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Finding work in Denmark

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Looking forward to working in Denmark? This article will provide some useful information on how to land a job and succeed in the Danish labor market.

Labour market

Thanks to its prosperous and dynamic economy, Denmark has been attracting foreign professionals for years. Agriculture, energy, fashion and design, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology are among some of the driving industries in the Danish economy.

The Danish labor market remains very flexible thanks to the “flexicurity” concept. This means that employers have a lot of freedom when it comes to hiring and firing, allowing them to make quick adjustments in their workforce without bearing too much cost. At the same time, employees who are laid off or become sick remain relatively secure thanks to a high level of social security. In addition to monetary security, job and education guidance are available to the unemployed.

Work culture and conditions

Most Danish companies have a somewhat horizontal hierarchy. Teamwork is more common than receiving instructions from superiors. This facilitates greater communication between the different layers of a Danish company than in other European companies.

Though a standard work week in Denmark is 37 hours, many people are able to tailor their schedule to their own needs. Provisions of the Danish welfare system such as generous maternity and paternity leave, excellent childcare facilities, and the general attitude that people should take care of themselves add to the high level of flexibility.

Ample leave and numerous public holidays make working in Denmark even more attractive. Paid holiday has to be earned, but everyone—both full and part time employees—has the right to five weeks of unpaid vacation per vacation year, which runs from May 1st to April 31st.

Once you begin to work, though, you’ll begin to accrue paid leave. Salaried employees earn 2.08 days of paid holiday per month worked, and employees who are paid by the hour save up holiday money (feriepenge), which is paid out quarterly into a holiday account (feriekonto).

Job-hunting in Denmark

Denmark is without a doubt an ideal destination for expats. Having good qualifications and patience will increase your potential for finding a job. Make sure your resume is up to date and your cover letter is in English or Danish.

First of all, check to see if you have a skill that’s in shortage. If not, you can check the requisite job websites or sign up with an employment agency (see the list of links at the end of the article).

After you’ve gotten a feel for what’s out there, start sending applications. Danes appreciate people who take initiative, so even sending an uninvited inquiry to a company you are interested in working for could pay off. Figure out what makes you unique as a candidate, and make that a selling point.

Even if you are not yet in Denmark, you should try to make some connections with people in your field of interest. Make or update your LinkedIn profile. Because employers often advertise jobs by word of mouth, “knowing someone” can be critical when it comes to getting a job. Therefore, you should build up a network in Denmark as quickly as possible.

Learning the Language

English-speaking candidates will be able to find work with multinational companies, but speaking one of the Scandinavian languages will give you an edge in the job market. In some cases, though, Danish will simply be a requirement.

In an effort to encourage and improve integration, every local municipality is required to offer Danish classes to foreign residents. No matter where you live, you will not be far from a center offering Danish lessons, and it is smart to take advantage of this offer, as learning the language of the locals has many benefits.

Work and Residence Permit

Citizens of the Nordic countries—Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—can enter, live, work, and study in Denmark without a visa or work permit.

Nationals of other countries can choose from different programs to obtain a work and residence permit. Here are just a few of the schemes that are in place to help foreign talent find work in Denmark:

  • The Positive List details areas of shortage in the Danish job market. To qualify for a permit under this scheme, the job you want should be on this list. Relevant education of a certain level is required.
  • The Pay Limit scheme involves earning a minimum gross annual wage of DKK 408,800. You will have to show proof of a job offer or an employment contract clearly stating your working conditions and salary, and the salary must be paid into a Danish bank account.
  • The Fast-track scheme allows certified companies to quickly hire exceptionally qualified foreign professionals, thus avoiding application processing periods.

You can find more information on other programs at the Official Portal for Foreigners. In general, procedures and conditions vary from one program to another.

 Useful links:

New to Denmark: The Official Portal for Foreigners
Work in Denmark
Jobindex
Jobfinder
Jobnet
Jobs in Denmark
JKS Staffing and Recruiting
Proff: The Business Finder

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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