Is HGV driving a good job in 2020?

Transport, driving, opportunities...

The UK is currently experiencing a national shortage of HGV drivers. Recent reports are estimating that there are over 100,000 vacancies in this sector. Contributory factors to this shortfall are false perceptions about the industry, some of which are without foundation. With this in mind, we explore the benefits of becoming an HGV driver in today’s ever-changing society.

What is a HGV driver?

HGV stands for heavy goods vehicle. Primarily transporting goods from suppliers to customers or clients, HGV drivers are qualified to operate trucks or lorries over 3.5 tonnes.

What types of HGV vehicle can I drive?

What's the difference between HGV Class 1 and 2? Well, the types of HGV vehicle you can drive is dependent upon which class of HGV driving licence you hold:

  • Class 1/ Cat C+E – allows you to drive a vehicle with a detachable trailer (more commonly known as articulated lorry) over 7.5 tonnes.
  • Class 2/Cat C – allows you to drive a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes that has a rigid base and fixed cab.
  • Cat C1 – allows you drive a vehicle between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes
  • Cat C1+E – allows you drive a vehicle as in category C1 with the additional allowance to tow a trailer behind the vehicle too
  • Cat D – allows you drive a bus/coach or vehicle designed to carry passengers

What qualifications do you need to become an HGV driver?

If you are 18 or over and hold a full car driving licence, you're already halfway there! A Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) is required, involving 4 modules including theory and practical tests. Once completed, you will need to do at least 35 hours of CPD training every 5 years to remain qualified and prove you are medically fit.

How secure is HGV driving as a career?

With the current shortfall of HGV drivers across the UK, coupled with the recent Coronavirus pandemic, arguably now has never been a better time to enter the profession. Indeed, with demand for drivers so high, job security has never been better. 

What are working conditions like for an HGV driver?

There are countless benefits of being an HGV driver, with one being that every day is different! Some days you might be stuck in a traffic jam, however, on other days, you could be driving through some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside.  Or if you do international freight you literally could travel the world! You are also not just responsible for driving your vehicle, you are responsible for basic maintenance and looking after your cargo too. Another key benefit is that you get to be your own boss. And if you like your own company, there arguably isn’t a better job!

HGV salary UK | How much do HGV drivers earn?

If you're wondering 'is it worth getting a HGV licence', an HGV driver can expect a starting salary of between £19-24k, rising to an average annual salary of approximately £32k. In London however, the average HGV driver salary rises to just under £36k. This compares favourably against the average UK salary of £30.5k. With more training and experience there is the potential to earn significantly more.

What are the common drawbacks to choosing HGV driving as a career?

One of the most common perceived drawbacks of being an HGV driver is the long hours. However, there are strict guidelines surrounding this. For your and other road user’s safety, you cannot drive for more than 90 hours over a two-week period. You also cannot drive for more than 9 hours a day (4.5 hours at any one stretch) and must have a minimum continuous break from driving of 11 hours in a 24-hour period.

It cannot be denied that the life of an HGV driver is a solitary one, with only yourself and your radio to talk to for long hours at a stretch. You also might find yourself eating alone too. However, there is a well-established HGV community that makes full use of CB radio. Also, whilst on the road, you are able to meet a range of people you might not otherwise have met. This arguably gives you a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate the diversity of the world in which we live.

If you’ve recently qualified as an HGV driver and you’re looking for your first opportunity, check out the current vacancies on the PPR website.  Alternatively, if you’re an experienced HGV driver looking for your next role or you’re part of a haulage company looking for new drivers, call PPR today on 01895 80 81 88, or contact us online.