Thursday, March 22, 2007


Dave's analysis here seems somewhat flawed:

"McDonalds is launching a campaign to change the dictionary definition of a McJob. The current definition is
"An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector"

according to the OED. McDonalds apparently had the slogan
"McProspects - over half of our executive team started in our restaurants. Not bad for a McJob."

How many of the people who work for McDonalds made it to the executive team?"

The proper test for whether McJobs should be characterised as having "few prospects" is whether they offer less chance of promotion than traditional unskilled professions. Otherwise the McJob term provides no new meaning beyond 'unskilled work'. My guess is that the rate of promotion from unskilled worker to executive has always been very low and that the McDonalds statistic that half their executives are ex-restaurant workers does denote impressive prospects relative to traditional unskilled labour.

While most McDonalds workers may never progress to more skilled work with the company all that really tells us is that being unskilled sucks. The dictionary definition of McJob is entirely innaccurate if they actually have good prospects relative to similar occupations.


Gracchi said...

Matt two points.

Firstly McJob doesn't mean a job at McDonalds- it means a particular type of job- the dictionary defines meanings as they are spoken not as they ought to be spoken.

Secondly it would be interesting to see what kind of resturant staff they are talking about- is that actual people on the tills that are being referred to or managers and deputy managers who have risen so high?

Dave Cole said...

Chicken shit may be better than elephant shit, but it's still shit.

Communication consultant said...

Attrition rates are high in some of the big graduate recruiters. When I was at P&G we had 10,000 applications a year for 100 internships, resulting in a couple of dozen jobs of whom nearly all left within a couple of years. Those that stayed went on to make it big but your point is sound.

Matthew Sinclair said...

Gracchi, you're right in terms of the dictionary but I think that McDonalds are using it as a stunt to adjust a misperception. I think they're right to try.

Dave, exactly. Having no skills is shit. However, the solution is not to make it not shit to have no skills. Unskilled work will always be, by its nature, less rewarding. The solution is to make sure less people grow up unskilled. To achieve this I'd suggest starting here: