A post delivery person sorts and distributes letters and packages to addresses on a set route on a daily basis.
The role of a post delivery person is to sort and deliver letters, packages and parcels to residents on a specified route. Sorting mail is done in a district sorting office and delivery can be done by foot, bike or small van depending on the location. Some post delivery people are also responsible for collecting mail from postboxes, post offices and workplaces before sorting and delivering.
Royal Mail, the national employer of post delivery people, is a state-owned organisation responsible for regular delivery of post. This makes a post delivery person’s job extremely important as a regular reliable postal service has been a fundamental part of our society for over a hundred years.
Being a postal delivery worker can be physically demanding with heavy bags to carry on long routes. Postal delivery persons are required to deliver post whatever the weather, so often have to work in cold and rainy conditions come winter time.
New postal delivery workers over the age of 18 will receive a weekly wage of £256, rising to £285-£311 after one year’s experience. Part time workers are paid pro-rata. Overtime hours are paid on top of this and allowances are given to those working anti-social shifts, such as night work or bank holidays.
In the UK, higher rates of pay are earned by postal delivery workers in outer and inner London and some parts of the South East due to the higher costs of living.
On top of basic salary and over time, post delivery persons are entitled to extra benefits such as special offers and extra discounts. This not only applies to Royal Mail products such as stamps, but can apply to retail products and services as well.
As a postal delivery person, you are the face of Royal Mail at all times. This means that there is a requirement to look presentable and eager whenever on duty.
Day to day responsibilities centre around sorting and distributing mail. Sorting is completed in the sorting office, where addresses need to be read quickly in order for the mail to be sorted as efficiently as possible. Post delivery people are then responsible for organising their own delivery bags in order to make mail delivery as easy and efficient as possible. Mail is sorted by road and placed in the bag in order.
Post delivery persons are responsible for ensuring that all mail arrives at the recipients’ residences in a presentable manner in the given time frame. Time management is essential in this job and post delivery people are responsible for meeting their delivery deadlines in order to ensure smooth running of the distribution service.
Additionally post delivery people have a responsibility to ensure that post is not delivered to the wrong address or lost.
There are no formal qualifications required to be a post delivery person. Employment is usually based on a job interview and a test which assesses the capacity to read addresses correctly and the ability to find errors in lists of names and addresses.
If the job requires driving, a full driving license is required with no more than 6 penalty points.
Although a post delivery person’s skills might seem straight forward, as the job can be physically demanding, time pressured and precise, the skills and attributes of a post delivery person are very important. They should be:
- Able to carry mail pouches of up to 16kg
- Able to lift and carry mailbags of up to 11kg for long periods of time
- Able to push trolleys that weigh up to 250kg
- Enthusiastic early in the morning
- Able to work well in a team as well as being motivated individually
- Literate and numerate
- Able to type efficiently
- Physically fit
- A good communicator
Post delivery persons are required to work both inside a sorting office and outside in residential areas. Working in the sorting office is a fast paced environment with heavy machinery and fast moving post trolleys. The sorting machinery can be very hazardous and training should always be undertaken before using it. Post trolleys are extremely heavy and in such a fast paced environment, can move very quickly, which poses a risk if employees are not concentrating.
Delivery work is done door to door in mainly residential areas. It is done in all kinds of weather meaning that it can often be very cold in the winter and physically draining in hot weather. This part of the job is very physically demanding as routes are quite long and mailbags are significantly heavy. Hazards of post delivery can include angry dogs, angry customers, slippery surfaces (especially when riding a bike) and other traffic on the road.
Full time staff work roughly 41.5 hours a week. The hours are done on a shift rota and there are two shifts a day: early and late. Post delivery persons can be required to work any day in the week and over-time or night-shifts are widely available.
Post delivery persons are supplied with a standard uniform which they are required to wear at all times.
No experience is necessary to be a post delivery person but previous seasonal work with Royal Mail is favourable when applying for a full time position. Working as a postal delivery person does, however, provide experience to move into more senior roles that do require experience.
In the UK, postal delivery persons are employed by the nationally owned postal service, ‘Royal Mail’.
Royal Mail has a scheme in place for career progression within the business called ‘Develop Faster’. It is an apprenticeship scheme that enables post delivery persons to achieve a City and Guilds (Level 2) in Mail Services in just 9 months. Success stories from the scheme have seen people progress to become Collections Hub Managers, Mail Centre Managers and Line Managers.
Other career paths in Royal Mail can include entering different areas such as trade union representation, human resources, finance and accounting and various training and management roles.
Chris Pigott is a 24 year old post delivery person from Sheffield. He has been in the job for 13 months after graduating from The University of Salford. Here is what he has to say about being a post delivery person:
I became a postman as it has been hard trying to find a graduate job in today’s economic climate. It has turned out to be a better job than I expected. As a post delivery person, every day I sort the mail for my round, organise it in my bag and deliver it on my route. As I work part-time, I work from 10am to 3pm (full-timers work 7am to 2.30pm). I do the same route every day, come rain or shine! One of the good things is getting a lot of fresh air, but when the weather is bad, post delivery is not the greatest thing to be doing. It can be very cold in the winter and that makes it very physically demanding. I’d probably say that was the greatest challenge of the job. And dogs. Angry dogs can be a challenge, as well as angry customers but you don’t tend to see as many of those on a day to day basis. But it’s not all bad. I mean, I can’t say the job is boring. I can listen to music while I do my postal route and it’s good exercise. The pay isn’t bad either. I only work part-time so I earn £12,000 a year pro rata but working full-time you earn around £18,000 a year.
Although I have a degree, I didn’t need any qualifications, as such, to be a postman, and I didn’t need any experience either. Like most jobs, GCSEs in English and Maths can be useful in looking employable but they’re not compulsory. All the training is on the job so you don’t have to worry about being trained before. And if you’re looking to move up to higher positions, you can train with the company to become a manager or move sideways into different departments such as finance, human resources or trade unions. There’s a lot of opportunity to progress up through the company in many different fields – it’s a massive organisation.
I’d advise people looking to start a job as a postman to be as flexible as you can, on both hours and location because the business is constantly changing, including personnel changes, so they may require you to move offices. It’s good to be prepared for being tired, especially in your first week, but you get used to it after a while. As a person, you just have to be motivated – being physically fit helps as well. But don’t worry, you get a 20 minute break on a part time shift, so I do get a bit of a rest!