With older individuals looking to stay in the workforce longer, whether by financial need or choice, McDonald’s is teaming with AARP to help fill open roles. It’s part of a broader job-culture shift.
Fast food has long carried a reputation as being the kind of job someone just getting their start in the working world might take. But a new collaboration between AARP and McDonald’s is taking a different approach—by offering options to older people who want to stay in the workforce.
USA Today revealed this week that the fast-food chain would work with the association as McDonald’s tries to fill 250,000 jobs this summer. The initiative, which will include positions that range from cashier to shift manager, builds on prior efforts by the company to expand its job-recruiting horizons, but it represents the first national campaign put on by McDonald’s.
For employees, it could be a way to avoid retirement if they prefer to keep working. But it’s also something of a sign of the times: The USA Today report notes that by 2024, roughly a quarter of Americans in the workforce will be over the age of 55.
Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president for financial resilience, noted to the newspaper that the reasons older workers choose to reenter the workforce vary greatly.
“Some of them have never recovered from the Great Recession,” Weinstock said. “Some of them have not had the opportunity to put away money for retirement in a way they would like. … But we’re also living longer and living healthier, so there’s a lot of 65-year-olds who are very vibrant and have no interest in retiring. So this is an opportunity for them to continue to work and to continue to contribute.”
There are benefits for the employer as well—older employees, having spent their lives in the working world already, have good soft skills, which makes them a good fit for fast-food restaurants, where a lot of interaction with both coworkers and customers is common.
It’s not the first time AARP has teamed with employers to help fill its job board. A Bloomberg piece from last fall noted that companies such as Bob Evans were using the job board to fill positions. One person the news service interviewed, South Carolina-based Church’s Chicken Manager Stevenson Williams, worked his way up the ranks to store manager over a four-year period. He started as a dishwasher.
“It’s fun for a while, not getting up, not having to punch a clock, not having to get out of bed and grind every day,” the 63-year-old Williams told the outlet. “But after working all your life, sitting around got old. There’s only so many trips to Walmart you can take. I just enjoy Church’s Chicken. I enjoy the atmosphere, I enjoy the people.”