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Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

McDonald's on Thursday announced it will be increasing hourly wages for current employees at company-owned restaurants, with entry-level staff eligible to earn up to $17.

Why it matters: The company said it hopes the move will attract new applicants as it looks to hire 10,000 new employees ahead of the "busy summer season."

  • Wages for entry-level jobs will rise to between $11 and $17 an hour and shift manager wages will range between $15 and $20, depending on the restaurant location.
  • McDonald's said it expects the average salary in company-owned restaurants to reach $15 by 2024.
  • The company will also add more benefits for eligible employees, including paid time off, a 401k plan, and free meals.
  • Yes, but: "The pay increases do not affect the 95 percent of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the United States that are independently owned, only the 650 company-owned restaurants," The New York Times writes.

The big picture: The fast food industry has been struggling to hire new employees. FAT Brands CEO Andy Wiederhorn told Reuters that "most recent stimulus check and unemployment benefits have been a catalyst for people to stay at home" instead of looking for work.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: While this policy applies only to McDonald’s-owned restaurants, franchisees will feel a lot of pressure to follow suit. The all-in cost to McDonald’s and restaurant owners is likely to be significantly lower than the amount that wages are increased, thanks to lower turnover.

What they're saying: "The marketplace is forcing stores like Walmart + McDonalds to compete for workers by raising their wages," said Barry Ritholtz, chair and CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management.

  • "Companies that pay a decent wage CostCo, Trader Joe’s, Target + Starbucks demonstrated you didn’t need to impoverish your staff to be profitable," he added.

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Twin Cities employers navigate return to office amid Delta's spread

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Companies that push too hard to bring employees back to the office are at risk of losing workers. But so are companies that move to an all-remote model.

Driving the news: Some of the Twin Cities’ biggest employers — Target, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — have delayed their September return-to-office plans due to concerns about the Delta variant.

  • Meanwhile, others are still plotting to bring workers back Sept. 7.

The intrigue: How employers handle their return to office is a big factor in how they fare in the so-called “great resignation” that could result in 25% to 40% of employees nationwide quitting their jobs, according to surveys.

  • "I keep hearing from employers that they're sticking to their plan of coming back to the office. And my response to them is, 'Do you realize you're going lose about 10% to 15% of your people?' I don't know what the actual number is, but a certain segment of their employee base doesn’t want that," said Paul DeBettignies, a Twin Cities-based IT recruiter.

State of play: 51% of Minnesota companies are planning to hire for new jobs and another 48% are planning to fill vacant positions, according to a survey by human resources consulting firm Robert Half. In other words, almost every company is looking for workers.

  • "It's a situation where the employees — the talent — are holding a lot of cards that they haven't in prior years," said Kyle O’Keefe, Robert Half's senior regional director for Minnesota.

Between the lines: The 20-something workers are more likely to want to return to the office so they can be seen and advance their careers, DeBettignies said. The mid-career, established professionals are less interested in in-person work.

  • "I hear companies saying, particularly in the tech space, that we're going remote-only. They've got space but employees either don’t need to come in or they come in twice a month," he said. "I try to remind those folks they're probably going to lose 5% to 10% of their people. Because not everybody wants to work for a remote-only company."

The bottom line: Robert Half surveyed employees nationally in April and found that 34% currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if they were required to be in the office five days a week.

  • "The organizations that remain nimble and flexible will be able to retain, attract and engage their workforce," O'Keefe said. "I would hesitate on bringing some sort of one-size-fits-all approach."

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

3 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.