Walmart sees number of trucker applicants jump 8 to 10 times since salary hike: Exec

·2 min read

Walmart (WMT) recently shifted its pay structure so that truck drivers can earn up to $110,000 in their first year.

The retailer has already seen a boost in applications, according to Fernando Cortes, senior vice president of transportation at Walmart.

"So far, and it's still in its early days, but we've seen anywhere, depending on the region and part of the country, but anywhere from an 8 to 10 [time] jump from what we were seeing in the applicant flow before the announcement," Cortes told Yahoo Finance.

"We're seeing it across the board. So we're really excited about that piece. It would tell you that we are seeing positive momentum in every single region that we operate."

According to the American Trucking Association, the industry is facing a shortage of more than 80,000 truckers —and could surpass 160,000 by 2030.

In a bid to keep its supply chain running smoothly, the company launched an internal training program to allow existing employees to become truckers. Called the Fleet Development Program, the 12-week training is led by seasoned drivers.

At the end of the classroom portion of the training, employees graduate with a commercial driver's license. In addition, Walmart is covering the cost of the commercial driver's license training, which is between $3,000 and $7,000, according to Walmart.

The retailer hopes "to get anywhere from 400 to 800 associate-to-driver opportunities" this year and plans to expand the program to locations nationwide.

"We're really excited about our future. It is not only the investments that we're doing in transportation ... but we continue to invest in technology," Cortes said.

"We continue to invest in capabilities in new strategic locations so we can continue to improve and not only save money so we can pass that on and people can live better lives. We're really excited about our journey. It's been a challenging two years, but we believe that our capability's strong and we will continue to be able to deliver the goods that the country needs," he added.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @daniromerotv

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