McDonald's tries to shake the 'McJob' image

The company hopes to hire 50,000 workers today in an effort to put the burger-flipping stereotype to rest.

By Kim Peterson Apr 19, 2011 11:18AM
McDonald's (MCD) is the home of the original "McJob," though that's not a term the company particularly favors. The word even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects."

Good luck hiring with that stereotype. But that's exactly what McDonald's is doing today in a push to hire 50,000 new workers. "We're proud of our food, and we're just as proud of the jobs we create," the company says about what it has called its National Hiring Day.

Post continues after this video interview with McDonald's about its hiring push:
McDonald's says its jobs could be a way to buy a first car, put yourself through college or enter the corporate world. That last one is a bit of a stretch, but at least McDonald's has some imagination. The company says it trains people on leadership, team building and creative thinking. And most of the jobs should pay more than the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage.

Is that enough to change the "McJobs" image?

The company hopes the big public-relations boost it's giving this hiring push will help. National Hiring Day is a bit of a stunt on McDonald's part. With 14,000 U.S. locations, hiring 50,000 workers means a little more than three workers per store, on average. McDonald's hired the same number of employees last April, The Associated Press reports.

Image: Fastfood working (© Creatas/PictureQuest)In this battered economy, Starbucks (SBUX) has become the go-to alternative for people struggling to find employment, the Chicago Tribune reports. That's because Starbucks has successfully portrayed its jobs as full of long-term potential and good benefits.

Even Chick-fil-A and Panda Express have built up a good hiring story with young people, one restaurant consultant tells the Tribune. "McDonald's is considered to be a fast-food restaurant," the consultant said. "It's going to be tough for them to differentiate themselves from the other fast-food restaurants."

McDonald's has gained recognition as a top place for hourly workers. Working Mother magazine recently named the fast-food chain to its list, citing the company's tuition reimbursement, mentoring, career counseling and flexible child care spending account among the factors.

Apr 19, 2011 5:40PM

Ok, so McDonalds hires workers at minimum wage.  They are a US company following US labor laws, paying US taxes.  What are they doing to you.  If you don't want minimum wage, work somewhere else that will hire you.  Why do people always feel as though companies owe them something, even though they are not even working for them.  I have a policy in my office. If you are going to complain to me about something, fine, just have a workable solution to fix the problem.  To complain without thinking of a solution is just bitching.


Please people, don't complain about McDonalds.  If you want to fix the problem, own a McDonalds and offer hire more wages. Otherwise, please shut up.

Apr 19, 2011 4:50PM
You know, I work at McDonald's as a manager making less than $8/hr.  It's great that the hours are flexible and I have always been guaranteed hours.  I work, go to college, and have a 6 month old daughter.  Working at McDonald's does make it hard to get my bills paid, between rent, utilities, food, laundry, my daughter, tuition, it's a struggle for me every day.  I've been working with McDonald's off and on for 6 years now and I always end up back at McDonald's because it's easy to get hired there and again because of the hours I get.  It definitely has helped me grow and now I have that manager experience I can take on to whatever next job I have and after I graduate college when I open my own boutique.  I have, however, met some great people along the way.  I actually worked during the Nation Hiring Day today handing out applications and calling people over for interviews and let me tell you, it was crazy. 
Apr 19, 2011 6:13PM
So I accidentally went to McDonald's for lunch.  Well, I meant to go, but I forgot it was "hiring day" until I walked through the door.  I almost walked out.  Every table in the restaurant was filled with someone filling out an application - and I almost couldn't even sit to order.  I found a table while my friend ordered, but I spent some time looking at the applicants.  Everyone there was teenage/college age and looked like they came straight off the basketball court. I have to wonder if the real reason that people aren't finding jobs in this country isn't just due to lack of skills, but also due to lack of etiquette when applying for jobs.  I realize this is McDonald's, but I'm in my early 30's and I was still taught to show up for any interview like you are applying to be the CEO.  It truly saddens me to see how much this attitude has changed over the years.
Apr 19, 2011 4:49PM
I believe it's a good way to learn team work and the value of a dollar, a hard earned dollar. I will take my daughter there today, and she is excited about it. Let's put America back to work, and off of the free cheese. Way to go Ronald!
Apr 19, 2011 5:43PM
You have to start a career somewhere right?  Why do some of you people think this McDonalds hiring is a bad thing?   What a great way to learn the ropes of how a business operates!!  Yes it might not be for you, but for others this is a stepping stone to work your way through a great corporation.  NOBODY starts at the top!!  Yes, it might not pay well to start, but why should you expect to make top dollar on day one?
Apr 19, 2011 4:48PM
It is still a great job for high schoolers/college students.  Too many high school students feel they are above working there.  What a shame!  It teaches values!  For adults without a job, it can put some money in your pocket until you find a better job.
Apr 19, 2011 6:12PM
I never post comments but having read those that have posted I felt impelled to this time. I've worked fast food (McDonald's and Jack In The Box) and it isn't the job that's below me. It is dealing with the customers who think you are below them. You know what Hell is? It's working Cheeseburger Sunday at McDonald's. Cheeseburgers for $0.39 and everyone in town or passing through town stops by to order 40+ cheeseburgers. Yes I said 40+. When you tell them there's a limit to 20 per customer (of which there were several signs posted) they freak and cuss you out. Or how about working at a Jack In The Box on a Valentine's day (huge business day in the city I worked) and only two other employees show up? As a Shift Leader I had to close down the dining room, work the Drive-Thru and back up the fryer and grill people when I couldn't take any more orders. Had more than enough people talking trash to me during this. I work my butt off and get treated like garbage. That is why I will not go back to fast food. It is not the work that is beneath me, it is the customers.
Apr 19, 2011 5:12PM
Why is that every time something happens its Obama's fault. Times are not tough simply because one man was elected. Get a grip people at least McDonald's is trying, how are you helping. If someone who didn't have a job before this so called stunt has one then good. Start your own company why don't you instead of complaining about the efforts of another.
Apr 19, 2011 12:50PM

Mickey D's has a strange vision of itself.

