- Walmart used to screen out the majority of its trucking applicants with a “one and done” test, Yahoo Finance reported Friday.
- Now, about 80% of truckers get through Walmart’s revamped application process.
- The overhaul follows America’s truck driver shortage.
Becoming a Walmart trucker isn’t easy – but the rewards are serious. The average Walmart trucker earns $US86,000 in his or her first year, compared with the median nationwide earnings for a truck driver, $US44,500.
They also are eligible for three weeks of paid time off in their first year and quarterly bonuses for safe driving. Walmart truckers spend two days a week at home – a rarity in an industry where many say they have gone weeks without seeing their families.
It makes sense, then, that the application process is rigorous. As Julie La Roche reported in a Yahoo Finance article Friday, applicants once had to go through a “one and done” test after they applied and met the basic requirements.
That test comprised a pre-trip, backing exercise and a road test. A driver who failed any portion of the test would be booted from the process and would have to wait a year before applying again. As a result, Yahoo Finance reported that only about 5% to 10% of drivers made it through the trial portion – Harvard University has a similar acceptance rate.
Now, Walmart said truckers go through a trial process of a little more than three days. In the trial, Walmart observes the driver, teaches them new skills, and then sees how the potential employees improve.
Walmart told Business Insider that pass rates are now up to 80%.
Industry pressures have loosened Walmart’s ‘one and done’
Plenty of trucking companies have been flailing in their attempts to staff up. One executive said he’s started offering $US20,000 bonuses, but that still hasn’t attracted good candidates.
The reasons for the shortage are complex. The economy flourished this year, so there were simply more goods to tote around to meet increased consumer demand.
The low rate of unemployment meant other industries, particularly construction and energy, have attracted the sort of blue-collar workers who would normally go into truck driving, according to Mark Montague, senior industry pricing analyst at DAT Solutions. Those jobs have better pay without the challenges of trucking, and employees can be home every night.
Even Walmart, the crème de la crème of the trucking world, had issues finding truckers this year. In the fall, the company ran its first national-television ad campaign to recruit more drivers, shortened the length of its onboarding process, and began offering referral bonuses of up to $US1,500. All told,Bloomberg reported that Walmart doubled its spending to recruit drivers.
And it paid off. Yahoo Finance reported that Walmart hired around 1,400 new drivers this year, compared with 922 in 2017.
That’s largely thanks to dropping the punishing “one and done” test. Folks like Eric Ramsdell, a Walmart driver from Arizona who has been with the company for 14 years, spent more than three years trying to get the Walmart trucking gig.
He told Yahoo Finance that the new hiring process isn’t a training school, but potential Walmart truckers learn a lot during it.
“That same driver driving for 37 years told me he learned more in three days than he had in 37 years,” Ramsdell told Yahoo Finance. “I gave him a few pointers. It’s amazing how a different point-of-view and giving constructive feedback goes a long way.”
Are you a truck driver for Walmart? Have you hauled freight for Walmart while working for a third-party trucking firm? Contact the reporter at [email protected].
Read the full report on Yahoo Finance.
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