The UK trucking industry is constantly changing and people often have questions about it. This article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about trucking in the UK including “are HGV drivers in demand in the UK?” and “why do truck drivers quit?” If you are considering becoming a driver or starting your own business, this article will be helpful for understanding the many aspects of being involved with commercial vehicle transport.
Are HGV Drivers in Demand in the UK?
Yes! In the UK, there is a shortage of HGV drivers. The haulage industry has a shortage of over 80,000 qualified drivers to meet current demand and further predictions indicate up to 250,000 may be needed to cover future growth. There are several factors that have created such a high demand for truck drivers including Brexit and Covid-19.
Brexit has led to an increased demand for UK goods and services, There has been a need for more truck drivers in the UK, due to many foreign drivers who were driving trucks in the UK returning back to their own countries.
Covid-19 has also had an impact on driver demand, with many more goods being sold online the demand for lorries transporting goods has escalated dramatically.
Are Trucking Companies Shutting Down?
Trucking companies are not shutting down, however, there has been a significant reduction in the number of drivers due to Covid-19 and Brexit.
Trucking company closures usually occur when market conditions dictate that it is no longer profitable for them to operate.
In general trucking companies are in more demand than ever, but having said that, they are struggling to meet demand due to the shortage of drivers, and factors such as delays at our borders due to Covid-19 plus Brexit legislation interrupting the trucking company’s logistics.
During the pandemic, haulage was one of the business sectors allowed to remain operational supplying the country with vital supplies under difficult circumstances. This has allowed haulage companies to maintain or increase their supply chains across the UK.
Haulage companies that relied on continental distribution during this period, have had to restructure their business model, joining the UK’s distribution network until border controls allow them to deliver their goods across the channel into Europe.
Is the trucking industry failing?
The trucking industry is in a state of flux, but it’s not failing yet.
Traditional trucking companies are struggling to meet demand due to the shortage of drivers, but without encouraging new drivers to fill the gaps we could see a massive impact on haulage companies in the UK.
Although the majority of companies within the haulage industry have greatly improved working conditions, there is still a massive shortfall in driver’s wages which needs to be addressed to attract new truck drivers to the industry.
Because of the shortfall in truck drivers, a current driver driving long distances is more likely to be away from home longer, working maximum allowed hours per day to try and keep up with demand, this is also causing qualified experienced drivers to leave the industry due to family pressures at home.
Logistics have improved over the last few years with modern software, equipment, and network distribution centers, which allow haulage companies to distribute goods more effectively.
Nearly 90% of goods are transported by road in the UK, so the potential for growth in the industry is strong. If driver shortages can be rectified the trucking industry will be huge in the UK.
How much do truck drivers get paid in the UK?
A truck driver in the UK can earn between £22,000 and 37,500 a year on average.
This is excluding any bonuses or overtime pay, which may be available for some drivers.
The amount that an individual earns will depend on their level of experience and location within the country, class 2 drivers generally earn the lower end of the pay scale, a class 1 HGV driver can earn mid to top-end earnings depending on experience and licenses.
For example, new hires are often paid less than experienced veterans who work in busy metropolitan areas like London and Cardiff because they have to cover greater distances with fewer hours of driving per day due to traffic congestions.
Truckers also rely heavily upon what type of goods they transport as well, if they carry hazardous materials then it becomes much more (difficult and dangerous) this requires being fully certified and registered with even stricter requirements than regular haulage jobs, having this experience and qualification will increase the earning potential to upper levels of pay.
Why do truck drivers quit?
Drivers will often quit due to factors like low pay, long hours, and a lack of any type of work-life balance.
In the UK truck drivers are typically paid between £9.60-£16.80 per hour.
Many drivers over recent years have left the industry because of an influx of foreign drivers that resulted in wages being kept to a minimum, also the requirement to complete a yearly CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) has lost the haulage industry many drivers.
On top of all that drivers are having to work longer hours and spend more time away from home due to heavy demands on the industry, this has also lead to more drivers lost.
Is it worth being an HGV driver?
Driving an HGV is certainly not the job it used to be, due to the reasons mentioned above. Truck driving is a way of life that some drivers love, and others simply treat as a means to earn some money.
The process of becoming an HGV driver is costly, obtaining your HGV license, regular medicals, yearly CPC courses, eating meals away from home.
Even purchasing equipment required to be able to do the job to your best ability, such as a truck sat nav, map books, torch, etc all come with a cost which is rarely paid for by the company you may work for.
That all sounds very negative but the truth is being an HGV driver today has a lot of negativity because the industry is not looking after drivers in the way that it should!
I personally love driving trucks, being out on the open road traveling to all parts of the country, when you are in your truck it’s like being your own boss, and it’s a wonderful feeling. But as mentioned above people work to make a living and it is tough if you are at the lower end of the pay scale.
Is HGV Driving Hard?
This is a difficult question because it depends on your personal opinion. It’s not hard to drive an HGV vehicle, but there are lots of other aspects to the job that can be challenging and demanding at times. For example, staying awake or alert for long periods of time when you’re driving through the night which is tough as this period may have some less than ideal conditions like bad weather, etc.
Actual driving a truck has become easier over the years due to modern technology, much more driver comfort in the cab, better gearbox systems, better braking capabilities, electronic devices such as cruise control, driver alerts, lane assistance, better all-round visibility with side cameras to name a few.
Trucking companies will always try to get the most out of a driver, which is understandable as they have deadlines and workloads to contend with.
I believe and safety requires it you can only drive to the conditions you have in front of you, driving a truck can be hard if you are always chasing deadlines, but driving can also be easy if you are savvy by planning routes in advance, not allowing yourself to get stressed if you have a 3-mile tailback in front of you, or a collection is not ready when you need it to be, simply drive safely to the road conditions and do the best you can with what’s presented to you within your working day.
How Long Does It Take To Become an HGV Driver?
The process of becoming an HGV driver in the UK can take up to 8 weeks, firstly you need to be at least 18 years old and hold a full UK car license, there is a step-by-step process to obtain a truck license in the UK.
- Apply for HGV Provisional License
- Pass Theory and Hazard Perception Test (New Drivers only) Not required if upgrading from class 2 to class 1
- Practical Driving Test
Once the above steps have been completed you can obtain your driver’s card, this card is used in conjunction with a tachograph that monitors your driving as a professional driver.
When you start driving as a professional truck driver it will be necessary to complete 35 hours of additional training over a 5 year period, this is called your CPC (Certificate of Professional Competency) to allow you to continue driving professionally.
Many companies will pay for your CPC but not all, the cost of the CPC can cost approximately £250 for the periodic training.
How Much Does It Cost To Get an HGV Licence?
The cost of an HGV License can vary slightly depending on where you are in the Country, an estimate is between £250 and £300 but this excludes any training.
Training with a reputable training company is recommended which you can find searching local training schools in your area.
Training will cost in the region of £1200, and normally you can use their vehicle to take your practical test, an HGV training school will give you an assessment to determine how much training they think you will require.
Where Can I find HGV Driving Jobs?
Currently, there are many opportunities for driving HGV trucks in the UK, below I have listed some great resources for searching for UK truck driving jobs.
Thank you for reading this article “UK Trucking Industry Frequent Questions” If you have any thoughts about the state of the trucking industry right now leave a comment below please keep it clean! 😅