McDonald's Working to Change the Meaning of 'McJob'

Release Date: December 6, 2012 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In a recent magazine article, Jerry Newman, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the UB School of Management, outlined several worldwide initiatives McDonald’s has launched to help inform consumers and potential employees that it’s a great place to work.

Newman's study of the fast-food giant’s “employment branding” initiatives was published in Workspan magazine.

“The perception of working at McDonald’s is quite different than the reality,” Newman says. “Eighty percent of McDonald’s employees say they were satisfied with their jobs, but only 30 to 40% of consumers view working at McDonald’s in a positive way.”

The fact that Merriam-Webster defines “McJob” as “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement” certainly does not help that perception.

To improve its employment brand image, McDonald’s began a worldwide effort to identify the rewards that employees said made a positive difference. The top three rewards were branded as the 3 Fs: family and friends (working and socializing with good people); flexibility (flexible work hours and variety in jobs); and future (developing skills to advance in the company or to help launch careers elsewhere).

McDonald’s then built a communications strategy around the 3 Fs, targeting potential employees. “The message was simple,” Newman says. “The 3 Fs are difference makers that translate into job satisfaction for McDonald’s employees.”

A number of global and local events were part of the communications strategy, such as Family and Friends Nights, where people were invited behind the counter to see what it’s like to work at McDonald’s, and expanded training opportunities so employees can advance.

Results of these initiatives has been positive, with McDonald’s ranking No. 8 on the Best Multinational Companies to Work For list and a robust response to its National Hiring Day in 2011.

Newman, who is chair of the Department of Organization and Human Resources, collaborated on the Workspan article with McDonald’s executives Mike Balaka, director of global human resources design, and Richard Floersch, executive vice president and chief human resources officer and School of Management graduate.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management