Driving Your Employability: The Impact of a Licence

If you’ve ever spent time job hunting, you’ve probably seen a fair few with a requirement notice that the candidate must have a driving licence. For jobs where the focus isn’t vehicle-based, you may have wondered by employers ask for this. We’ve teamed up with Pass ‘N’ Go, who offer driving lessons in Sunderland and across the North East, to investigate how a driving licence can impact your employability.


Why do employers want you to drive?

If the job involves a vehicle, it’s clear why an employer will ask about your licence or lack thereof. Research carried out in 2016 by the RAC found that almost one in six vacant jobs in the UK required the applicant to own a driving licence. What employers may not realise however, is that asking if candidates own a driving licence can be discriminatory if it is not a requirement of the job as it could deter some people from applying. If an individual is disabled for example, and not able to drive, they might decide not to apply for the role and this is decreasing the pool of talent.

The study also found that many of the roles that asked for a driving licence were not vehicle-related roles. These included a zoo worker, hairdresser and gymnastics coach. So, why are employers only hiring those that own a licence? Often, it’s down to attendance concerns. Public transport comes with delays — perhaps from taking multiple buses, facing potential disruptions from strikes and walking from the station. These things can all lead to added time onto your commute that you wouldn’t face if you drove into work. Also, if public transport is not an option, it’s likely that employers will recruit someone with a licence. This might be for a job that involves night shift work for example, when buses and trains do not run regularly and the only option would be to arrive by car.

If the job progression path may lead a candidate to need the ability to drive, then this can also contribute to an employer’s request. An example of this could be in a sales role, whereby the new recruit starts their role in the office but eventually will be driving to carry out door-to-door sales. Another reason may be if you are applying for a job that requires flexibility such as a supply role where the employee must get to the place of work as quickly as possible and again, public transport would be a hindrance.


Does having a driving licence make getting a job easier?

For some employers, you may very well be less employable without a driving licence. For a delivery job for example, it’s understandable that a candidate who can drive would be favoured over one that doesn’t.

Your location in relation to the job can also impact the need for a licence. If you live in a remote or rural area, being able to drive and owning a car can widen your horizons in terms of job prospects. Similarly, if you live in a built-up area but would like to apply for jobs further afield, having a driving licence will make the commute easier, and more feasible.

There are many reasons why someone might not drive. Insurance costs, expenses of running, the stress of driving, disabilities, environmental concerns, and that’s just to name a few. Certainly, there are plenty of jobs that don’t require a driving licence. When looking at jobs that are out of walking distance, you could invest in a bike or consult time schedules of transport to see if you could get to a place of work on time before applying. If a potential employee is concerned about your inability to drive, prove to them that you have done your research and your attendance will not be affected. You could also begin lessons after securing the job if this will make your commute easier.