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McDonald’s vows to hire more older workers

The company is working with AARP to target employees as it seeks to hire 250,000 for the summer.
Photograph courtesy of McDonald's Corp.

McDonald’s, whose franchisees need to hire 250,000 people by this summer, is turning to a population it has long overlooked: Older employees.

The Chicago-based burger giant on Wednesday announced a unique collaboration with AARP and the AARP Foundation to target older employees to work inside its nearly 14,000 U.S. fast-food restaurants.

The collaboration will involve job postings on the organization’s job board and a program to align the needs of the employer and job candidate.

“Together with our franchisees we have a responsibility to each generation to provide opportunity, flexibility, and resources for wherever they are on their career journey,” Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. chief people officer, said in a statement. “We’re looking to position McDonald’s as a place where people at every stage of working life can see themselves grow and thrive while bringing stability and a different perspective that everyone can learn from.”

McDonald’s work with AARP comes as restaurants nationwide grapple with a shortage of workers in many markets that are driving up wages and often leading to staffing shortfalls that hurt service and often sales.

The company’s operators are gearing up for their annual summer hiring efforts as they look to staff restaurants expected to be busier over the warmer months. The company, which has long prided itself on providing Americans with their first job, now wants to target a more experienced group.

It’s a fast-growing group. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that Americans 55 and older will represent nearly a quarter of the civilian workforce by 2024. The food and beverage labor force is expected to grow 14% by 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

To get jobs posted on the AARP’s job board, McDonald’s had to sign onto the group’s “Employer Pledge,” meaning the company is committed to an “age-diverse workforce” and is looking for experienced talent.

The pilot program, meanwhile, will use the AARP Foundation’s workforce development programs that help older employees re-enter the workforce by giving them on-the-job training at McDonald’s restaurants. Franchises opt into the program. That program will start in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina, and will roll out nationwide this summer.

“We know that employees and employers across all industries succeed when they remain committed in words and action to hiring and maintaining an age-diverse workforce,” Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president for financial resilience, said in a statement. “Our work with McDonald’s is a true, first-of-its-kind for the QSR industry and we hope others follow.”

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