As the workforce ages, companies are finding new ways to give older workers more chances to find work. McDonald’s is the latest to outline a plan to incorporate them into the company.

On April 24, the fast-food giant announced it was collaborating with AARP to find mature workers to join the company. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics named the 55-plus population as the fastest growing segment of the workforce. By 2024, it will represent nearly 25 percent of the civilian workforce. Americans are living longer and, in order to supplement retirement savings, many are working part-time.

“Considering the labor trends for both the 50-plus workforce and the growth of the quick service industry, McDonald’s leadership in this area is occurring an opportune time,” Ron Painter, president, National Association of Workforce Boards, said in a statement. “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. It’s encouraging to see McDonald’s stepping up to the challenge.”

McDonald’s is ramping up for busy summer months and the company plans on bringing on nearly 250,000 new hires, it said. The chain and its franchisees are not only looking to grow the number of mature workers in its workforce but also take an active step to destigmatize this subset of the workforce, McDonald’s said in a statement.

“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,” Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. chief people officer, said in a statement. “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.”

The collaboration includes a few initiatives to bring mature workers to the brand:

  • Job Postings Featured on AARP’s Job Board: McDonald’s current U.S. restaurant job postings will be featured on AARP’s job board, which only includes employers who are committed to an age-diverse workforce and looking for experienced talent. Job seekers can visit AARP’s job board to learn more and apply to a restaurant near them.
  • Pilot Program to Ensure Jobs are a Match for Candidate and Employer: McDonald’s USA will pilot a program to align employer and candidate job needs and interests by leveraging AARP Foundation’s  Senior Community Service Employment Program and BACK TO WORK 50+ workforce development programs. This process will help McDonald’s and its independent franchisees, who opt into the program, 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 will start in five states—Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina—before rolling out nationwide later this summer.

“We’re thrilled that McDonald’s has signed AARP’s Employer Pledge,” Susan Weinstock, AARP vice president for Financial Resilience said in a statement. “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 industry and we hope others follow.”

In addition to the new collaboration, McDonald’s also offers employees the chance to earn school credits and career advising services through the Archways to Opportunity program. To date, McDonald’s has given out over $58 million dollars in tuition assistance and supported 38,500 restaurant workers to achieve their educational aspirations, the company said in a statement.

Employee Management, Fast Food, Franchising, Restaurant Operations, Story, McDonald's