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Understanding late-career workers

As a specialist in workforce attraction, retention, and diversity, Marie-Ève Dufour has studied end-of-career management for 10 years and seeks to soften the impact on organizations and the labour market.

Project architects

Marie-Ève Dufour, PhD, CRHA

Associate professor, Faculty of Business Administration
Member of the BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance, Université de Montréal
Member of the research group Équipe sur les organisations en santé (ÉOS)


Tania Saba, PhD, CRHA, Université de Montréal
Holder of the BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance, Université de Montréal

Attracting, retaining, and diversifying the workforce

Marie-Ève Dufour studies employee attraction and retention and workforce diversity management. At a time when the population is aging faster in Québec than elsewhere, she believes that workers at the end of their careers help diversify the workforce and mitigate the effects of a tight labour market. She has found that many retirees return to work after a certain period. Why? What motivates them to do so?

Surveying workers

Marie-Ève Dufour and Tania Saba surveyed more than 4,800 workers and retirees aged 45 and over in the healthcare and high-tech sectors. They were interested in questions such as: 

  • Which factors determine the planned retirement age?
  • Why take early retirement?
  • What are the expectations for knowledge transfer?
  • Why do retirees return to work?
  • How important are financial circumstances?

Understanding motivation

The team found that the notion of retirement is changing. Rather than a one-time event, retirement is now viewed as a career phase and a transition process. Many retirees return, or attempt to return, to work after retirement, mostly in the same industry as before. The social aspect is more important than financial considerations in their decision, as are the conditions of employment and the opportunity to pass on their knowledge.

A young woman receives advice from a more experienced colleague.

The researchers found that many late-career workers want to transfer their knowledge or contribute to special projects.

A woman in her late-career works from home.

Part-time work, fixed-term contracts, and self-employment are among the conditions sought after by late-career workers.

A team plays a soccer game at the end of the day.

Marie-Ève Dufour, Margaret Schomaker, and Frank Pons are interested in different aspects of immigrant integration, including the social aspect and sports activities.

Professionals gather in a room for a conference.

For the benefit of organizations, the researchers have produced customized reports and given presentations about their findings.

Twos colleagues discuss a project together.

Prof. Dufour studies the negative aspects of employee engagement as well as the way in which the HR community defines artificial intelligence and big data analysis, and its willingness to adopt them.

What's next

Marie-Ève Dufour and Tania Saba, along with other Université de Montréal researchers, will study workplace diversity management programs and their influence on the retention, engagement, and performance of groups considered more socially vulnerable (women, visible minorities, and workers ages 55 and over). 

Professor Dufour is also partnering with UL professors Margaret Schomaker and Frank Pons to conduct a research project on the integration of immigrants in the workplace. They will study the significance and assessment of this concept in an organizational setting.

BMO Chair in Diversity and Governance, Université de Montréal

Learn more about this research chair.


Équipe sur les organisation en santé (ÉOS)

Read about this research group.


Research at the FSA

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