McDonald’s is looking to hire thousands of Southern California workers as it gears up for the busy summer season, but filling those slots amid the current labor shortage might be tough.
The fast-food chain will hold a Drive-Up Hiring Day on Tuesday, May 17 where applicants can drive up to one of more than 200 McDonald’s locations and get an interview on the spot. Job seekers can stay in their vehicles or sit in designated areas for the interviews.
The company needs to fill a variety of part-time and full-time positions, and employment with the company comes with perks.
But filling all of those openings? That might be easier said than done, according to economist Robert Kleinhenz.
“There’s a labor shortage going on, and not just in the entry-level range but elsewhere as well,” he said. “We’re in a tight labor market with lowest unemployment rate we’ve seen in 50 years. And when you look at the pool of people who would fill those jobs — people ages 16 to 24 — that pool is relatively small.”
Jot Condie, president and CEO of the California Restaurant Association, said some restaurants are facing a tougher time than others as a result of the labor shortage.
“It’s not uncommon to see some of these mom-and-pop restaurants closing on a weekday because they can’t meet the high demand,” he said. “That probably won’t happen with McDonald’s because they’ve got it down to a science — but their lines are still long.”
Kleinhenz said the slim labor pool means McDonald’s will likely have to work its way up the age ladder for new employees, and that means paying them more. Still, some factors play in the company’s favor.
“The economy is actually doing well right now,” he said. “But inflation is high and there is the possibility of a recession on the horizon. Some people are probably thinking, ‘Jeez, if I can get a job right now, I’ll take it.’ “
Pay levels for fast-food workers have come under heavy scrutiny in the past decade. Pro-labor policymakers and advocacy groups like Fight for 15, which argues for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, have pressured restaurant chains to boost wages.
Postings for McDonald’s “crew team members” in such cities as Ontario, La Verne, Buena Park and West Covina list an hourly wage of $16, while openings for “closing crew team memebers” pay $16 to $17 an hour.
The pay for assistant general managers and various other positions is not listed. California’s current minimum wage is $15 an hour for large companies with more than 26 employees.
McDonald’s employees can take advantage of education benefits to earn a high school diploma or take ESL classes. They can also receive tuition assistance and free educational and career guidance from through Archways to Opportunity, the company’s signature education and career-advising program.
Seventy-eight percent of restaurant operators said recruiting and retaining employees was their top challenge, according to data from a 2021 National Restaurant Association survey. More recent data from the association have added inflation and supply-chain issues to the list.
“The economy is pretty close to full employment right now,” Condie said. “Restaurants are battling for the same small pool of available and willing applicants. The balance of power has shifted almost completely to the workers.”
McDonald’s posted net income of $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2022. That was down 28% from the same period a year earlier, partly due to the company’s decision to temporarily shutter restaurants in Russia and Ukraine as a result of the war.
McDonald’s has more than 40,000 locations worldwide, with 93% owned and operated by independent business owners.
Source: Orange County Register