Employer Branding at McDonald's: Redefining McJobs

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Case Details:
Case Code : HROB121
Case Length : 26 pages
Period : 2001-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : McDonald's Corporation
Industry : Fast food
Countries : UK; Europe; USA

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"What it did brilliantly was make an assessment of the large gap between external perceptions and the internal reality of work at McDonald's. They then worked hard to redefine the meaning of 'McJob' by putting forward irrefutable evidence about the quality of jobs they offer."1

- Andy Dolby, managing director of Barkers Resourcing2, in November 2008.

"But bridging the divide between people's perceptions of the McJob and the positive employment experience of people actually working for the brand is not going to be easy. While our employees tell me that they find the comments made about 'people like them' upsetting and demeaning, if we argue our case too stridently, we risk the old Shakespearian dilemma of seeming to be "protesting too much". We intend, instead, to acknowledge the McJob and all it has come to represent, and respectfully offer objective evidence that might challenge people's preconceptions." 3

- David Fairhurst, senior vice president people (UK and Northern Europe), McDonald's Corporation, in March 2006.


In early 2009, when an outlet of the world's leading fast food chain, McDonald's Corporation (McDonald's), in western Ireland put up a "Now Hiring" banner on its site, it received more than 500 applications. These included applications from bankers, architects, and accountants.4 Analysts viewed this as a sign of the troubled times with a recessionary trend setting in. But experts also pointed out that it was an indication that the company had been largely successful in bridging the gap between external perceptions of work at McDonald's and the internal reality through effective employer branding initiatives.

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1] "Brand Aid," People Management, November 13, 2008.
2] Barkers Resourcing is a UK-based consultancy company that assists its clients in reducing attrition rates, improving employee efficiency, employer branding, etc.
3] Ruth Mortimer, "The US Follows the UK's Lead on McJobs," www.brandstrategy.wordpress.com, May 16, 2007.
4] David Sharrock, "Ireland's Dream is Over as Bankers Chase McJobs," www.business.timesonline.co.uk, April 8, 2009.


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