Despite an increasingly progressive mindset about women’s inclusion in the workspace, it is still quite unheard of in Pakistan for them to be working as Courier Riders. In recent times, we have heard of incidences of such female heroes, but they are mostly isolated instances. While some brave women have taken up jobs as cab drivers, seeing a girl working as a rider with a courier company is still a rare occurrence.
This is about to change as CallCourier is bringing women riders into the mainstream with their initiative to hire Female Couriers. Established in 2017, CallCourier has turned into one of Pakistan’s fastest growing Cash-On-Delivery (COD) services with a large client base of online brands in their portfolio (see how CallCourier is disrupting COD market here). Now, with their initiative to hire Female Couriers, they have set themselves apart within the logistics industry.
But, is CallCourier is a true pioneer of female couriers in Pakistan? “Yes, we are one of the pioneers in our business category and have been hiring female courier riders since early 2019,” answers Farah Farouk, Senior Manager, Communication at CallCourier. “But unlike others in the industry, we did not incorporate this aspect in our brand communication until recently.”
Taking gender inclusion and diversity to the next level
“We started off with just five female riders in Lahore and within a span of 12 months, have hired more in Karachi and Islamabad. We are looking towards expanding in other cities soon as well. Building a parallel ‘Female Only’ fleet is part of our vision for the future and hence within the organization, the idea has always been accepted and encouraged, like any other milestone,” Farah adds.
Currently, CallCourier is working on a specific ‘Last-Mile-Delivery’ model within the logistics industry. It is a COD service only, and is working with more than 7,000 e-commerce businesses and delivering to over 500 destinations nationwide in 24-48 hours. However, they are taking some major steps soon and expanding their services in Lahore with the coming of the New Year.
“If we look around, we can find similar, gender-inclusive initiatives taken by various other organizations in recent times all around us. But, in the niche category of the logistics business that we have been successfully operating in since 2017, we were and still are the first to make the move in 2019,” Farah informs.
An enabling job structure for female couriers
“At CallCourier, we believe that companies have a key role to play as change agents in building an inclusive organizational culture. We understand that the future depends on gender inclusion with women playing an important role in shaping our economy,” Farah explains.
With this vision of the future, CallCourier provides its Female Riders an equal opportunity and supportive work environment. On top, they also allow flexi work hours, health coverage, and a competitive salary package with daily allowances, and provide them with a brand new Scooty upon hiring.
To encourage them further, limited shipments are allocated to them so they have the option to take the job as a supplemental income or to independently support themselves while pursuing an education. Working for CallCourier, female riders can earn up to PKR 40–50K per month along with other employment benefits.
“It is worth mentioning here that three of the five female courier riders from Lahore are prominent sports athletes,” reveals Farah. “The first one is a National Level Tennis Player ranked 13th in Pakistan. The second one represents Pakistan in Archery internationally, and is also part of the WAPDA’s national team. Whereas the third is a Hockey player, currently playing at National Level for the WAPDA team and has represented the country on international tours in the past.”
Offering a well-structured career pathway to riders
What’s more interesting is that at CallCourier, a courier rider’s career is not just limited to one role as the opportunity for progress is the same across the board. They ensure that career pathways for riders can reflect their skills and interests, irrespective of their gender, that is if their aspirations lie elsewhere within the organization.
“A rider can move up the trajectory and work towards becoming a Supervisor, a Branch Manager or Coordinator, a Zone Manager or even Head of Operations as per his/her capability and aspiration,” informs Farah. “We believe in merit and equal opportunity, so if a rider shows interest in developing a career with us, they can. Our aim is always to retain and nurture our human resource so they can become the best versions of themselves,” she adds.
In these pandemic times, CallCourier is making the job safe for both its staff and customers through strict adherence to all government-defined SOPs. These also include complete sanitization of shipments at all stages of handling up till delivery. “The health of our employees as well as our customers is extremely important to us as a service catering to thousands of citizens across the nation,” Farah adds.
With this pioneering initiative to hire Female Couriers and developing female-only fleets, CallCourier has joined the ranks of the next generation of businesses that are expanding their efforts to strengthen and retain female talent, by working towards encouraging women to not let gender roles define who they are.