If you’ve spent any time on UK roads at all, then you probably know what an HGV is. They dominate the motorways, squeeze into little spaces on country roads and generally ferry good to their destinations across the UK. The bigger the vehicle, the more it carries. You probably know a lot of the basic information about them, but there are some things you might not know. Things you take for granted, or just don’t think about as you watch them drive past your window. So today, we have a few hidden facts you may not have known about HGVs. Let’s see how much you know!
Our first and perhaps most impressive fact is that 98% of all goods consumed in the UK are moved by road. That’s everything from food and drink to clothing and jewellery. Road transport is the backbone of the UK economy, and without it we would be in real trouble. Many of those items (or their component parts) may come in from overseas, which is why the haulage industry is so worried about the outcome of Brexit on their trade routes.
Being able to find work is something a lot of people worry about, but being a HGV driver is always a door that’s open. At present, there are around 600,000 HGV drivers in the UK, in regular, stable employment. Despite recent pushes, only 1.2% of this is made up of female drivers, but this is an improvement on previous years, so it is being viewed as a positive, if slow change. Sadly, even with those high numbers there is still a driver shortage, and 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.
There are a lot of industries out there that create a lot of jobs for UK citizens, but the haulage industry is one of the biggest. On top of all of those HGV drivers, the haulage industry also employs transport managers, packers, warehouse managers and many, many more roles. This means that in total, the he haulage industry employs over 2.5 million people across various roles and companies. That adds up, and the haulage industry is now the 5th biggest employer in the UK, just behind the NHS, military and HMRC.
With all of those big numbers of employees and drivers, it’s not really surprising that the haulage industry is also incredibly valuable. To be specific, the UK haulage industry is worth £124 billion to the UK economy. So when we say that haulage is the backbone of the UK economy, we really mean it! Without haulage, not only would we struggle to move goods back and forth, but the economy would take a huge hit. This is also why so many people in the industry have been keeping a close eye on Brexit negotiations, since the whole industry could hang in the balance.
The HGV industry attracts all sorts of people. You might have an idea in your head about what an HGV driver should be, but the reality is that HGV drivers come in all shapes, sizes and colours. In our time we have worked with people who have come straight out of school, who have worked in warehousing and want to move behind the wheel, and people who have moved industries completely, shifting from practicing law to driving HGV’s. But it might surprise you to know that the average age of a HGV driver, man or women, is 48. On top of that, 13% of drivers currently working in this band are EU nationals, meaning their continued residency is not a guarantee after Brexit.
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 about the same weight as a teenage African elephant. Of those registered vehicles, 250,000 are being driven by RHA member (the Road Haulage Association), which guarantees the quality, safety and credentials of the driver.
A The LGV Training Centre, we specialise in everything HGV – including random and interesting facts! Our training centre works with HGV drivers at all stages of their career, from experienced drivers looking to upskill to brand new drivers on their first day of training. We work closely with you to guide you through the training process and get you on the road, safe and confident, ready to join the best industry there is. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.