Are HGV driving jobs really getting harder?

picture of road signs with words "no cpc = no drivers" and "are you up to date?" and "road ahead closed"

“Times they are a changing” as Bob Dylan aptly put. But are these changing times for the worse or for the better? 


Social media, AI robots, slider shoes and socks, it can all get very confusing. But whilst we aren’t qualified to take a deep philosophical look into the meaning of life, we do have something to say when it comes to driving.


Sometimes we hear drivers say that HGV driving is a harder job than it used to be. So, in this article, we’ve identified three major elements of HGV driving jobs that have changed over the years and explore their impact on the lives and roles of drivers.


Let us know what you think.


#1 Regulation and Road Safety

Over the years, as with many industries, regulation and red tape have been slowly introduced into the HGV driving sphere.


What this means is that there are more driving qualifications, and they are harder to get and maintain. For example, ongoing Driver CPC training, strict regulations on driving hours, and an increased number of hoops to jump through if you desire to drive specialised vehicles all add to our workload.


Yet is regulation necessarily a bad thing? These regulations, whilst undeniably complicating drivers’ lives, are actually aimed at making sure they don’t get taken advantage of, don’t work too long, and as a result maintain high driving safety standards at all times.


This makes the roads and HGV drivers safer. They also protect drivers from being exploited by unscrupulous employers.


#2 High Pressure

On top of the strict regulations that drivers must understand and abide by, there is an increase in pressure to get the job done with demanding time constraints.


In today’s digital consumer age, where internet shopping has become the norm, the pressure is on drivers to ensure all products and goods are delivered quickly and efficiently.


However, as with almost anything, an increase in demand leads to an increase in value. And in this scenario, it’s the value of the drivers that has increased.


Because of the demanding nature of logistics, skilled drivers who can perform under pressure are sought after and, in some cases, enjoying better pay and conditions than ever before.


#3 Shortage of drivers

Our final point is that there is undeniably a shortage of drivers. Demand is up, and driver numbers aren’t increasing fast enough.


This piles on the pressure we mentioned in the previous section, which means that drivers often have to work gruelling hours and spend numerous nights on the road, all whilst abiding by strict regulations. Not easy.


This final point though, also has another side. The shortage of drivers and high demand for skilled workers means that as a driver, you shouldn’t find  yourself out of work any time soon.


There are a plethora of options out there for good drivers to excel and advance their career.


Future Concerns

With Brexit still up in the air the future of driving in Europe is a little uncertain to say the least. There could be some big changes for international drivers, and this will likely come with its own challenges. 


On top of that, with our split from the EU, there are suggestions that there could be sizeable regulatory changes in the driving sector.


However, with the current situation as it is, we think we are unlikely to see regulation changes any time soon as the government has to focus on ensuring seamless future trade and interaction with Europe to avoid major disruptions.


You can read about this in more detail on our blog HGV driving after Brexit; what can we expect? 


All in all, HGV driving has become more specialised and professional with extra pressure on drivers to meet the demand. Yet its also created a better industry for drivers, with more opportunities and better pay and conditions.


This is why we invest so much in our Platinum Drivers Scheme. We want to attract and retain the very best HGV drivers and provide them with the right training and support. It’s one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind in the UK.