A major trucking company in the US has just enacted a huge pay rise for its drivers — indeed, the largest in the company’s decades-long history.
KLLM Transport Services is increasing wages for its road truckers and trainees coming out of its academy by up to 33%, while regional company drivers and independent contractors will see increases of 10% to 16% starting next month.
That’s a lot — far more than the current inflation numbers the US is facing — and KLLM CEO Jim Richards explained to us why: It comes down to attracting good talent and identifying your drivers for a job that’s incredibly taxing is.
“In the past it has always been difficult to find good, skilled drivers, and over the last year or so it has become increasingly difficult,” Richards told FOX Business.
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He said that with the new salary structure, KLLM-trained drivers have the opportunity to earn around $70,000 without the trainees incurring any costs for the training offered by the company. Before the increase, new drivers could expect to earn around $48,000.
Novice riders ready to really hit the road could now expect to find somewhere between $120,000 and $150,000 in their first year from launch.
After announcing the move, Richards says current KLLM drivers are “thrilled.” The CEO explained that the company has long wanted to pay its employees in line with other jobs that require long periods away from home, and recent economic conditions have presented that opportunity.
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Richards says that road haulage is “one of the toughest jobs in the country judging by the conditions you’re dealing with, along with being away from your family and away from home, so it’s a tough job.” He likened it to offshore oilfield workers who make a lot of money, but the trade-off is living away from home for a period of time.
KLLM was able to provide the raise, Richards says, because it was able to charge truckers more “at a level we’ve never seen before,” and the company wants that to its drivers pass on. The CEO says KLLM is now catching up after “we haven’t been able to pay drivers what they’re worth for a long time”.
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The trucking company has been in business for 55 years, transporting products for Fortune 500 companies like Mars, Kraft, General Foods, ConAgra and Hershey, as well as Richard’s pet company, Blue Bell Creameries.