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Is being a lorry driver long hours?

Companies are crying out for more lorry drivers in the UK – but how long are the hours and is it the right job for you?

Is being a lorry driver long hours?

Are you considering starting a career as a lorry driver but wondering if the hours are long? Lorry driver jobs are on the rise as the UK is currently dealing with a shortage, so there’s no doubt you’ll get snapped up fast. In fact, many companies are offering signup bonuses and juicy salary increases to incentivise people to join the industry. 

There’s never been a better time to step into the lorry driving game, so let’s take a look at life as a lorry driver so you can decide if it’s the right career for you.

  • What’s the job description?
  • Do lorry drivers work long hours?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Pros and cons of being a HGV driver

What’s the job description?

In most lorry driver job descriptions, you’ll have responsibilities to load and unload trucks safely, complete paperwork, transport goods long distances (sometimes internationally), and deliver excellent customer service as you represent the face of the business on your dropoffs. You need to be reliable, hard-working and have good administration skills.

Do lorry drivers work long hours?

Lorry drivers do tend to work slightly longer hours than average jobs. In the UK, the average employee works 35.8 hours per week. However, lorry drivers can work up to 9 hours daily, and this can be increased to 10 hours twice a week. They have a limit of 90 hours driving fortnightly, and must take a 45 minute break after 4.5 hours of driving.

How much do they earn?

On average, HGV drivers in the UK earn £32,500. However, this is likely to be higher since, in recent times, lorry driver salaries have increased and they’re being offered new bonuses.

Pros of being a HGV driver

Competitive salary

Due to the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, companies are offering inflated salaries to attract workers. In 2021, research showed that lorry driver wages surged seven times quicker than the average wage growth for all other UK jobs.

Job stability

With many jobs being put on the line and businesses closing due to covid restrictions, lorry driving was one industry that continued to plough through the chaos of 2020. Since they’re classed as key workers, there’s very little risk of lorry drivers being put on furlough or being made redundant. 

Signup bonus

With many companies struggling to meet their quota for drivers, they’re offering one-off signup bonuses to new drivers. It’s not uncommon for some new hires to receive a £2000 signup bonus, and some companies, like Gist, have even offered as much as £5000! How about that for a welcome gift?!

Flexible hours

One of the great things about becoming a lorry driver is that you can often change your schedule to suit your needs. If you need to be home on certain days of the week, your shift manager should be able to adjust your rota.

Cons of being a HGV driver

Unsociable hours

Working as a HGV driver definitely means you’ll need to work some unsociable hours, often driving through the night to reach your customers on time. Adjusting to night shifts can be tough and it’s not for everyone.

Long hours

Being a lorry driver means travelling long distances which means committing to long shifts. You could be expected to work up to 10 hours per shift.

Time away from home

Since most lorry driver roles require you to travel long distances, and sometimes internationally, you’ll need to spend some nights away from home. It’s not the right job for you if you need to be home with your family every evening.

You need a special licence

You won’t be able to become a lorry driver without a specific licence. To become a HGV driver, you’ll need to obtain either a Class 1 or Class 2 licence. Typically, the Class 1 drivers do the long-haul journeys and are paid more than Class 2, who travel more locally. You may be able to get a government grant to obtain your licence or you might get lucky and find an employer who’ll fund it for you.

Launch your new career

Hopefully this blog has helped you decide if a career as a HGV driver is right for you. Yes, you need a special licence to get started, but once you’re on the open road you’ve got a fantastic career ahead of you.

SonicJobs is home to hundreds of lorry driver jobs across the UK. Take a look inside our app to explore the latest jobs near you.

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