Emploiretraite.ca: Entrepreneurship for baby boomers

Julie Dufresne’s Story

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Looking around for a good business opportunity, Julie Dufresne ended up finding it amongst retirees, a group of qualified, willing workforce participants for whom she built Emploiretraite.ca, a customized recruiting web platform.

Julie Dufresne was already very well acquainted with the world of entrepreneurship before she started her own business. For five years, the 38-year-old from Saguenay was employed as an account director, providing services to businesses for a financial institution. It was this very portfolio of businesses she served, composed of more than 300 SMEs from every domain, that inspired her business idea.

“I realized that all my clients had the same human resources problems created by maternity leaves and absences due to illness. Given that contracts are become increasingly short term, they didn’t necessarily have the financial or human resources to train someone to fill in on a project for just a few months,” explains the UQAM MBA graduate.

The lowered productivity and decrease in exports created by employee absence are serious issues, but how could the problem be solved? In the fall of 2015, Julie had an idea.

"What SMEs really are missing are people who are experienced and who are looking for part-time work. In short, the newly retired or those who are about to retire. So I said to myself I needed to find a way to get into contact with this sector."

Julie Dufresne

So the entrepreneur decided to take an unpaid leave of absence in order to work on her idea. Everything had fallen into place for the launch of Emploiretraite.ca, a recruiting platform created especially for people 50 and older.

See also: Quitting your job to start a business

Know your market

First, Julie started by learning about her future clientele: the baby boomers. She quickly identified their needs in terms of employment as well as their expectations. But above all, she needed to understand their motivation to go back to work. “Many have poorly capitalized pension funds or didn’t put aside enough money for their retirement because they underestimated the cost. The result is that around one in two retirees in Canada want to keep working, often for financial reasons,” she explains.

In addition, many express a desire to continue to be useful to society, and some baby boomers have a long-standing relationship to work as a significant part of their personal identity. “Many experience regret at leaving their job within one or two years after they retire, for example,” she states. What’s more, many in this generation can expect to live to between 80 and 84 years of age, depending on their sex. “Thirty or so years of retirement is a long time.”

In the spring of 2016, the businesswoman began testing out her platform with a hand-picked selection of candidates. “The website took myself and my team of programmers from Nubee a year to create. We used temporary pages to prove our concept would work,” she recalls.

The recruitment site is stripped down and simple, making it easy to use and welcoming in order to eliminate as many barriers to entry as possible. One application created internally, for example, allows users to create a CV in as little as 10 minutes. “The only text they need to write is their work experience, which they can summarize in a few lines,” she explains. Once subscribed, users will receive employment offers by email that are tailored to their interests.

The SMEs that use Emploiretraite.ca pay a certain amount in order to obtain access to the contact info of the potential candidates that interest them. The platform is also one of the only employment services where candidates are anonymous.

A helping hand

Early reports indicate the site is a success. Since its launch at the start of 2017, 12,000 candidates from across Quebec have signed up at Emploiretraite.ca. Every month, 400 to 500 new posts are added in domains as varied as administration, sales and tourism.

As a mother of young girls, Julie admits her children are one of her biggest motivators for pursuing her business. “I want them to grow up into a strong job market where businesses are not losing growth opportunities because they lack a stable workforce. Emploiretraite.ca is sort of my way of giving the economy a hand,” she states.

Emploiretraite.ca in Numbers:

  • 5: Number of employees
  • 50 to 68: Age range of Emploiretraite.ca clientele
  • 30%: Percentage of retirees who want to continue working for economic reasons, according to an ING Direct study published in 2014.


Want to learn more?

Visit the Emploiretraite.ca website