McDonald’s HR chief to continue spending on staff despite economic downturn

McDonald’s UK HR chief David Fairhurst has pledged to continue spending to help the fast-food chain cope with the economic downturn.

Many organisations are cutting their training and recruitment budgets this summer as fears of a recession grow. A CBI report last month warned that up to 200,000 jobs could go across the UK by the end of 2009.

But Fairhurst, senior vice-president and chief people officer at McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe, insisted spending on staff was vital to the firm’s survival.

“We are still actively recruiting,” he told Personnel Today. “Indeed, we have recently made a significant investment in a state-of-the-art online recruitment system.

“As we enter choppy economic waters, I think it is important for us to remain focused and work hard to maintain the momentum we have developed in recent years – not forgetting that a key driver of that momentum has been our people.”

Fairhurst added that McDonald’s relied on good-quality customer service to be successful.

“One way in which we will achieve this is by continuing to invest £15m each year in training our people,” he said.

Fairhurst denied that McDonald’s was recession-proof, but said it was more resistant to bad conditions than many, and currently had growing customer visits and sales.

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