The retailer needs “hundreds more” this year. Source: Talk Business

Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the US, wants to add more drivers to its payroll. The retailer is looking for drivers to operate its growing fleet of trucks and the move comes amidst a growing shortage in the country. Just last year, Walmart hired about 1,400 drivers but it seems this is not enough. A statement released by the retailer notes that it needs “hundreds more” this year to fill the demand.

However, not just anyone can apply. In order to qualify for this position, you will need to have at least 30 months of experience driving trucks over the last three years. Drivers must also have a clean safety record. The company also said that it has launched orientation initiatives as well as mentorship programs in order to speed up the hiring process for “crucial new jobs.”

The need for new employees seems to be driven by growing sales at the retailer. In 2018, Walmart confirmed that same-store sales were up 3% and this trend is not expected to change this year. But as the shortage for drivers becomes a much bigger concern, companies are trying their best to lure in qualified drivers and Walmart is doing the same.

The company also offered to increase pay. Source: Business Insider

The company is actually offering to increase pay. As of February, all Walmart drivers will start to earn an extra cent per mile on top of the additional payments they get for every arrival. This will translate on average to about 89 cents per mile or roughly $87,500 per year. The company’s ability to offer employees competitive pay and much better benefits compared to some of its competitors could help sway more drivers towards it. But this might become quite problematic seeing that there’s already a shortage for qualified drivers in the country at the moment.

A report that was released in 2016 by the American Trucking Association showed that the industry was in fact short 36,500 drivers. The expectations at the time were that the short would hit 63,000 by 2018. It seems this is already the case but even then, things don’t get easier. The report says that by 2026, there will be a shortage of about 174,000 drivers. Just to keep up with the demand, the trucking industry will actually need to hire a total of 900,000 new drivers before we get to 2026. This translates to roughly 90,000 drivers a year counting from 2016 when the report was first published.

The shortage has led to increased trucking expenses. Source: Fortune

A lot of retailers feel that attracting more drivers to their fleets could help reduce trucking costs. The shortage at the moment has led to increased trucking expenses and this has led to an equal increase in product and shipping prices for people who order things online. The retailers have had to shoulder much of this burden so far but there are increasing efforts to address this issue including getting more drivers. It’s not clear if Walmart will be able to fill up the positions as fast as it wants to but looking at the pay and benefits, it should be a good opportunity for anyone interested.