Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Why It Matters


At McDonald’s, we recognize that our impact and influence go even further than the 65 million people who visit us daily, the 2.2 million people who work in our restaurants and the approximately 7,700 employees who work in our corporate offices.

In 2020, the issues of prejudice and systemic racism returned to dominate the headlines again, leading to a renewed demand for action. This public outcry has not only heightened our sense of responsibility but has also led us to renew our commitment to equality and our need to champion changes that drive equitable opportunity for all. 

Our ambition is to accelerate long-overdue societal change, with actions guided by our values that help make equity, fairness and opportunity the lived experience for everyone in the communities where we work. The business case for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been proven for years – yet progress in implementing and supporting these ideas has been slow in companies of all sizes, across industries. 

The social reckoning we are now experiencing reflects society’s frustration with this lack of progress and underscores the demand for real action, and for companies to see through their commitments to DEI. As a world-leading brand that considers inclusion one of our core values, we will accept nothing less than real, measurable progress in our efforts to lead with empathy, treat people with dignity and respect, and seek out diverse points of view to drive better decision-making.


We have to acknowledge that some people in our own System feel like they haven’t been given a fair opportunity. We’ve got to face up to that fact and do better.

Our Strategy 


Guided by our values, we are committed to being better allies, better sponsors and better leaders, helping to create a future where equality, fairness and opportunity are not just goals but the lived experience of everyone.

Over the years, we have been working to identify the challenges creating barriers to opportunity. As a business operating in nearly 120 diverse markets, it will take time to get to the root of these barriers. In 2020, we responded to the outcry for change by taking new steps to listen to all our employees. We set up a global advisory council with senior leaders representing all areas of our system from markets around the world, and we are building out specific actions to ensure we elevate all voices and drive action and accountability.


Through our global advisory council, we have aligned on a global aspiration that we will use our influence and scale to accelerate meaningful and overdue societal change for our employees, franchisees, suppliers, customers and communities. 


Moving forward, we have committed to: 


  • Represent the diverse communities in which we operate.

  • Accelerate cultures of inclusion and belonging.

  • Dismantle barriers to economic opportunity.


To support this effort, our global actions will include:


  • Addressing any hiring bias, and reducing any barriers for underrepresented populations, in order to increase the diversity of our leadership and better represent the communities we serve.

  • Enhancing efforts to attract and recruit more diverse Franchisees.

  • Reducing any barriers that may be preventing diverse suppliers from entering the McDonald’s system, and increasing our spend in this space.

  • Auditing our advertising and restaurant experiences to ensure they reflect the needs of our customers.


These actions – and others – will be underscored by a Mutual Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This is a pledge that we ask anyone who does business with McDonald’s to make, and commits them to progress diversity, equity and inclusion across their own organization. We recognize that McDonald’s has the opportunity to accelerate change – not just in our own business but also in those which we work with – by encouraging partners to build the talent pipelines, infrastructure and culture that support increased representation and inclusion, and close equity gaps.

We are midway through a substantive review of the challenges and opportunities that exist across our business, in order to create meaningful, measurable and actionable changes. Once we have completed this process and have targets in place, we plan to share our specific commitments and progress.


Evolving Our Global Gender Balance Strategy 

On International Women’s Day 2019, we launched our Better Together: Gender Balance & Diversity strategy. The aim of the strategy has been to improve the representation of women at all levels of the Company by 2023, while also achieving gender equality in career advancement and championing the impact of women on the business. 

This commitment is the foundation of our global DEI ambition, and the work will continue to evolve under the pillars of our broader diversity strategy, which sets out how we will better represent the diverse communities in which we operate, accelerate cultures of inclusion and belonging, and dismantle barriers to economic opportunity.

To support the Better Together strategy, we signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which will continue to act as an important guiding force as we increase our global efforts to address this critical issue.


Collaborating With Stakeholders

As we shape our strategies, we will continue to seek feedback and guidance from key external stakeholders with expert knowledge and experience in diversity, inclusion, gender equality and women’s empowerment, to ensure our approach has the greatest reach and impact.

McDonald’s has also established partnerships with several community-based organizations. These relationships provide us with direct insights into the issues and challenges facing our communities, both where we are neighbors as well as business owners.  In the U.S. alone, we partner with over 60 diverse organizations.

