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McDonald’s starts hiring young and old as the ‘demographic cliff’ arrives

Consumer demand
By Paul Hodges on 04-Apr-2014

McDonald'sIts really not that difficult to work out that much of the world faces a ‘demographic cliff’.

But very few companies seem to want to act on the implications.

So hats off to McDonald’s Europe for highlighting what needs to be done.

Their chief people officer, David Fairhurst, told the Financial Times this week:

The workforce is shrinking at both ends of the spectrum. There aren’t enough young people coming into the labour market and too many older people are leaving it.”  And he added that this growing shortage of workers “will become a serious barrier to economic growth in future”.

McDonald’s employ 425k people in 38 European countries, and so it has decided to develop its own plans to survive this demographic cliff.  As Fairhurst notes:

  • Three-quarters of McDonald’s staff are under 30, but it has stepped up recruitment of older workers, in some cases placing grandparents alongside grandchildren
  • Research for McDonald’s found customer satisfaction levels were on average 20% higher in restaurants that employed staff aged over 60.

He said employers also needed to invest in training and education. “There is growing evidence that a sustained economic recovery in Europe may be jeopardised by the rapid downturn in workforce growth” . If employment stopped growing, the entire burden of economic growth would be placed on productivity, which had largely stagnated in recent years. 

Mr Fairhurst also added that action by a wide range of employers was needed to increase labour market participation “so that it helps the overall economic growth which in turn helps us as a business”.