Gender Balance and Diversity
We are committed to creating a workplace where everyone is equally supported and empowered to realize their full potential.
Why it matters
Building a gender-balanced organization is a strategic priority for McDonald’s, as it helps us better understand and meet the needs of our customers, enables us to access the talent we need to succeed, and is at the heart of our culture, where we want everyone to feel safe, valued, and free to be themselves.
At McDonald’s, we believe that the strength and diversity of our talent enable us to build a better, stronger McDonald’s. We are committed to creating a workplace where everyone – from crew to c-suite - is equally supported and empowered to realize their full potential.
Learn more about our commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion in our business and our community.
On this page:
By 2023, we aim to 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.
Our Better Together strategy is built upon four pillars that will guide us as we work to promote gender balance and diversity across the organization:
- Representation: We will aim for the representation of women at every level in our business to be equal to – or better than – the representation of women in the external workforce by investing in the necessary tools, processes, and training.
- Rising: We will enhance equality in career advancement for men and women through targeted education and development programs, and by sustaining a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and free to be themselves.
- Recognition: We will celebrate the voices and impact of women in the business and report on progress globally.
- Reach: We will achieve progress on a global scale by encouraging franchisees and suppliers to deliver strategies that drive gender balance and improve diversity in their own businesses, with the goal of reaching millions of women worldwide.
In shaping our strategy, we sought feedback and guidance from key external stakeholders with expert knowledge and experience in gender equality and women’s empowerment to ensure our approach will have the greatest reach and most meaningful impact.
To further underscore our commitment to progress, McDonald’s also signed on to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. We are proud to join the other signatories to help accelerate global efforts to address this critical issue.
Innovating Recruiting and Hiring
Together with our franchisees, McDonald’s provides jobs for almost two million people around the world. As we work to improve gender balance in our own business, we are investing in new technologies and processes to support more inclusive and unbiased hiring.
We are partnering with Textio, an augmented writing platform, to ensure that all our job postings are written in a gender-neutral manner for our business. Studies have shown that words with hidden gender bias can affect how people respond to job ads; people are less likely to respond to ads that have words biased in favor of the opposite gender. This initiative will begin in English-speaking countries and expand to our other markets as the technology becomes available.
Additionally, we are committed to increasing diverse candidate slates and interview panels in our own business. To do so, we are building partnerships with specialized recruiting firms and sourcing channels to enable access to a wider, more diverse talent pool, and using artificial intelligence tools that aim to ensure our processes are free from unconscious bias.
Investing in Development
As part of our Better Together strategy, we will work to enhance equality in career advancement for men and women in our own business. We will achieve this through targeted education and development programs and by sustaining a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and free to be themselves.
Through ongoing assessment and management of our talent pipeline and proactive mentoring and sponsorship by senior leaders, we will support the career progression of high-potential women. In 2019, we launched a mentoring program that aims to enable more women to progress to the most senior levels of the organization.
We will also continue to invest in our Archways to Opportunity program, which offers eligible employees from company-owned 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. Through 2018 in the U.S., women accounted for almost three-quarters (74%) of participants who earned a high school diploma and nearly two-thirds (62%) of those who received college tuition assistance through Archways to Opportunity.
In addition to programs offered through Archways to Opportunity, in 2019 we will introduce our new Women in Tech program, which will help women from company-owned and participating franchisee restaurants learn skills in areas such as data science, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.
Moving Beyond Bias
To represent the full diversity of women, we also must cultivate a culture of bias-awareness and inclusion. In 2016, we launched McDonald’s education platform, Food for Thought: Beyond Bias. We are committed to integrating the Beyond Bias training into existing education platforms, talent management processes, leadership development, and training for talent agency partners.
Creating Safe Workplaces
McDonald’s unwavering commitment to providing a safe work environment that fosters respect, fairness, and dignity, and is free of harassment, discrimination, or fear of retaliation is imperative to achieving gender balance. We remain committed to assessing and advancing specific policies and practices to ensure we are meeting the current needs of our employees.
In January 2019, we enhanced our discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation policy and training for U.S. staff and company-owned restaurant employees to provide a more employee-centered approach. Our policy reflects feedback from stakeholders across the organization, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other third-party experts.
Additionally, we published our global Human Rights Policy in 2018 with the aim of strengthening our approach and providing greater alignment and clarity across the business. Learn more about our commitment to fostering safe, inclusive, and respectful workplaces.
Elevating Women’s Voices
In an effort to identify barriers to representation and progression of women in the workplace, McDonald’s will elevate women’s voices through various channels, such as focus groups, corporate surveys, and our employee networks, including the Global Women’s Leadership Network and its local chapters.
We are committed to celebrating the voices and impact of women in the business and reporting on progress globally. We will achieve this by enhancing the measurement and communication of women’s impact and progression, and by engaging with third-party organizations to provide feedback on our progress.
As part of our global Better Together strategy, we have committed to publish our gender diversity representation data.
We are proud of the fact that women account for over half (54%) of our staff employees and over a quarter (26%) of our Officers.
There is, however, more to do. We are investing in the tools, processes, and training required to create a bias-aware hiring environment. Our aim is to ensure our hiring processes – from job descriptions, to applicant sourcing and screening, to interviewing – are free from bias.
Company-Owned Restaurant Employees1
A key commitment of our global Better Together strategy is to enhance equality in career advancement for women and men through targeted education and development programs.
The sustained representation of women, from crew to management, in company-owned restaurants demonstrates that we are making good progress in delivering against this commitment.
Our Archways to Opportunity program contributes significantly to this progress. Through 2018 in the U.S., women accounted for 74% of participants who graduated with a high school diploma and 62% of those who received college tuition assistance.
In 2018, we launched a pilot Youth Opportunity program in Chicago offering young people the pre-employment training and support they need to enter the workplace. Of the young people surveyed, 58% of the pilot program graduates were women and 71% of all program graduates were in education or employment 60 days after completion.2
1. United States and International Operated Markets (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom)
2. Percentages were collected from IYF (International Youth Foundation) and include results from Chicago participants who elected to share information with the local organizations that collect education/employment data. Therefore, not all data sets add up to the total enrollment number.