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The driver shortage is a bigger cause for concern to the industry in 2018 than it was last year, according to a new survey. 

Almost half of UK transport businesses believe the driver shortage is the biggest barrier to business growth, while the majority surveyed claim to have seen customer expectations climb in the last year, according to new research form Paragon Software Systems.

The routing software provider spoke to more than 100 UK transport businesses, of which 46% said the shortage of skilled drivers and workers was the biggest barrier to success; a third more than the 36% who believed this when asked last year.

The firm’s annual customer survey asked what needed to be done to tackle the shortfall of young talent in the sector, to which more than a third replied more education and training incentives were needed. This included more apprenticeship schemes and more clearly defined career paths.

A quarter of people felt better pay and conditions would help combat the skills shortage, while the familiar concerns about public perception of the industry were also raised.

The next biggest cause for concern was transport costs, which 13.4% of respondents cited as their largest issue.

Congestion and lack of investment in the industry both came in as 7.2% of respondents’ biggest concern, while 6.2% said they were most worried about urban transport restrictions.


Respondents that see issue as biggest faced

Driver shortage


Transport costs




Lack of investment


Urban transport restrictions


Paragon found that 85.6% of respondents had faced increased customer expectations in 2017. These included calls for greater visibility and more regular delivery services.

'Greening' fleets came out low on the industry’s agenda, with more than half of respondents saying they had no forward investment plans for alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

Just 20% of respondents said that they already had a fleet strategy for greener vehicles, including electric or hybrid-powered machines, with more than a quarter (26%) planning to adopt a green fleet strategy in the next two years.

Looking at the future, 45% of those surveyed said they were in favour of driverless trucks on UK roads. However the remaining respondents said fully autonomous vehicles were either unsuitable for the UK’s road infrastructure or too far in the future to comment on.

Paragon Software Systems MD William Salter said: “The road transport sector continues to face considerable challenges around resource management and service delivery.

“The findings of our customer survey highlight the importance of using routing and scheduling software to help manage all available drivers and vehicles at an individual resource level.

“This means that logistics operations can mitigate the impact of driver and skills shortages, as well as meet the increasing expectations of customers.”