McDonald’s Corporation is partnering with AARP to hire older workers this summer as it needs to fill up thousands of positions.
As part of the partnership, McDonald’s will post its available jobs on AARP online job board. The fast-food giant is looking for people who will fill approximately 250,000 available positions this summer.
The jobs range from cashier to shift managers, which are suitable for older workers because of their “soft” skills, according to AARP and McDonald’s.
Soft skills are a combination of personal attributes that enable someone to effectively and harmoniously communicate with other people. In other words, these are desirable qualities including common sense, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and positive flexible attitude when interacting with others.
The fast-food giant wants older workers to fill jobs for its breakfast and lunch hours since they are more eager to work early than its young workers—most are probably working students.
In a statement, Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. Chief People Officer, said, “For the first time ever, five generations are now working together under the Arches. 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. Thanks, in part, to our new collaboration with AARP and AARP Foundation 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.”
Kersey also told USA Today that young workers remain significant part of the company’s workforce. “They’re in school or aren’t always excited about working that 5:00 a.m. shift. So we believe matching this mature workforce with the breakfast and lunch shift…is really important.”
Older workers bring unique skill sets beneficial to McDonald’s
In a separate interview with CNBC, Kersey said workers aged 50 years or older account 11 percent of McDonald’s company-owned restaurants’ workforce. Teen workers account 40 percent of its personnel. She added that franchise locations normally have the same workforce composition, but did not provide specific data.
Keyse further stated that hiring older workers is beneficial to McDonald’s. According to her, “They bring a unique skillset that we’re very excited about.”
She also mentioned the fact that mature workers are calm under pressure. Therefore, they are ideal in problem solving and dealing with tough customers.
McDonald’s also noted that employing older workers brings surprising benefit—two way mentoring. Young employees are learning from their older co-workers and vice versa.
“An opportunity to continue to work and contribute’
Additionally, McDonald’s is working with AARP Foundation to launch a pilot program in five states including Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Indiana, and North Carolina. The program will match lower-income older workers with potential jobs.
McDonald’s and AARP Foundation will be launching the program later this summer.
In the past, the fast-food giant had smaller, local campaigns targeting older workers. Its partnership with AARP marks its first national effort to connect with this demographic.
Susan Weinstock, the vice president of financial resilience at AARP,“We’re thrilled that McDonald’s has signed AARP’s Employer Pledge. We know that employees and employers across all industries succeed when they remain committed in words and in action to hiring and maintaining an age diverse workforce. Integrating these workers with their younger staff can often bring unexpected benefits including two-way mentoring which supports growth for all. Our work with McDonald’s is a true first-of-its-kind for the QSR industry and we hope others follow.”
Separately, she explained to USA Today that some older Americans are “have never recovered from the Great Recession,” while other weren’t able to save money for retirement in a manner they want.
“But we’re also living longer and living healthier, so there’s a lot of 65-year-olds who are very vibrant and have no interest in retiring. So this is an opportunity for them to continue to work and to continue to contribute,” she added.
Furthermore, Weinstock noted, “Unfortunately some employers don’t see the value of older employees.” Some of them think that seniors don’t understand technology.
“We want to spread the word about the value of older workers. We want employers to be open to hiring them in any job, in any position they need to fill,” she said.
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that the number of adults aged 55 years or older, who are working in restaurants increased by 70 percent between 2007 and 2018.
In addition, the Bureau predicted that this group of workers will account 24.8 percent of the private labor force by 2024. Thus, older Americans are the fastest growing group of workers in the labor market.