HGV drivers are in high demand right now, with 100,000 more needed to meet the demands of the industry at the moment. This is due to a combination of factors, including Brexit causing the loss of European Union drivers, the pandemic delaying a new generation of drivers due to late driving tests, and far-reaching problems with pay and working conditions in the industry.
As a result, now could be a good time to get your foot in the door in the industry, as many companies could be looking to increase the number of HGV drivers they employ.
Here’s what it’s like to be a lorry driver, including how much an HGV driver can earn.
How do I become an HGV driver in the UK?
The initial requirements of how to become an HGV driver are fairly straightforward. You need to be over 18 and have a valid UK car driving licence. If you have a licence from outside of the UK, you can apply to have it transferred to a UK licence.
From there, you will need to get a specific HGV licence. There are several different types that you can get, which affects the weight of the lorry you can drive and whether you can attach trailers and extra cargo to it.
Getting a Cat C+E licence means you can drive up to 3,500kg, or the highest amount. This leaves your options open to drive pretty much any HGV, but depending on the area of logistics you want to get in to, a different licence for a lower weight might be better for you.
As part of the training, you will need to undertake a medical exam, including an eye test, complete a theory exam, a practical exam, and finally your Driver CPC test. This tests your competence at driving specific vehicles and will also require a refresher every 35 years.
What is the HGV driver wage in the UK?
The starting salary for an HGV driver is between £19,000 and £24,000 and can climb to as high as £45,000. The average for HGV drivers tends to be between £30,000 and £40,000, depending on which company you work for and how far you drive. For example, overseas and long-distance HGV drivers can earn more than local or national drivers.
Because there’s a shortage in HGV drivers right now, there are also various temporary driver jobs which are paid by the hour. The hourly rate is around £10/hour for van drivers delivering materials like magazines, and increasing according to the size of the vehicle and the type of goods being transported. For example, transporting hazardous or valuable goods will earn you much more money than more everyday items.
You may need to complete extra levels of training to transport certain levels of goods and will almost certainly need the highest Cat licence, so that you can drive bigger and heavier vehicles. On top of that, the more experience you have as an HGV driver will also increase your earning potential, as suppliers and logistics companies are more likely to trust valuable goods to more experienced drivers.