In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on what the job involves, what it takes to get a role as a forklift driver, and what your salary is likely to be.
The average forklift driver salary in the United Kingdom ranges from £17,000 to £30,000 a year for a full-time role, dependent on your experience and specialism. However, it is possible to earn in excess of £30,000 per year as a forklift operator, particularly if you take on additional responsibilities.
What Does a Forklift Truck Driver Do?
A forklift driver can operate under different job titles, which may be confusing if you’re not familiar with the industry. A driver may be known as a forklift operator or forklift truck operator, for example. In essence, however, you’ll be responsible for operating a forklift safely and in accordance with your employer’s requirements.
The exact nature of your duties will depend on where you’re employed, as there are different types of forklift driver roles, such as:
- Warehouse forklift driver
- Construction forklift driver
- Telescopic forklift driver
- Counterbalance forklift operator
A warehouse forklift driver typically spends his or her time moving pallets and heavy loads around indoor storage areas and loading and unloading these goods into trucks, while a construction forklift driver operates a forklift on a construction site and moves materials around the site as needed.
What Affects Your Forklift Driver Salary?
If you’re wondering how much do forklift drivers earn, it’s important to consider the various factors that can affect your earning potential and forklift driver salary, such as:
As you might expect, you tend to earn a higher forklift driver salary as you gain more experience in the role and your skills develop. In addition to this, you can boost your average salary by specialising in certain areas, such as moving fragile or hazardous materials.
Furthermore, taking on additional responsibilities, such as becoming a supervisor or team leader, can let you enhance your career and increase your earnings.
Read more: Is forklift driving a good job?
How Much Do Forklift Drivers Make at the Start of Their Career?
When you’re just starting out, you can expect to earn at the lower end of the average forklift driver salary, possibly even minimum wage. In most instances, you can work as a forklift truck driver from the age of 16 in the UK, but you will need to undertake training and obtain forklift operator certifications to enable you to work safely and efficiently.
If you want to work as a forklift driver at docks or ports, however, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age. Similarly, if your role involves operating a forklift on public roads, you’ll need to meet the minimum age requirements based on the weight of the vehicle and have a valid driving licence.
You may want to fund training courses yourself, so that you’re ready to undertake a new role as a forklift operator, or you may find that your employer will provide you with the relevant training. If you join a company as an apprentice, for example, your employer may offer a mix of on-site training as well as off-site courses so that you can obtain the certification needed.
The average salary for a forklift driver can increase if you’re certified to operate different types of forklifts, so completing relevant courses can be an effective way to enhance your earning potential.
What Is the Working Environment Like for a Forklift Driver?
Your working environment will vary depending on where you’re employed but, in general, you can expect to work as part of a large team in a fairly industrial environment, such as a port, construction site, or warehouse.
A full-time forklift driver typically works 44-46 hours per week but shift week is usually readily available. As industrial environments tend to operate around the clock, your role may involve shift work, weekend work, and/or working on Bank Holidays. Depending on the terms of your contract, you may find that working outside of standard business hours boosts your forklift driver salary too.