Close your eyes and say fast food.  Odds are you think McDonalds.

That's the way it is.

Here in Texas there's little diversity at McD...most employees speak spanish.

McJob seems to hit home as a reality.


Oh, I am a stockholder of McDonalds.

Apr 19, 2011 6:18PM

Congratulations!!  Don’t be discouraged by any negative comments.  Keep it up! The economy needs this type of initiatives to re-bust the current economy status.  GOOD JOB!  ;-)  Keep Pushing for more jobs across the nation! Smile

Apr 19, 2011 4:34PM
geez at   $ 8.00 an hour i might be able to afford a value meal & a gallon of gas if i work double shifts
Apr 19, 2011 4:58PM
I know someone who was just hired by McDonalds.  Went in for orientation just to be instructed to make a call and give someone on the other end some personal information such as your unemployment ifformation, state assistance, and tax information.  She was told that if she meets certain requirements that McDonalds gets some type of tax break.  Now with this she is given her work schedule of 10 hours over a 2 week period.  REALLY?  This is the best you can do.  Now we know why McDonalds is having this big hire.  WHAT A JOKE!  This wont even pay her gas to get there................
Apr 19, 2011 6:38PM

At the age of fourteen I became a McDonalds employee. I was my second job, but my first REAL one. (Paycheck and dress code) Although there were times when I hated it, like Lot and Lobby duty, I must say I had a blast working there and I still talk about to my sons. Working there fueled my passion for cooking and equipped me with transferable job skills that I still use to this day in a totally different type of occupation. I wouldn't want to work there now at the age of 35 ....but  recommend I will be sending my son down to fill out an application!

Apr 19, 2011 5:27PM
One person mentioned that you don't see too many high school students working at McDonald's.  It seems to be immigrant labor.  I know of a time where they were hiring older workers and I don't see that anymore.  What a shame.  A lot of older workers need the extra income because they are on a fixed income many times and can't work full time.  When I was in England, I saw a lot of older workers at fast food chains such as Wimpy's (the equivalent to McDonald's here in the states) all the time.  This was in the late 80's; maybe the trend has changed.
McDonald's actions aren't helping anyone.  To accomplish this "Hire 15,000 today" they forced many people that had 40 hour work weeks drop their hours to 20-24 hours so they could cut benefits, pay and brag about how great they are, what a bunch of garbage.  The press that tells this story as a great thing for America, should be ashamed!
Apr 19, 2011 4:48PM
This is so bogus! They arnt really looking for more people, just a better press image. My daughter just applied to McDonalds three days ago and was turned down because she has no job experience! Give me a break! Does McDonalds not want students flippin their burgers anymore?
Apr 19, 2011 6:10PM

I know tomorrow's 4:20 but it looks like some of yall started a bit early.


This has less to do with Obama or HCR or any myth that American business is scared of presidential policies limiting their ability to make a buck in bad times (any current profit and productivity charts out there will tell you very quickly that corporate America is doing just fine with Obama as president) and more to do with the GLOBALIZATION of labor, and the subsequent equalization of wages across the international labor market.


You want cheap crap from "Third World" countries? You want everyday value pricing? Well this is the trade off: lower wages, greater competition across a larger labor pool, and less benefits. Sorry, but it is what it is. 

Apr 19, 2011 6:17PM
Working2jobs: I am not complaining. It is a good thing McDonald is doing ! The solution is up to us. We need to bring back good paying American jobs that our government allowed to be outsourced since 2000. It is biting the American economy in the butt. But our government officials dont have to worry because they have set themselves up them with numeruos safety nets. So the only people suffering are the common workers. We need to vote out all incumbants, and hopefully replace them with caring officials.
Apr 19, 2011 7:10PM
First of all, it is a job. It may not be glamorous, the pay may not be as great as other companies, and it might have a bad image. Too many people are out of work, on food stamps, and out of a place to live. Everyone complains about the unemployment rate, and how hard it is to find a job. I was in the same situation. I was a stay at home mother of two daughters, and my husband works full time. We could not afford our bills, feed our children, and for him to make it back and forth to work. I have been searching for a job for over a year; I put my application in to McDonald's. I showed up to my interview dressed nicely, with makeup, appropriate jewelry, and on time. Like someone previously said, the lack of  jobs could pinned down to lack of skills and etiquette. However, I got a job at McDonald's. I am proud to say I am working there. I can go to bed each night knowing I am doing my part to care for my family. Races have nothing to do with the jobs, I think it comes down to how many are willing to actually work a "not-so-glamorous" jobs to pay the bills. I am white, so bite me about this comment: there are some "white" people that are too "good" to work a job at McDonald's. They feel they are above this job. I feel people need to quit complaining and just accept it as it is: A JOB.
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