We caught up with Gretchen Jackson, Recruiting Manager at Con-way Truckload to learn more about their unique perspective on recruiting and the trucking industry in general.
Con-way is an industry leader in the transportation and logistics industry and delivers industry-leading services through its primary operating companies of Con-way Freight, Con-way Truckload, and Menlo Worldwide Logistics.
CAD: How many drivers do you employ? How large is your fleet?
Con-way: We employ an average 2,750 company drivers, 300 of which are teams, and an additional 200 Owner Operators.
CAD: What kind of equipment do you use?
Con-way: We have a mixed fleet of mostly Kenworths, Navistars, Volvos and Freightliners. Our newest tractors are equipped with leading safety technologies.
CAD: What type of freight do you haul? Who are some of your typical freight customers?
Con-way: General commodities, but everything is in a 53-foot dry van. To name a few of our customers, we have Tractor Supply, Con-way Freight, Sears and Michaelâ€™s. Along with the 48 states, we also run cross-border into Canada and have significant business with Mexico. Recently, we began to also offer an intermodal service.
CAD: Describe your corporate culture in three words.
Con-way: Safe Driver Focus. My favorite question to ask is â€œname one thing in your house that was not delivered by a truck.â€ It is amazing how much trucking impacts every American and the economy on a daily basis. It takes a safe driver with support from their company to make the world go round.
CAD: What do you feel differentiates Con-way from your competitors?
Con-way: To our drivers: Driver-friendly freight, family atmosphere, and top-of-the-line equipment.To our customers: On time, exceptional service from our professional drivers. We promise to safely pick up and deliver your freight with a 98 percent on-time delivery rate.
CAD: What do you look for in a driver beyond the basic hiring requirements?
Con-way: Passion. Living as an over-the-road driver requires passion. Itâ€™s challenging to adapt to all the facets of life on the road. Passion for the job relates to more than just flexibility, sleeping schedules, and industry changes. It is also a passion for everyone else on the road. At Con-way Truckload our first safety principle is â€œwe expect everyone to return home safely.â€ This includes the passenger car next to our tractor headed on a family vacation. Frequently we receive letters praising our professional drivers for being good Samaritans who pull over and help distressed travelers.
CAD: How do you compensate drivers? How much do Con-way drivers typically earn?
Con-way: We pay by the mile, with an average annual income of $50,000+, as well as a competitive benefits package. Drivers have the opportunity to earn safety bonuses in addition to their annual income. Professional drivers are also eligible to participate in lucrative driver referral programs. We are also pet and passenger friendly, making it affordable for our professional drivers to bring a companion. Benefits include paid vacations, insurance, holiday pay and a 401K program.
CAD: Tell us about your student driver program.
Con-way: Drivers are required to come to us within 30 days of graduation. We send them to an additional seven day driver training program ending with a finisher for 10,000 miles. Students can earn $40,000+ in their first year and they are also eligible for the aforementioned compensation and benefits package. We also have a tuition assistance program, where we subsidize half the tuition cost with our partner schools.
CAD: What do you do to help women succeed in a male dominated industry?
Con-way: Whether a man or a woman, a driver must be able to perform the job professionally. We pride ourselves on being one of the first trucking companies to treat women equally. We carry this tradition today and as a woman, I appreciate when I am given equal responsibility. With that being said, women face additional challenges in a male dominated industry. We provide a variety of information to help out on the road; many tips are on our Steering Your Health blog.CAD: Youâ€™re very active on social media and are taking an innovative approach to hiring through your True 2 Blue website. Tell us about the site and why you went with this approach to recruitment?
Con-way: Drivers are technologically savvy and the conversations, in large part, have moved online. We want to reach drivers in the channels they prefer. Itâ€™s a mobile world and weâ€™re always exploring the most efficient ways to communicate to both our current and future drivers. Plus, we get to share fun stories online and drivers can get a flavor for our personality and culture as a company.
CAD: Weâ€™ve noticed that your website advertising showcases real driversâ€™ faces. Can you tell us how that fits into your broader recruitment strategy?
Con-way: We only use our real drivers and we love to celebrate our diverse driver group. Con-way Truckload drivers come from all corners of the world in many different life stages. We are too realistic to think cookie cutter images of drivers and the industry are relatable. It is a tough job with many industry challenges and we want to share the everyday stories of life on the road. This is information coming from your peers.
CAD: Whatâ€™s your outlook for the trucking industry for the rest of the year? Any particularly significant developments that will impact your business?
Con-way: We are excited about our new safety technologies and additions to our Owner Operator program. On the other hand, we have the challenges posed by the impending hours-of-service changes and CSA regulations. Driving has always been a cyclical profession with seasonal variances we have come to expect.