Our Investment in People

Why it matters

At McDonald’s, people are the face of our brand and critical to our success. Our ambition is to leverage our scale, training and education programs to build a path forward for people that supports their goals no matter where they are in their lives.

For those who choose to build a career with McDonald’s, training, education and leadership development programs can take them to the highest levels in our organization or with our Franchisees. And for those who decide to move on, they will take with them valuable work-readiness skills like teamwork, interpersonal communication and a strong work ethic to help them succeed in their next role.


On this page:

Our approach | Our actions


In 2018 we launched a new initiative called Youth Opportunity, with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two-million young people by 2025, through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs. Read more here. 

Our approach

Regardless of where someone starts at McDonald’s, everyone has an opportunity to grow and progress through their career. On-the-job training focuses on building the functional skills needed every day in McDonald’s restaurants. Working in a McDonald’s restaurant also teaches individuals more transferable skills like teamwork, communication, hospitality and work ethic that will enable them to progress beyond their roles. We’re proud that in the U.S., nearly 90% of all Company-owned restaurant positions above entry level were filled by promoting in 2016.

We also understand McDonald’s employees are on their own journey and we can provide tools and opportunities to help them reach their potential. That’s why we invest in education, apprenticeship and advancement opportunities to help employees continue advancing on their path forward.

Hamburger University

McDonald’s Hamburger University embodies our commitment to training and development. Since first opening in 1961, it has grown to seven campuses around the world and provides training for Company-owned restaurant employees, as well as Franchisees and eligible employees from their organizations. Contrary to its name, the university is about a whole lot more than cooking burgers. Over the past few years, thousands of people have learned management and leadership skills that enable them to become the best that they can be, for themselves, their restaurant, and the customers they serve across the globe. In some areas, students are even eligible to receive college credits for their courses.

Archways to Opportunity education program

We believe opportunity starts with education. That’s why we invest in Archways to Opportunity, a comprehensive global education program that offers eligible employees from Company-owned restaurants and participating Franchisee restaurants the opportunity to graduate from college, earn a high school diploma, learn English as a second language, complete an apprenticeship and gain access to advising services. Across the globe, the Company and its Franchisees offer education opportunities to restaurant employees in 25 countries and counting.

“The progress McDonald’s has made with Archways to Opportunity will have a profound impact on the lives of so many of their employees. By providing free high school completion courses, assistance with college tuition, and academic advising, McDonald’s is ensuring its workers have the tools to succeed throughout their careers and that in turn makes our entire economy stronger.”

Warren E. Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway


Our actions

Below are examples of how the Archways to Opportunity program comes to life around the globe.

United States

In the U.S., Archways to Opportunity is designed to help Company-owned and participating Franchisee restaurant employees at their point of need – whether that’s learning English-language skills, getting a high school diploma or moving on to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. It also includes academic advising services to help answer the many questions involved in pursuing educational goals. As of March 2019, we have increased access to education for tens of thousands of Company-owned and participating Franchisee restaurant employees, including 6,700 graduates from our English under the Arches program and over 570 graduates from our high school completion program. In addition, we have provided more than $58 million in tuition assistance in four years.


Since 2006, more than 80,000 qualifications have been gained by Company-owned restaurant and participating Franchisee restaurant employees across the U.K. business, and more than 18,500 qualified apprentices have come through the year-long training program. Programs like Skills for Life provide employees with free training to receive qualifications in math and English. So far, more than 22,000 employees have gained math and English qualifications, and 169 managers have gained a foundation degree. It’s because of these opportunities and the fun, sociable work environment that McDonald’s is regularly recognized as one of the best companies to work for in the U.K.


McDonald’s Australia has been a registered training organization (RTO) since 1997, providing nationally recognized  training to its employees in the areas of retail, business, barista skills and food safety. As of 2018, we have issued almost 41,000 qualifications. McDonald’s has been recognized consistently both nationally and in each state in the National Training Awards.


Working with people from all nationalities is a big part of McDonald’s culture. In Germany, new employees have access to a tool called McDeutsch, an online language training tool (available by computer or cell phone) for all levels to help employees improve their German language skills. You can choose between different periods when purchasing a license. The tool can be used as an app at any time and from anywhere. This helps integrate new members into their teams and supports them to most effectively run the restaurant and communicate with guests. It also gives them language skills they can use to progress their careers within McDonald’s or elsewhere.

Arcos Dorados

Our presence in 20 countries across Latin America, positions Arcos Dorados as one of the largest employers of young people, aged 16 to 24 years old.

Youth unemployment is one of the most critical issues facing countries in Latin America. Through our Youth Employment initiative, we promote social mobility by providing employment opportunities to young people in Latin America that help them develop valuable customer service and leadership skills that can be applied to a wide range of career paths in the future. Arcos Dorados is implementing this initiative through strategic alliances and by leveraging our trajectory and experience in this field. 


In December 2018, at the United Nations, Arcos Dorados was recognized for its practices in supporting employment for people with disabilities. This initiative was promoted in conjunction with the Sao Paulo State’s Office for the rights of disabled persons.

Additionally, throughout various programs such as “Talentos del Futuro”, Arcos Dorados impacted 119 persons who received technical certifications in several fields such as culinary studies and information technology.

More importantly, Arcos Dorados’s partnership with Fundacion Ayrton Senna is expanding significantly and strategically our reach in the market, with thousands of young folks being influenced by the programs offered.


Arcos Dorados’s presence in Mexico is the second largest across Latin America, where t mpacted more than 6000 young people through employment training, as well as participating in the “Jovenes Construyendo el Futuro” program, where the company provides life skills such as financial acumen to help youth face their growing responsibilities as they become active citizens in the society.


Through its partnership with several institutions, Arcos Dorados participated in the “40.000 empleos” initiative, that seeks to create 40.000 new employment opportunities for young Colombians who are facing poverty and vulnerability conditions, transforming and leading inclusion, improving employability, thus supporting social mobility.


Various projects running in the country have impacted more than 1200 young people in Argentina, allowing them to improve life skills, enable them to be better prepared for their first jobs, and even providing vocational orientation to help them decide on the continuation of their education. 

Programs such as “Creando tu Futuro” in conjunction with Kuepa and the Citi Foundation, or “Tu Primer Laburo”, “ Empleo Joven” with Forge Foundation & Cimientos are clear examples of the work Arcos Dorados is doing in Latin America to empower the youth population to achieve more in the future, while learning the important soft skills required to enter the professional – work chapter of their lives.


Together with our Franchisees, we are thrilled to partner with select colleges and universities in Canada to offer educational opportunities to employees of both Company-owned and participating Franchisee restaurants who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education in business programs. Each participating college or university offers course credit into business diploma or business degree programs for individuals who have completed the required McDonald’s management training courses, saving them valuable time and money. This program establishes a new path for restaurant management to earn academic credit through paid work experience and to broaden their career options.


Franchisees are the exclusive employer of their employees, and as such are solely responsible for all employment-related matters in their restaurants. The benefits referenced may not be available at all McDonald’s restaurants. The Company and its Franchisees are equal opportunity employers committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce.


Discover More


Employee at drive thru
Outdoor sign