Lorry drivers are essential in moving goods around the country, getting products to the consumer from farms, ports, warehouses and factories. In fact, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates that 98% of all food and consumer products in Great Britain are transported by road freight.
HGV drivers typically drive long-distances, potentially even to Europe delivering goods overseas. In addition, drivers need some basic maintenance and repair skills, plus they have to plan their route, supervise the loading and unloading of their truck, ensure the goods are stowed safely and complete any necessary paperwork.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are over 183,000 large goods vehicle driving jobs in the United Kingdom, growing at a rate of 3.6% per year. But where are the best opportunities for HGV drivers? We ranked UK regions to determine the best areas for HGV drivers to live and work based on average salaries, job availability and the cost of living in different areas.
Best Places in Great Britain for HGV Drivers
With HGV drivers earning an average of £30,496 per year (second to London), a strong jobs density metric (ranking second to Yorkshire and the Humber) and a relatively low cost of living, the East Midlands is the clear winner as the best region for HGV drivers to call home.
While one of the least populated areas of the UK, the East Midlands is known for its manufacturing—in particular of Transport Equipment and Food & Drink. In fact, construction and manufacturing sectors account for a relatively large proportion of the region's economy, representing 12% and 7.5% of total business, rates which are higher than UK averages.
With manufacturing comes the need to transport goods. It's estimated that 9% of all East Midlands jobs are related to logistics and 140,000 HGV journeys are completed per day in the area. The East Midlands has many HGV driver training schools, particularly around Nottingham and Leicester. And in 2017, the 4.0% unemployment rate in the East Midlands was one of the lowest in the UK, making the area attractive for job seekers in the transport industry.
The M1 connects Northampton in the south of the region to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Mansfield in the north, as well as providing a link directly to London and other areas both north and south of the East Midlands. The A1 is a major route for the region's agricultural products.
HGV drivers in the West Midlands earn £29,567 a year on average, and the lower cost of living means large goods drivers can more easily afford their household expenses than in any other region of the UK. A lower jobs density, however, means good HGV driver jobs may be somewhat harder to find than in other areas.
The UK's industrial revolution began in the West Midlands, and industry continues to be a significant source of business activity and employment today. According to the Office for National Statistics, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying represent 21% of regional gross value added (GVA) in the West Midlands (vs. 12% in the UK)—resulting in products that need to be transported. Land transport accounts for 1.9% of the region's GVA.
Birmingham, the largest city in the region, has direct road connections to places in the north, south west and south east as located at the hub of major motorways the M40, the M5 and the M6.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Yorkshire and the Humber sports the best jobs density for HGV drivers, meaning there are more large goods driver jobs per 1,000 working population than in any other region of Great Britain. Salaries are a bit lower, however, as is affordability on a driver's wage.
While the Yorkshire and the Humber economy now relies less on businesses that need road trasnport, such as large-scale industry, manufacturing, textiles and agriculture, output of these traditional industries in the region is expected to grow and remain an important part of the local economy.
The M62 connects the west and the east of the region, through major cities Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull. Yorkshire and the Humber is connected north and south through the M1 and the A1.
Top Regions for HGV Driver Jobs
Below we list the data on top regions for HGV drivers in Great Britain. Across all metrics, higher numbers are more desirable.
|Overall Rank||Region||Average Annual HGV Driver Pay||Number of HGV Driver Jobs||Jobs Density||Pay/Cost of Living Metric|
|3||Yorkshire and The Humber||£28,923||20,000||7.4||1.07|
NimbleFins' study assessed three key factors to determine the best places in Great Britain for HGV drivers to pursue their careers.
1. Average annual gross pay for large goods vehicle drivers
While the average large goods vehicle driver earns £29,313 per year, gross pay varies widely depending on where you live. As part of this study we considered the average pay for drivers in each region—the higher the pay, the higher a region ranked in our survey.
2. Large goods driver job density per region
HGV drivers have special skills and must earn a special qualification called a Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). Regions that have a higher concentration of lorry driver jobs relative to the working population are more desirable, and rank higher in our study.
In 2018, there were 183,000 large goods vehicle driver jobs in the United Kingdom. The number of HGV driver jobs grew at a rate of 3.6% from 2017 to 2018, which is higher than the 2.2% job growth rate across the UK.
3. Pay/Cost of living index per region
In determining the best places for HGV drivers, it is important to understand how easily a driver can afford essentials like housing, transportation, food and entertainment, as affordability plays a large role in our quality of life. To reflect the cost of living in different regions, we adjusted driver salaries in this study by the average household spending per region so that regions with a lower cost of living rank higher. The Pay/Cost of Living metric reflects the average driver gross pay divided by the average household expenditure.