6 Facts About HGVs, And Their Drivers

Posted on 8th July 2019 By Charlotte Haye

Whether you drive an HGV for a living or just spend a lot of time on the road driving next to them, odds are you’re fairly familiar with the average HGV. A long lorry, carrying goods from one part of the country to another. Some of them might give you a hint as to what’s inside, with branding or colourful images. Other types will just tell you what’s inside (like chemicals for example). And others provide fodder for a brilliant new car game (what’s in the HGV?).  Whatever is inside, the truth is that HGVs are an incredibly important part of our country’s economy, and are one of the reasons businesses are able to operate in the way they do. But they are such a common sight that we often take them for granted, not really realising just how much we rely on them. So today, we wanted to bring you 6 facts about HGVs and their drivers that you might not have heard before.

Nearly All UK Goods Are Moved By Road

This is perhaps the most obvious fact when you really think about it, but the point is that not a lot of people do. In reality, 98% of all goods consumed in the UK are moved around by road. That’s everything from your steaks, eggs and bananas, down to your favourite jeans, your new phone and your hair dye. When you look at it that way, it’s easy to see that haulage really is the backbone of the UK economy, and without it we would be in real trouble. Many of these items also start their journey overseas, which is why the haulage industry is so focussed on the Brexit negotiations at the moment.

Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

Being the backbone of the economy, its not surprising that the HGV industry also creates a lot of jobs for UK citizens. Estimates stand at 600,000 jobs provided by the haulage industry. That’s 600,000 drivers in work thanks to the good old HGV. Amazingly, in numbers that high only 1.2% are women, and despite the big number, there is still an ongoing driver shortage. More drivers are needed to fill the demands of haulage customers, and it’s causing real strain on the businesses themselves. Logistics businesses are estimating that they will have a long delay in filling 36% of their vacancies while they find the right candidates, while 15% of their current vacancies won’t be filled at all.

Haulage is Huge

Given that so much of the UK economy rests in the trailers of HGVs, it’s no surprise that they contribute so much to employment. But while there are 600,000 drivers out there, the haulage industry provides jobs to many, many more. Think about it – it’s not just drivers who are involved in the haulage and logistics of getting a product from point A to point B. You also have warehouse staff, logistics planners, foreman, warehouse managers, navigators, maintenance and many more roles in the process. That means that in total, the UK haulage industry actually employs around 2.5 million people. That number makes haulage the 5th largest employer in the UK.

Big Industry, Big Money

As well as being one of the biggest employers in the UK, the haulage industry is also one of the most lucrative. At the latest estimates, the haulage industry is worth around £124 billion to the UK economy. So when we say that the haulage industry is one of the main rods of the UK economy, we aren’t joking! Haulage brings a huge amount of money into the UK every year, and the numbers are only increasing as time goes on. Which is one of the reasons the industry is so worried about Brexit – since it has the potential to weaken a very stable and important industry.

The Average HGV Driver

If I told you to imagine the average HGV driver, you would probably tell me they are a middle-aged man, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt, a bit overweight with a big beard. In other words, the American Trucker stereotype. But the HGV industry is full of drivers of all shapes, sizes, genders and creeds. At Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training, we’ve trained youngish drivers who have been working at desks selling insurance for years, old hands who want to try something new, and fresh-faced youngsters straight out of school. So really, an HGV driver can look like anyone. That being said, the average HGV driver is around 48 years old, and 13% of HGV drivers are EU nationals living in this country. This is yet another issue Brexit is causing the industry to worry about.

Heavy Goods Ahead

By now we all know that heavy goods vehicle stands for a lot of things. But when it comes to the heaviest of the heavy, it gets impressive. For example, there are currently 524,500 commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes currently registered in the UK. That’s heavier than the weight of an African elephant. Of those registered vehicles, 250,000 are being driven by RHA member (the Road Haulage Association), which puts a stamp on their quality as a driver.

At The Surrey and Hampshire Training Centre, we pride ourselves on being a go-to resource for anything HGV related. We work with aspiring drivers of all shapes and sizes to help them on the road to their licence, whether they are a seasoned driver looking to upgrade or a new driver starting out on the beginning of their journey. If you would like to know more about becoming an HGV driver and what’s involved, just get in touch with the team today.

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