Over the years, our key partners have included:

American Indian College Fund

Ascend Foundation

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund


Congressional and Black Caucus Foundation


Diversity Best Practices (DBP)

Global Summit of Women

Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement

Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)

Human Rights Campaign

IMPACT Leadership Development Program – Chicago Urban League

Junior Achievement USA

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

National Urban League

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

PUSH Excel

Red Cross

UN Women

US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)

Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF)


McDonald’s continues to be an amazing partner and advocate for the APIA [Asian and Pacific Islander Americans] community. We are grateful for your partnership and longtime commitment not only to APIA Scholars but to the students and scholars we serve.
Noël S. Harmon, PhD, President and Executive Director, APIA Scholars


Putting Standards Into Practice

McDonald’s is committed to diversity, equal opportunity and an inclusive workplace culture. This commitment is fundamental to the way we do business and we embed it in our policies and practices, including our Human Rights Policy (PDF – 91 KB), our Standards of Business Conduct (PDF – 9.1 KB) and our Supplier Code of Conduct (PDF – 1.4 KB).

McDonald’s provides equal treatment and equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, citizenship status, disability, sexual orientation, military status,  veteran status, gender identity and expression, genetic information or any other basis protected by law. We apply this policy to our employees, applicants, independent contractors, Franchisees, vendors and suppliers. We follow this policy in all aspects of McDonald’s dealings with customers and to our employment decisions, including recruitment, hiring, placement, development, promotion, training, scheduling, benefits, compensation and termination.


Inclusive Contractual Practices

We further recognize that maintaining our commitment will require ongoing reflection on and evolution of these policies and practices. As a result, we are providing greater transparency regarding our approach to certain contractual arrangements we may enter into with employees based in the United States. Specifically, arbitration, noncompetition and nondisclosure covenants have come under public scrutiny where their overbroad application may result in inequities. With this in mind, we limit our use of such agreements as follows: 


  • We do not and will not, as a condition of employment, require mandatory arbitration of harassment and discrimination claims.

  • While leadership within the officer level, representing less than 10% of the employee population in 2019, sign noncompetition covenants, we do not require as a condition of employment any employee below the officer level to sign post-termination, noncompetition covenants, except in very limited situations as authorized by the General Counsel for an employee who has unique skills, knowledge or access to intellectual property, trade secrets or highly confidential customer information that would provide a competitor with an advantage (e.g., complex knowledge regarding menu innovation or critical technology applications or systems).

  • In the event that McDonald’s seeks a nondisclosure covenant in connection with the settlement of a harassment or discrimination claim brought by an employee or former employee against an officer of McDonald’s Corporation, we will provide notice of such arrangement to the Board of Directors to ensure the Board has appropriate oversight. 


Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

Our DEI strategy supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:

Our Actions


Creating Diverse Talent Pipelines

As part of our goal to create a bias-aware and inclusive system that enhances and supports a diverse talent pipeline, we combine cutting-edge technology with the latest strategic thinking and best recruitment practices, such as:


  • Posting jobs across over 225 wide-reaching partner platforms.

  • Maximizing long-standing community partnerships through engagement at partners’ conferences and career fairs.

  • Using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to create gender-neutral, inclusive job descriptions, and harnessing technology platforms to broaden the number of candidates we screen.

  • Strategically structuring interviews and interview guides to ensure equity and fairness throughout the selection, interview and offer process.

  • Further embedding and encouraging diverse candidate slates and interviewer panels.

  • Driving our University Talent Attraction strategy, with a focus on supporting HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and other MSIs (minority serving institutions) through job postings, messaging campaigns, career fairs and career development workshops.

  • Investing in the tools, processes and training required to create a bias-aware hiring environment.


Moving Beyond Bias

Our diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences create the lenses through which we see, and interpret the world. In 2016, we launched our Food for Thought, Beyond Bias education program to help us all make objective, simplified, collaborative choices, and analyze the nature and source of our unconscious judgments. 

The program is constantly expanding as we integrate the Beyond Bias training into existing education platforms, talent management processes, leadership development initiatives and the work of training for talent agency partners. By the end of 2019, over 10,000 people had participated in the training globally.  

In 2019, we also delivered a customized session of Beyond Bias to our talent teams and selected talent agency partners, with a focus on improving the awareness and mitigation of bias in talent selection. We also rolled out an e-learning module for restaurant workers in Company-owned restaurants globally.

Our objective is to offer an education experience where everyone is aware of their unique ability and is able to develop the meaningful relationships with colleagues that inspire and drive business growth.

two McDonald's employees in a restaurant smiling and laughing

Building Diverse Teams Around the World

Below are some examples of how we are continuing to support and grow the diversity of our teams globally:


  • In 2020, for the fifth year running, we received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, demonstrating our commitment to LGBTQ equality and inclusion through our policies, practices and benefits.

  • In the U.S., 70% of hires in 2019 were female and/or persons of color (54% female, 33% persons of color).

  • We welcomed 123 people into full-time or internship positions via our University program in 2019–2020: 81% are female and/or persons of color (52% female, 54% persons of color).

  • Arcos Dorados, one of McDonald’s Franchisees in Latin America, has diversity and inclusion as one of its strategic pillars and a key part of its long-term strategic plan. As part of this plan, the Company has assembled the Arcos Dorados Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a commitment to promote and respect individuality as a fundamental human value for life and work.

