McDonald's Europe has called on hospitality companies to push for recruitment among younger and older workers, after research from the European Commission found that the working age population is shrinking.
The fast food company, which employs more than 425,000 people across Europe including franchisees, has labelled the problem the "workforce cliff" and defined it as too many older people leaving the workforce, and not enough younger people joining.
Its proposed solutions included holding employment campaigns that focus on hiring younger workers, especially in Sweden and Italy; older worker recruitment drives, especially in the UK and in Poland; and increased spend on training and career trajectory.
Making jobs as compelling as possible is also important, said David Fairhurst, chief people officer at McDonald's Europe and commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
He also confirmed that McDonald's will adapt its employment strategy according to these guidelines, including continuing to hold open days that demonstrate to initially lower-wage employees how they can expect their career to progress through the company.
Fairhurst said that the current employment problems among young people were well-known, but that the similar need to keep older people in the workforce often went unnoticed. He said that any problems in the labour market would affect business staffing and productivity.
He added: "If more businesses like ours can find ways to get more of the working age population into jobs, the edge of the workforce cliff can be pushed back by as much as ten years. If we react appropriately now, we will ensure that the economic recovery is not undermined unnecessarily."
In the UK, McDonald's has recently run "How to get hired" events with JobCentrePlus and Learndirect, giving younger people free career coaching, and advice on interviews and CVs.