Equal Pay for Equal Work: I Believe & McDonald’s Does Too

October 19, 2021

by Debbie Ballard, McDonald’s Vice President of Global Business Services

I’ve been with McDonald’s for 25 years. My career has taken me around the world and across disciplines – from internal audit in the United States to global roles impacting a number of countries. I’m fortunate to have seen firsthand how significant an impact McDonald’s can have on the communities it serves.  

Through my years at McDonald’s, I’ve witnessed our company take a more holistic approach to women and their careers. I’m proud that McDonald’s global staff is 54% women, and I can confidently say we're big on inclusion and making everyone feel welcome. We want women to bring their ideas, abilities, and differences to the table. 

The Gender Pay Gap

While externally, studies still show women around the world are being paid 20% less than their male counterparts, McDonald’s began tackling the issue of equal pay years ago. "Our company has been adjusting salaries and investing in equal pay within the business, and our efforts have been very successful.

I have some good news: As of its 2021 equal pay analysis across staff and company-owned restaurant employees, McDonald's pays women globally 99.85 cents on the dollar for similar work, taking into account legitimate pay drivers such as level, location, experience, and performance. We're on track to close that identified gap in 2022.

Equal Pay for Women Is Just the Beginning  

Our McDonald’s Global DEI Aspiration is to make societal change, and working toward equal pay puts action behind these words. This isn’t the first step on our journey of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and it won’t be our last. Our work to promote inclusion is not done. 

Every day, we will work to diversify our leadership; continue to hire diverse world-class talent; offer the most competitive learning and development programming among our peers; and create formal mentoring and sponsorship programs to accelerate success in our workforce. All of this work elevates who we are and brings our values to life in a very tangible way. I’m proud that McDonald’s is leading the charge, and I’m excited to see the positive change we will create in the future. 

There was a brief time several years ago when I left McDonald’s to join a start-up. After a year and a half, I came back to the Golden Arches. I truly missed the people, the Employee Business Networks, and knowing I am part of something bigger than myself.  McDonald’s is a company built on relationships, and I’ve seen us live out our value of Family throughout my time working here. Equal pay for equal work builds on our values and helps bring them to life in a tangible way. 

I can’t help but to think about my daughters and what legacy our generation will leave for them. If we all come together and commit to change, I believe they will be proud of what we all achieve. Way to go, McDonald’s.

Debbie Ballard is a 25-year McDonald’s veteran who currently serves as Vice President of Global Business Services. She’s responsible for setting the strategic vision and direction which supports the finance function in being more efficient and effective in their operations.  She also oversees the McDonald’s in-house agency responsible for travel, meeting and creative services support. 

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