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Machine operatives (including drivers) will remain the largest occupational group in the passenger transport sector. By 2017, 30% of employment in the sector will be within this category. All occupations are expected to see an increase in employment, with the exception of skilled trades where a reduction is forecast.

In terms of numbers of jobs, changes in occupation structures are expected to favour groups such as managers and administrators with the largest numbers of additional jobs expected in these two categories.

In 2007, the highest number of employees work as machine operatives (drivers), which is also forecast to be the case up until 2017. Fewer ‘new’ machine operative jobs will become available; an increase of just 2,000 jobs is expected between 2007 and 2017. However, the replacement demand for machine operatives is the highest across all occupations, with 66,000 positions becoming available over the next decade, making an overall total requirement of 68,000 positions to be filled.

Across all occupations there will be an overall total requirement to fill 259,000 positions up to and including 2017. This is a replacement demand of 201,000 positions and an increase of 58,000 existing positions in the sector.

Source: GoSkills Sector Skills Assessment 2010 and Working Futures 2007-2017

Salary levels

Pay scales in the sector are variable, so the following provides an indication of the average weekly gross pay of the current workforce by sub-sector:


  • Pilot £1,326
  • Air Traffic Control £1,159
  • Air Transport Operative £461 (this mostly relates to ground handling services)
  • Air Travel Assistant £443 (this mostly relates to staff working in passenger services/customer services)


  • Bus driver £424 per week
  • Auto electrician £399 per week
  • Auto engineer/Motor mechanic £456 per week


  • Coach driver £424 per week
  • Auto electrician £399 per week
  • Auto engineer/Motor mechanic £456 per week
  • Travel/Tour guide £142 per week

Driver training

  • Driving instructor £432 per week

Rail, light rail, tram and metro workforce

  • Train driver £783
  • Rail transport operative (likely to be control room operations such as signalling, planning and communications) £633
  • Rail travel assistant (likely to be station and train based passenger service staff) £535
  • Rail construction and maintenance operative £555

Taxi and private hire vehicle

  • Taxi/private hire driver £299

Transport planning

  • Civil Engineering Technician £515
  • Town Planning Technician £506
  • Town Planner £698
  • Civil Engineer £728
  • Chartered Surveyor £708

Many positions in the community transport sub-sector are voluntary, so salaries are difficult to estimate.

Source: GoSkills AACS LMI report 2010


Occupational roles and sources of information

The People 1st/GoSkills website Careers in Passenger Transport links to various case studies, job profiles and career opportunities. There is information on careers in each of the sub-sectors.

A variety of key roles in the passenger transport sector are identified by Graduate Prospects and detailed information is available. Information on the various job roles includes: job description and activities; salary and conditions; entry requirements; training; career development; sources of vacancies; and case studies. Some of the job roles available: Air cabin crew; Air traffic controller, civil; Airline pilot; Transport manager, passenger services; Transportation planner. For general information on the passenger transport and logistics sector is also available on the Prospects website.

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for some occupations in the transport sector including: bus conductor; car fleet manager; chauffeur/chauffeuse; rail track worker; signalling technician; station assistant; taxi driver; road transport manager; and driving instructor. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.