04/08/2013 11:15 EDT

McDonald's Canada Wants To Hire 6,000 People On National Hiring Day


Canada lost 55,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 per cent, but don’t panic -- McDonald’s is here to save the day.

The fast food chain is planning to go on a hiring spree in Canada this week, aiming to take on 6,000 new employees as part of its annual “National Hiring Day.” It is reportedly the largest number of people the company has ever attempted to hire in Canada in a single day.

It would represent a nearly eight-per-cent increase in the company’s total Canadian staffing levels, which are currently at around 77,000.

McDonald’s says the hiring spree targets 1,000 more people this year than it did during its hiring day last year, and 2,000 more than were hired in 2011.

The hiring day will take place on Thursday, April 11.

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The restaurant chain is casting itself as a significant source of employment for teens, noting that it’s “one of Canada’s largest employers of youth” and some 65 per cent of its staff are between 15 and 24 years old.

“With youth unemployment almost double the Canadian average, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and its franchisees are doing their part to help,” the company said in a statement.

And McDonald’s isn’t the only one. Recent data from StatsCan shows that the food and accommodation sector of the economy is the fastest-growing source of employment in the country, growing at four times the average rate of other industries.

At the same time, jobs in higher-paying sectors such as manufacturing have been shrinking, leading to concerns among some that the quality of jobs being created in Canada is in decline.

But McDonald’s argues its relatively low-paying service jobs can lead to real careers.

“In an era when staying with one company is rarely seen, McDonald’s Canada has a long history of building bright futures for young people from the ground up. Ninety per cent of restaurant managers and 50 per cent of franchisees began as entry-level crew members,” the company said.

Even McDonald’s Canada President and CEO John Betts “started behind the counter 40 years ago,” the company said.

McDonald’s has 1,400 locations across Canada.

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