relate to this struggle might find the answer in a rather surprising place — Walmart.
Walmart recently announced they will be training new truck drivers and then granting salaries ranging from $95,000 to $110,000. This wage is up from the average $87,500 starting salary Walmart previously paid their truck drivers. Here are the fine details.
There’s a catch
This opportunity is for workers already employed by Walmart. While yes, there’s a 12-week training program taught by their seasoned truck drivers and $95,000 to $110,000 is the starting pay for new drivers, the opportunity is for their employees currently in other roles.
Considering that the big box retailer is one of the largest employers in the U.S., and that sometimes the best jobs are often in your own company, this is still a huge opportunity for Walmart’s many employees.
It’s an opportunity to learn and earn
Figuring out how to make money without first spending a ton of it on business expenses and certification can be difficult. This is why becoming a licensed commercial truck driver through a free 12-week training program is still an incredible opportunity. Walmart is covering the $4,000 to $5,000 licensing fee for new drivers.
Considering that the average starting salary for truck drivers in the U.S. is nearly half what Walmart is now offering their new drivers, this is a remarkable offering.
How Walmart is raising pay for many
Low stress, high paying jobs can be hard to come by, which is one reason why Walmart has been raising the wages for nearly all of the company’s workers. Last September they raised their minimum wage to $12 an hour, which is a dollar an hour or more increase for their nearly 565,000 Walmart store workers. This increase brings the average hourly Walmart employee’s pay to $16.40. While Walmart can’t promise their workers no stress, they’re doing their more to offer them higher pay.
This could help with distribution problems
Walmart is paying for drivers’ training and increasing their truck drivers’ starting pay in large part to address a driver shortage. Walmart is far from the only company dealing with the driver shortage and the distribution problems that have accompanied it. Supply chain issues have plagued the world since the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic began manifesting themselves.
Since the trucking industry was not immune to the Great Resignation — a record number of people leaving their jobs — raising the average starting salary for truck drivers might be the answer to getting workers excited about driving trucks again.
High gas prices play a role
High gas prices put Walmart in a double bind because while their shipping costs have increased, so has the demand for delivery. To avoid wasting the gas they’ll burn driving to the store, many consumers turn to online shopping, which translates to retailers like Walmart needing more drivers.
Online shopping was already increasing due to the pandemic and people preferring to stay home instead of in stores. This pressure works out well for the Walmart employees who can make this their moment to launch their careers as truck drivers.
The cost of living is going up
These wage increases and career opportunities couldn’t come at a better time for Walmart employees. The cost of living has climbed significantly in the last year, leaving many workers feeling concerned and insecure.
While some of these rising costs can be traced back to the pandemic, much of the inflation and the consequential cost of living increases were caused by supply chain issues. Resolving these issues by getting more truck drivers and warehouse workers may hopefully help stabilize the economy.
How other starting salaries stack up
Because of inflation, some may dismiss a salary like $110,000 a year as not nearly enough for a family. But compare Walmart’s new starting salary for truck drivers to your average accountant, who will make roughly $56,703 starting out. Or consider that the average physical therapist starts out making something close to $88,858. With these numbers, Walmart’s starting pay is commendable, especially when you compare it to the national average for other truck drivers who start around $71,985.
Truck drivers are vital
If the supply chain issues have shown us anything, it is the vital role truck drivers play in our day-to-day lives. From clothing to groceries, appliances to building supplies, the trucking industry helps get these products to us — they keep things running. While many crucial jobs are being taken over by robots, we haven’t successfully substituted truck drivers with AI yet, and that’s probably a good thing.
Over eight million people work in the trucking industry in the United States and we still need more. Walmart is offering a career path into this field for their employees and a lucrative one at that. If you’re a Walmart employee in another department, you might ask yourself if trucking could be a good fit for your lifestyle and skills. After all, we will likely always need people to brave long nights and endless roads to keep our economy and our lives running smoothly.
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