- McDonald’s USA is partnering with AARP and AARP Foundation to hire older workers, the fast-food chain announced Wednesday, saying it wants to tap into "a growing, yet underutilized workforce."
- The partnership comes as McDonald’s and its franchisees gear up to hire 250,000 workers for the summer, it said in a press release. The partnership is two-fold, McDonald's said: Its job postings will be featured on AARP's job board and a pilot program will make use of AARP Foundation workforce development programs.
- "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," said Susan Weinstock, AARP vice president for financial resilience, in a statement.
As employers continue to cope with a tight labor market, they're increasingly turning to untapped talent pools. Veterans, workers with disabilities and the formerly incarcerated, for example, have all been targets of hiring campaigns in recent months. And arrangements like the one entered into by McDonald's may become more common, as workers over 65 amount to the fastest-growing workforce segment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Still, age discrimination appears alive and well, illustrating the need for employers to train managers — especially hiring managers — on related legal mandates. The Society for Human Resource Management has called on employers to upskill older workers as well. "We all have to invest in this," CEO Johnny C. Taylor said during a press briefing last month; everyone needs to invest in retraining employees, he said.
More restaurants may begin recruiting older employees since teenage employment is expected to decline by 600,000 between 2016 and 2026. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant operators cite attracting and retaining workers as a top challenge, and SVP of research and knowledge Hudson Riehle told CNBC that today there are 1 million job vacancies in the hospitality space. But numbers of older people entering the restaurant labor force is expected to increase.
In 2016, almost 9 million adults aged 65 and older were working, an uptick of 35% from five years prior. The NRA projects that this demographic will jump 5% in the restaurant space by 2024, while employees aged 35 to 44 would increase 3.5%.
McDonald's recent announcement that it will not engage with lobbying efforts against minimum wage increases could also attract fresh labor of all ages. The company's average starting wage is more than $10 per hour at its corporate-owned stores, and it reports that franchisees offer similar wages. If its push to hire more mature workers is fruitful, other chains may follow suit to maintain their share of the labor market.