Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark

According to a new analysis from the online journal Ugebrevet A4, more than half of all new jobs in Denmark are being filled by non-Danes.

Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark
Foreigners are making particular inroads into the cleaning, agriculture and transport industries. Photo: Colourbox
Working off figures from, Ugebrevet A4 found that foreigners accounted for 25,872 of the 41,381 new jobs created between 2013 and 2015. Danes filled 15,509 of the new positions. 
Although non-Danes account for 63 percent of the new jobs over that period, the pace slowed to 53 percent in 2015. 
Opinions were split on what these employment figures mean. 
The Confederation of Danish Industries (Dansk Industri – DI) looked at the development as a positive. 
“One can easily get the impression that foreigners are running away with jobs that Danes could have gotten. But the situation in Denmark right now is that it is quite easy to get a job. That applies to both Danes and foreigners,” DI’s assistant director, Steen Nielsen, told news agency Ritzau. 
The Economic Council of the Labour Movement (Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd) also considered the foreigners’ inroads into the Danish labour market a good thing. 
“It is a success in that it is a sign of better integration of immigrants and their descendants. There are simply more of them finding work,” AE head Lars Andersen told Ugebrevet A4. 
He added that in other ways, the development can only be considered a “half success”. 
Many Eastern Europeans have chosen to settle in Denmark. They contribute to society economically and help in a period in which more and more elderly Danes leave the labour market. [But] the unskilled and unemployed Danes are under pressure from the job competition with foreigners who are often ready to work under worse salary and work conditions than Danes,” he said. 
Employment Minister Jørn Neergaard Larsen was not pleased with the numbers. 
“It is definitely not satisfactory that we have so many unemployed Danes on the edge of the labour market while so many jobs – particularly unskilled jobs – are being filled by people from abroad,” he told Ugebrevet A4. 
DI’s Nielsen, however, doesn’t think foreigners are jumping ahead of Danish citizens in the job queue. 
“I think that businesses only hire foreigners if it isn’t possible to get a Dane,” he told Ritzau. 
According to figures from, there were roughly 310,000 foreigners working in Denmark in 2015, a significant jump from the 239,000 working here in 2011. 
An analysis from the think tank Cevea found that foreign nationals are particularly finding work within the cleaning industry, agriculture, transportation and the hotel industry. 


Labour shortage hits half of Danish companies in construction sector

A record-high shortage of labour at some Danish companies is exacerbated in some places by a lack of materials, according to new data.

A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour.
A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The construction industry reports a lack of labour at around half of all companies, according to a survey by Statistics Denmark, based on responses from businesses.

In the service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and cleaning, one in three companies reported a lack of workforce.

Some industries, notable machinery related businesses, also said they are short of materials currently.

The lack of labour is holding the Danish economy back, according to an analyst.

“Never before have we seen such a comprehensive lack of labour in the Danish economy,” senior economist Søren Kristensen of Sydbank said.

“It’s a shame and it’s a genuine problem for a significant number of the businesses which at the moment are losing revenue as a consequence of the lack of labour,” Kristensen continued.

“That is costly, including for all of Denmark’s economic growth. Even though we on one side can be pleased that it’s going well for the Danish economy, we can also regret that it could have been even better,” the economist said in a comment to news wire Ritzau.

Despite the lack of labour, businesses have their most positive outlook for years, according to Statistics Denmark.

The data agency based its conclusions on a large volume of responses from companies related to revenues, orders and expectations for the future.

The numbers are processed into a measure termer business confidence or erhvervstillid in Danish. The October score for the metric is 118.7, the highest since 2010, although there are differences between sectors.

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