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McDonald's is teaming up with AARP to hire older workers

Key Points
  • McDonald's is teaming up with AARP and the AARP Foundation to find older adults willing to join its workforce.
  • Right now, about 11% of the workers at McDonald's company-owned restaurants are 50 years or older.
  • Adults age 55 years or older is one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce.
Ralf-Finn Hestoft | Corbis | Getty Images

McDonald's is teaming up with AARP and the AARP Foundation to hire more older workers.

The partnership will mean that all U.S. job postings from the fast-food giant will be featured on AARP's job board. With the AARP Foundation, McDonald's U.S. division is also piloting a program in five states to match McDonald's and any franchisees who opt into the program with older Americans looking for jobs.

McDonald's likes to tout itself as "America's best first job." But student workers lack the availability or the willingness to work breakfast and lunch hours. The Chicago-based company is also dealing with a tight labor market as it gears up to hire 250,000 people this summer. So instead, McDonald's is turning to a demographic eager for jobs: baby boomers.

Right now, about 11% of the workers at McDonald's company-owned restaurants are 50 years or older, while teen workers make up 40% of employees. Melissa Kersey, McDonald's U.S. chief people officer, said that franchised locations typically mirror those patterns, but she could not provide the specific data.

"They bring a unique skillset that we're very excited about," Kersey said in an interview.

Experience being calm under pressure, solving problems and dealing with tough customers makes older workers ideal for the job. Additionally, Kersey said that McDonald's has seen an unexpected benefit to hiring mature employees: two-way mentoring. Teen workers are learning from their older counterparts and vice versa.

Adults age 55 years or older is one of the fastest-growing segments of the workforce. The National Restaurant Association's analysis of labor data found that the number of restaurant employees in that demographic has jumped by 70% between 2007 and 2018. Economists attribute the change to longer lifespans, which means higher health-care costs and retirement saving that doesn't stretch as far as it used to.