Queenstown McDonald's offering new workers $28 an hour over holiday season

As the country grapples with labour shortages, one Queenstown business has pumped up their wages to attract new temporary staff this holiday season. 

The Mcdonald's stores in Queenstown are offering $28 per hour for temporary workers to lend a helping hand over Christmas and New Years - and if you work during a public holiday, that pay packet will increase to $42 per hour.

It comes as employers turn to new incentives and added benefits to attract candidates at a time when New Zealand's unemployment rate sits near a record low.

The incentive is available for temporary contracts for a wide-range of positions at McDonald's Queenstown and Frankton, and no previous experience is necessary.

Workers at the two stores were already being paid $25 an hour.

A McDonald's spokesperson told Newshub the Queenstown franchises have been hit by the competitive job market.

"Like most businesses in Queenstown, McDonald's is experiencing a competitive job market, especially as we head into the busy Christmas and NYE period," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"It's a great opportunity for locals or for those on working visas looking for a bit of extra work and pay over summer, with the added benefits of on-the-job training that McDonald's offers to all employees."

The Queenstown franchise group offers a similar incentive every year over Christmas and New Year's Eve but it is understood this is the biggest amount yet.

The Mcdonald's stores in Queenstown are offering $28 per hour for temporary workers.
The Mcdonald's stores in Queenstown are offering $28 per hour for temporary workers. Photo credit: Getty Images

The hospitality sector across the country has been grappling with staff shortages with figures in October showing the industry needs around 30,000 more staff to cope with summer demand.

In 2022, employee numbers increased by 0.37 percent compared to 2021 - the lowest growth level in more than 10 years.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said earlier this month more than 20,000 people on working holiday visas had arrived in New Zealand since the border reopened earlier this year, with almost 6000 arriving in November alone. But the Restaurant Association warned staff shortages are still plaguing the industry and had reached a crisis point.

The association said compared to the number of holiday visa workers we were getting pre-pandemic, we are now only roughly just under half that number.

Queenstown has been particularly hit hard by chronic staff shortages with industry leaders calling for the holiday working visa to be simplified and faster.

As we head into the busy holiday season, McDonald's hopes their stretched workforce won't be even more stretched.