Here’s a quote from Ron Painter, president of the National Association of Workforce Boards from April: “People all over the country are facing challenges that are driving them back into the workforce and we need to connect them with employers that provide respect, dignity, and opportunities for advancement and connection.”
McDonald’s collaborated with the AARP and AARP Foundation in 2019 to identify and connect with mature workers. This included job postings on AARP’s board and a pilot program to ensure jobs are a match for the company. The latter leveraged AARP Foundation’s Senior Community Service Employment Program and BACK TO WORK 50+ workforce development programs. McDonald’s said the process helped franchisees “hire a multi-generational workforce for their restaurants allowing older Americans access to the educational and career benefits available to McDonald’s employees as they re-enter the workforce.” The pilot kicked off in five states—Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina—before rolling out nationwide.
"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 [quick-service restaurant] industry and we hope others follow,” Susan Weinstock, AARP vice president for financial resilience, said in a statement at the time.
Without making a case for one generation or the other as far as quality of work goes, here’s another reason to consider age diversification.
From 2010–2018, the BLS said employment grew at 1.7 percent annually. And it’s about to slow. From 2018–2030, the NRA projects, it will drop one percentage point to 0.7 percent. Per that rate, there will be about 17.2 million restaurant and foodservice jobs in 2030.
If tight workforce expansion suggests a negatively growing economy, as it often does, it’s going to become increasingly difficult for restaurants to provide higher wages and hours to employees. Yet those are the exact things required to attract the next generation of talent.