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Fast-food chain is trying to hire 70,000 workers across nation
McDonald's started its biggest ever recruitment plan in China on Sunday, hoping to meet its ambitious expansion goals in the company's third-largest market.
The US-based fast-food giant plans to open 225 to 250 new stores nationwide and hire 70,000 employees this year.
McDonald's has more than 1,400 restaurants in China, with more than 80,000 employees. It wants to increase the number of restaurants to 2,000 by 2013.
A job candidate is interviewed in a McDonald's restaurant in Shanghai on Sunday. Yong Kai / for China Daily
Liu Chao, a college student in Beijing who will graduate this June, went to a one-stop recruitment event on Sunday morning at a McDonald's outlet in Oriental Plaza.
Liu was led by an "employee brand ambassador" to see the work environment and learn about McDonald's culture, job descriptions and career path, before being interviewed by a manager.
Liu said he is satisfied with McDonald's pay of about 10 yuan ($1.60) per hour, with 13 monthly salaries a year. The company also pays for social insurance costs and gives performance bonuses.
"At a time when it's hard to find a job, working for McDonald's is not bad. I have not yet got any other job opportunity, so if McDonald's calls me within two days, I'll come to work here," said the 24-year-old.
The fast-food chain also attracted many part-time job seekers. Part-time workers are included in McDonald's recruitment plan this year.
"I want to get a job at McDonald's because the work environment is fairly good and I could enjoy special offers of food for employees at weekends," said Wang Mengke, a 19-year-old college student in Beijing.
The store had received 10 applicants by midday and was expecting 20 more in the afternoon, according to Song Yang, a manager at the restaurant.
Zhang Jianwei, a manager with a McDonald's store on Wangfujing Dajie, was optimistic about the recruitment.
"We received seven applicants within an hour after the recruiting event started at 10 am. It's quite promising," he said.
"We offer employee training and we have a clear promotion path, through which an employee making coffee could be promoted to store manager or an even higher management post in the company."
Zhang added that they also provide jobs such as cleaning for people who have speech or hearing impairments, and they had two such applicants during the morning.
A Shanghai-based manager with McDonald's China's human resources division, who declined to be identified, told China Daily on Sunday that the company expects to interview 30,000 people during the recruitment event.
"We hope to demonstrate the advantages and culture of McDonald's, which offers a happy working environment and a familylike atmosphere, to interviewees as well as customers, who could be potential employees," he said.
The manager said the company has made the hiring process more efficient. For instance, it now takes no longer than a week to hire someone, while in the past it would take one month.
Applicants had to fill in 11 pages of forms before, but now they only need to fill in no more than two pages, he said.
Applicants who pass the interview will receive notice within two days to come in for a two-hour on-site test to check if they can do the job.
In Shanghai, a McDonald's restaurant in CITIC Square on West Nanjing Road received more than 10 applicants between 10 and 11 am. Another store, on Huashan Road, received four between 2 and 3 pm.
"The interview was relaxing. The recruiter asked me if my parents would allow me to take a part-time job and if I could handle the job when I had academic pressure.
"He also asked me if I would put my job aside and go to help a stranger in the restaurant," said Pan Lu, a junior at the Shanghai Jianqiao University.
McDonald's has said that each year, May 20 will be its public recruitment day and all McDonald's restaurants across China will set up recruitment zones for a one-stop recruitment process.
Lin Huirong, McDonald's China's chief human resources officer, said at a news conference on Tuesday that the big recruitment plan aims to build up a talent pool for the future.
"We are mainly targeting college graduates this time and we will provide employees with competitive wages, benefits and incentives," she said.
Last year, more than 10,000 employees were promoted and the company spent some 35 million yuan on training and development, according to Lin.
Some insiders said they believe McDonald's ambitious goal of opening more stores and recruiting more employees is a response to fiercer competition in China's fast-food market.
McDonald's biggest competitor, KFC, has more than 3,000 stores on the Chinese mainland, more than twice the number of McDonald's.
The market share of McDonald's on the Chinese mainland is 16 percent, while KFC has 40 percent, the Innovative Finance Observation magazine quoted figures from market research firm Euromonitor International as saying.
KFC's parent company Yum! Brands recently signed a deal with Suning Appliance, one of China's largest home appliance retailers, to allow KFC and Pizza Hut to open stores in Suning's outlets across China. The plans aim for 150 such outlets in the next five years.
Other foreign and domestic fast-food chains are also eying expansion in the market.
However, Yin Xingmin, deputy director of the China Center for Economic Studies at Fudan University, said the McDonald's expansion plan is not targeted at other competitors but China's market potential.
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