Golden opportunity: How McDonald’s helps Canadian youth kickstart their careers

Photo via McDonald's Canada
Photo via McDonald's Canada

Since McDonald’s first opened in Canada in Richmond, B.C. back in 1967, countless people across the country have worked behind the counter or in the kitchens and Drive-Thrus of one of its many locations. It’s a well-known fact that McDonald’s is a popular choice for those entering the workforce for the first time, but many people don’t realize there are major benefits to the gig that go beyond the paycheque—especially for Canadian youth.

A flexible, inclusive environment

As one of the top employers of youth in Canada, a job at McDonald’s offers young people the work-life balance they require as they juggle the many demands of school, extracurriculars, friends, and family. By offering flexible schedules and allowing Crew members to choose their own hours, a job at McDonald’s means not having to give up the stuff you love to do in order to earn an income. Whether it’s a few hours after school, weekends only, or full-time during the summer months, McDonald’s Canada and its independent franchisees enable youth to achieve the balance they’re looking for at this stage of their lives.

With today’s younger generation also prioritizing companies that support diversity and inclusion, McDonald’s Canada continues to work towards the company’s global diversity, equity and inclusion goals and provide a safe, equitable work environment. McDonald’s Canada believes a diverse workforce is critical to the success of the company, and is committed to making this a continued priority. McDonald’s Canada has recently announced the continued pursuit of this aspiration, using its influence and scale to accelerate meaningful and overdue societal change for Crew and managers, franchisees and their suppliers, guests, and communities. This means global actions on a local level designed to:

  • Represent the diverse communities in which they operate

  • Accelerate cultures of inclusion and belonging

  • Dismantle barriers to economic opportunity

So, young people can feel good about working for a company that embodies their values and strives to make a meaningful difference in their communities.

More than just a part-time job

Photo via McDonald's Canada
Photo via McDonald's Canada

With today’s youth facing an uncertain job market, the pressure to find a job that offers relevant career training and work experience can feel overwhelming. And while you might think working at a quick service restaurant is just about flipping burgers and cooking fries, McDonald’s company-owned and independently franchised restaurants provide staff with the necessary skills to enable them to reach their long-term career goals.

Not only does a first job at McDonald’s teach young people about food service and hospitality, it’s also a great way to learn critical skills like teamwork, leadership, communication, and time management. In a recent survey* of Canadian residents who are currently or have previously worked at a McDonald’s restaurant in Canada, 70 percent said they learned or improved their customer service skills at the job, while 63 percent of former McDonald’s restaurant employees say they still use the skills they learned on the job in their current role.

Thinking that a job in food service has nothing to do with where you eventually want to end up? Think again—the same survey* showed that Canadian residents with previous McDonald’s work experience went on to work in a variety of diverse fields, such as education, healthcare, and government. For those looking to secure work in exciting and competitive fields, a first job at McDonald’s can serve as a launchpad to fulfilling their career ambitions.

Supporting higher education

Photo via McDonald's Canada
Photo via McDonald's Canada

Another huge benefit to working at McDonald’s is the company’s emphasis on providing employees with the tools to further their education. Through its Archways to Opportunity program, the company partners with over 31 colleges and universities across Canada, offering educational opportunities to restaurant managers for advanced placement into Business Diploma and Business Degree programs.

Real-life success stories

When you embark on your first job at McDonald’s, where you start isn’t necessarily where you’re going to end up. A perfect example of this is Michèle Boudria, who first began her McDonald’s journey in 1984 as a restaurant Crew member in Aylmer, Quebec. Over the years, Boudria took on regional, national, and international leadership roles of increasing responsibility, and most recently, taking the reins as McDonald’s Canada’s current (and first-ever female) President and CEO earlier this spring.

And she’s in good company, with numerous former Crew members rising through the ranks, from Joe Guzzo, a current franchisee who started as Crew member in 1975 while attending high school, to Sarah Lee, whose McDonald’s story began at age 15. Today, she facilitates the company’s leadership and training programs.

Examples like these are reflective of McDonald’s commitment to promoting talent from within, and make it easy to see why one-in-ten Canadians* have worked on a team at a McDonald’s company-owned or independently franchised restaurant at some point in their lives. With operations in over 100 countries and endless career opportunities available both at home and abroad, the sky truly is the limit for those wishing to stay, and grow, within the company. It’s just one more way McDonald’s helps Canadians graduate from that all-important first job to building a career they can be proud of.

At McDonald’s, the future is golden. Visit McDonald’s Canada to learn more about all the good the iconic brand is doing to support Canadian communities, so you can Love what’s next.

*This survey was conducted from April 27-29, 2022 among a nationally representative sample of 2,004 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted to census on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. The survey was offered in both English and French.