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More than one in six jobs require applicants to be able to drive

More than one in six jobs being advertised in the UK requires applicants to be able to drive, analysis suggests.

Research by the RAC Foundation shows that in the first week of October 2023 a total of 1,092,172 recruitment ads were posted on the job vacancy aggregator site Adzuna.

Of the 1,092,172 advertisements, 189,608 (17.4%) explicitly or implicitly required those applying to have at least a standard driving licence because the job was either:

  1. specifically for a driver,
  2. or required driving during the course of work,
  3. or a car was needed to reach work (due to a lack of alternatives).

The analysis looked at data for the same week in October in the eight years from 2016 to 2023, inclusive.

Whilst the highest proportion of jobs requiring the ability to drive was seen in 2020 at the height of the pandemic (120,190 out of 611,702, or 19.6%) the proportion for 2023 was still higher than in any of the four years pre-Covid.

Job adverts and driving requirements, 2016-2023 (first week of October in each year)

YearAll Adzuna Adverts
DrivingTotalDriving %
2016178,5351,173,63015.2
2017187,3341,178,27615.9
2018182,8401,141,80216.0
2019167,3231,070,03915.6
2020120,190611,70219.6
2021241,5361,296,59918.6
2022185,7921,083,52517.1
2023189,6081,092,17217.4
Total1,453,1588,647,74516.8

Using specific occupation categories as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the data revealed that the need to drive was, to a greater or lesser degree, a requirement in a wide variety of roles, for example:

  • 100% of driving instructors
  • 67% of plumbers
  • 59% of estate agents and auctioneers
  • 34% of care workers and home carers

The data contained adverts for 97% (398) of all occupations registered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK labour market.

Top occupations with driving as an explicit or implicit requirement in job ads (2023)

RankOccupation(based on Office for National Statistics classifications)% of ads for this occupation
1Driving instructors100
2Large goods vehicle drivers99.3
3Road transport drivers (not classified elsewhere)97.9
4Delivery drivers and couriers95.6
5Plumbers and heating and ventilating installers and repairers67.5
6Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electricians64.4
7Estate agents and auctioneers58.5
8Vehicle and parts salespersons and advisers51
9Metal working production and maintenance fitters41.7
10Carpenters and joiners37.8
11Electricians and electrical fitters34
12Chartered surveyors34
13Care workers and home carers33.9
14Social workers33.7
15Business sales executives31.9
16Fork-lift truck drivers31.9
17Property, housing and estate managers29.9
18Sales accounts and business development managers22.9
19Quantity surveyors22.2
20Production managers and directors in construction21.9
21Civil engineers21
22IT user support technicians13.3
23Warehouse operatives12.9
24Business and financial project management professionals11.3
25Sales and retail assistants11.1
26Human resources and industrial relations officers10.6
27Customer service occupations (not classified elsewhere)10.6
28Advertising and marketing associate professionals10.3
29Other registered nursing professionals7.5
30Chefs7.3

The sectors least likely to require job applicants to have the ability to drive were: teaching and education; culture, media and sport; and secretarial and administrative.

According to the ONS the average cost of a driving lesson is £35 per hour however they can be anywhere between £20 and £60.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “

Our research shows that when it comes to getting work a driving licence can be a crucial qualification. Little wonder official figures show that about 45% of all driving tests conducted during 2022-23 involved candidates aged 20 or younger.

“Despite the predictions of a post-pandemic work-from-home legacy the data suggests that when it comes to driving as an employment qualification, things today look very similar to what they did before Covid struck.

“If anything, the one in six headline figure underestimates the importance of being able to drive for roles in locations, or with shift patterns, that make them inaccessible by public transport.

“Many of those job ads which list a driving requirement are in relatively poorly-paid sectors, such as the caring profession – something the chancellor should have in mind when making decisions that influence the cost of motoring and which impact on those who are already struggling to pay for the transport they can’t do without.

“It is unsurprising that the proportion of employers looking for people to be able to drive reached a peak during the pandemic, when we came to fully appreciate how key our truckers and delivery drivers are to daily life.”

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