  • In markets around the world, including Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Russia, Austria and the Czech Republic, Company-owned restaurant and participating Franchisee employees can access online training to help improve their language skills and build a sense of belonging at their restaurant. 


A Proud Commitment to America’s Black Future Leaders

This year, McDonald’s USA launched a $500,000 Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Fund to help students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Many of these colleges, which support a large percentage of low-income students, have been severely hit by the impact of COVID-19, especially the unexpected costs of shifting to an online education infrastructure. This new fund is designed to help students continue their education, despite the extra stresses brought about by the pandemic.

Marissa F. is a Franchisee who runs four McDonald’s restaurants in Louisiana and has become a strong advocate of the program. “As our children grow up and plan their futures, we want to help ease some of the stress caused by paying for college,” she explains.

“We know that education is the key to success. I’m proud to be part of a global brand that is stepping up to help America’s Black future leaders continue their education during such a challenging time.”


Advancing and Retaining Diverse Talent

McDonald’s ensures that managers receive unconscious bias training in relation to career development and promotions across their teams. In addition, we offer employees many ways to advance their own careers, such as our Inspire mentoring program, development classes and stretch assignments.

Through the ongoing assessment and management of our talent pipeline, and proactive mentoring and sponsorship by senior leaders, we support the career progression of high-potential and diverse talent. In 2019, we launched a global mentoring program to enable more women to progress to the most senior levels of the organization. During its first year, 30 women across eight different countries took part in the program, which is set to expand further in 2020.


Supporting Diverse Employee Business Networks

Our employee business networks (EBNs) promote an inclusive work environment, fostering relationships, supporting career development opportunities and helping businesses to grow. EBNs also provide a source of mentors, role models and sponsors, as well as giving members access to senior leadership, information on career strategies and opportunities for advancement. 

We have eight employee business networks in the U.S., with members across 10 U.S. Field Offices, Company-owned restaurants and our corporate headquarters. Our Global Women’s Leadership Network operates in 16 countries and continues to expand.


Opening Up Access to Education for Diverse Restaurant Staff

To support career and personal advancement, we offer targeted education and development programs that enable people working in our restaurants to leverage opportunities that they may not otherwise have access to. This is a critical strategy to ensure that diverse talent, often from underserved communities, can reach their potential. 

Our Youth Opportunity program offers young people the pre-employment training and support they need to enter the workplace, and is a key part of our commitment to tackle youth unemployment. Piloted in Chicago in 2018, we expanded the program to Washington D.C. in July 2019. 


  • To date, 57% of those who enrolled in our pilot program were women.

  • 71% of all program graduates were in education or employment 60 days after completion.

  • Women represented 53% of those who were in education or employment after completing the program.


In addition, in the fall of 2020 McDonald’s Youth Opportunity initiative extended the Passport to Success (PTS) Explorer digital curriculum to reach up to 100,000 young people from various non-profits, community organizations and post-secondary institutions supporting diverse communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the PTS Explorer digital curriculum provides youth the opportunity to learn valuable life skills, such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, healthy relationship building, and conflict management. More than 430,000 Opportunity Youth have been hired as crew members in Company-owned or participating Franchisee restaurants since the program launched and more than 420,000 young people have been given access to training in markets across the globe including the U.S., Latin America, Italy, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and many more.


Strengthening Diversity and Inclusion With Our Franchisees and Suppliers

Over 2,600 independent, local U.S. owners have access to five advocacy groups. These include:


  • The National Black McDonald’s Operator Association

  • The McDonald’s Hispanic Operator Association

  • The Women’s Operator Network

  • The Asian McDonald’s Operator Association

  • The McDonald’s Owner Operator Pride Network


We are working toward enterprise-wide excellence with our suppliers on a global scale, and we are committed to purchasing goods and services from business partners representing the diverse populations that we serve.

Our Performance


By 2023: improve the representation of women at all levels of McDonald’s; achieve gender equality in career advancement; and champion the impact of women on the business.


We are proud that, as of 2019, women account for over half (54%) of our staff employees and over a quarter (28%) of our Officers, a 2% increase from 2018. There is, however, more to do.


Gender Diversity Representation: 
Staff Employees1


% Women20182019
All Staff % Women5454
Director+ % Women3839
Officers % Women2628


Gender Diversity Representation: Company-Owned Restaurant Employees2


% Women20182019
All Crew % Women5656
Shift Manager % Women6167
Manager % Women6468


1 2018 data includes aggregate numbers from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. 2019 data includes aggregate numbers from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. Employees located in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore offices are not included.

2 2018 data includes aggregate numbers from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. 2019 data includes aggregate numbers from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

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