McDonald’s is to create 5,000 new UK jobs over the next 18 months, despite what the company describes as challenging economic conditions.
In making the announcement on Wednesday, Paul Pomroy, Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s UK, says the company and its franchisees remains “committed to the UK.”
The new jobs build on the 8,000 the company announced in 2014 and will bring the total number of people working for McDonald’s in the UK to 115,000.
McDonald’s is one of several companies that has publicly committed to expanding in the United Kingdom since 23rd June, when Britons voted to leave the European Union.
The announcement confirms the burger giant’s plan to expand and develop its chain of over 1,200 restaurants in the UK, around half of which are franchised.
The company is creating new UK jobs not only to staff new restaurants, but also to extend opening times – over half of its stores are now open 24/7.
“Growth has been driven by investment and innovation in the restaurant experience,” says Pomroy, as the company celebrates the completion of its 500th restaurant transformation.
The company plans to convert another 250 stores by the end of this year.
A key innovation is the new table service scheme that is now in place in 350 UK restaurants. The new scheme allows customers to place orders in digital kiosks and have their food brought to their table.
‘UK remains open for business’
Pomroy says McDonald’s has delivered 41 consecutive quarters of sales growth in the UK.
Recently appointed Business Secretary Greg Clark welcomed the announcement, describing it as “great news for the UK.” He says it “underlines that businesses are confident that the UK remains open for business.”
Since June’s “Brexit” referendum vote to leave the European Union, there have been concerns that international companies will put on hold or even withdraw plans to invest in the UK.
McDonald’s, together with its franchisees, is the world’s 4th largest employer, with 1.9 million workers. This is just behind the US supermarket giant Walmart which has 2.1 million workers (175,000 of which work for the UK supermarket chain, Asda).
McDonalds estimates its contribution to the UK economy to be worth around £2.5 billion a year in Gross Value Added (GVA), based on 2013 prices.
Young people aged 16-25 years represent nearly three quarters of the restaurant chain’s UK workforce.
McDonald’s is one of the longest-standing providers of Apprenticeships in the UK, delivered in partnership with the Government. Over 16,600 people have qualified through the company’s year-long training programme since 2006.
In recognition that “late-life workers” are now the fastest growing age group in the UK labour market, McDonald’s campaigns to encourage applications from older workers. Around 5 percent of restaurant staff are aged 45 and over, and around 1,000 employed across the business are aged 60 and over.
The announcement on new UK jobs follows less buoyant news from the global McDonald’s business, which recently reported much lower than expected quarterly sales growth at established outlets in the US.
Sales at US restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.8 percent. This is below what analysts were expecting (3.2 percent). The burger giant says it faces “a challenging environment in several key markets.”