There are almost 45% of Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) holders aged between 20 and 39 years old, according to data from the Ministry of Transport. This is compared to less than 10% of Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence holders being 39 years old and below. What this indicates is that more young people are taking up jobs as private hire drivers in the recent years, either as part-time or casual drivers.

The transport economist in this article attributes the higher uptake of PDVL with younger drivers to the image of the job as a side-income choice chosen for flexibility, rather than conventional perception of taxi-driving as the last-resort job. It could be the result of private hire companies having spent much effort and money in marketing to change the social perception of hire driving to attract younger drivers.

However, the writer also raises some potential issues with the large number of young drivers: they may not be able to build marketable skills for the future if they stay in the job for too long, and if they join too early on, this may harm their lifetime wages and career opportunities.  

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: Flexibility, being your own boss, decent income: Why younger people are working as private hire drivers


The gig economy has been a popular choice for young people to make side incomes while studying or being in between full-time careers. Some even stay in these roles full-time because earnings can be substantial, or even higher than jobs which require specialist training. Yet the nature of driving private hire cars is both physically and mentally draining as drivers have to be vigilant on the roads, and they have to clock in long hours to earn a livable wage. The creation of such jobs are good opportunities for the short-term, with some flexibility to work when available, but do not seem to be viable in the long term.

From the point of view of this commentator, the gig economy is attractive in terms of the net income, and for young people to buy time while figuring out what they want to do for their careers. However, it may be tempting to overlook the negative effects it would have on a young person’s career trajectory. Granted, if coupled with conscious efforts to upskill and explore other career paths concurrently, the gig economy is a bonus source of income. Otherwise, the risk is that it may be a career-limiting move from the start.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. Would you consider working in the gig economy?
  2. What would happen if too many people become unemployable in the future?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘attributes’: regard something as being caused by
  2. ‘pertinent’: relevant or applicable to a particular matter