McDegrees – are you loving it?

McDonalds has launched a two-year foundation degree in managing business as part of a wider initiative to offer employees a more attractive career path.  McDonalds is also offering employees the opportunity to go on to study a full Bachelor of Arts Degree and has been offering GCSE‘s and A – Levels to employees in – house since 2008.  Indeed 3000 English and Maths GCSE’s and 3000 A levels have been awarded each year since inception.

The foundation degree is accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University and begins this year with 53 students.  It is free for McDonalds staff.

McDonalds Chief People Officer, David Fairhurst, is reported to have said

“We view ourselves as much Educator as Employer“.

I think this is a great PR piece by McDonalds.  It ticks the investing in your people box, it is a novel yet practical way of attracting and retaining talent with clear benefits to employer and employee.  The psychological contract between both parties is strengthened and at a time when tuition fees are rising and traditional University places harder to come by it is a neat way of allowing people to achieve degrees whilst contributing to the strengthening of the organisations talent pool.

So what is the downside?

There is a huge amount of snobbery around (still) about the validity and strength of your degree.  Even now having a degree is not enough, where you got it from still counts with (some) employers.  This may change as those who are making the hiring decisions increasingly come from a more diverse educational background, but for now the problem exists for candidates in an incredibly fierce market.

In times of economic austerity and in particular the impact on education, McDonalds has struck on an innovative and interesting model from which they cannot lose.  Leave however and as the employee you’ll have a tough task with how your degree is perceived by a prospective employer.  I am concerned as to the value attributed to the McDonalds foundation degree and indeed BA program.  If you leave McDonalds, will your degree be taken seriously by future employers?

McDegrees to go?  Are you loving it?



Filed under Careers, Recruitment

4 responses to “McDegrees – are you loving it?

  1. I’m heard a number of employers in the past say that those who worked in McDonalds during their formative years are excellent candidates. They understand the value of due process, understand the value of promoting within, can handle pressure and have a great work ethic. If that kind of feedback can then associate itself with a foundation degree (where I’ve heard employers say “I’d rather avoid a recent grad, I need someone who’s ready for hard work!) I think they may be onto a winner.

    • Thank you James for your contribution. I agree with your comments with respect to McDonalds employees, from my experience of people I have met they provide great training and as a consequence have much to offer. I applaud McDonalds for the way they are investing in their people. It is the snobbery that is attached to degrees that would concern me for those leaving the McDonalds program and applying for jobs that require a degree level qualification. More specifically would a McDonalds degree be afforded the same value as one from a traditional Higher Education establishment? The same can be said of the value employers attribute to degrees from traditional “red – brick” universities as opposed to what were traditionally polytechnics. Surely a degree should be a degree regardless of where it comes from? This isn’t the case. I appreciate McDonalds are unlikely to be concerned as to how there degrees are perceived by other employers and I do think they should be commended for what they are doing. Could this be the first of many similar programs?

      • I totally agree that the system is screwed to the point where some degrees are world-beaters and others are nigh-on worthless. In part, it lead to me writing this piece:

        On the McDonalds degree, I think they may actually come out better than average – not just academic output, but a far more rounded candidate. Rather than snobbish employers overlooking these candidates, I think the reverse may actually come to pass!

  2. Pingback: A smart investment in future talent | The Recruiters Little Black Book

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