Small drop in unemployment in Denmark: report

A slight drop in unemployment levels in Denmark was not enough to change the overall employment figure for the country from its current level of 4.3 percent.

Small drop in unemployment in Denmark: report
File photo: Torben Åndahl/Polfot/Ritzau

Figures from stats agency Statistics Denmark showed the small reduction in the total number of people out of work, reports news agency Ritzau.

The total figure dropped by 700 people between September and October and now stands at 116,400 full-time workers.

That figure is not quite enough to impact the statistic as a percentage, which remains at 4.3 percent unemployment.

But October did see the third consecutive month in which unemployment fell, with employers voicing concerns that unemployed people are taking too long to return to the jobs market.

“The receding drop in unemployment is a sign that there are increasing problems with regard to getting the remaining labour pool to apply for work, even though the opportunities for employment are almost historically favourable,” Peter Halkjær, chief political consultant on labour market issues with the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) told Ritzau.

Both the Confederation of Danish Industry and Confederation of Danish Employers have responded similarly to the trend, according to Ritzau’s report, saying that businesses in Denmark are short of labour.

The Danish Economic Council of the Labour Movement (Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd) called for a measured approach to the figures.

“Of all unemployed people in a given quarter, almost a third are in work by the following quarter. No other countries in the EU get as many people into jobs as we do here,” the council’s head economist Erik Bjørsted told Ritzau.

Bjørsted added that the labour market is no longer in favour of employers as it was during the height of the global financial crisis.

Anders Christian Overvad, an ecomonist with Danish bank Arbejdernes Landsbank, said that a ‘bottle neck’ in the labour market could result in its overheating.

“Wage increases are rising but are still moderate. That is to a great extent due to the fact that available labour is continually growing as a resulted of already-ratified job reforms and the access to foreign labour. These things combine to take the top of the pressure off the labour market,” Overvad told Ritzau.

During the first six months of 2017, Denmark’s unemployment level stayed at 4.3 percent, before jumping to 4.5 percent in July. That increase may though have been connected to the way the figure is measured, according to Statistics Denmark.

READ ALSO: Danish labour market under maximum pressure: report

For members


Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

Job searching in Denmark can be a daunting and lengthy process with many hurdles to overcome. The Local spoke to Kay Xander Mellish, author of 'How to Work in Denmark', for her tips on submitting a successful CV and application.

Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

CVs in Denmark often have certain aspects of layout, presentation and content in common. By writing a CV that sticks to some of these recognisable customs, you may improve your chances of catching the eye of a potential employer.

1. Length

“Keep it to one excellent page, or two if you’re more senior. I’d say if you’re aged 30 and under, one page will be enough. Only add the jobs that are relevant. Employers don’t want to hear about that restaurant server or babysitting job if it’s not relevant to the role,” Mellish said.

2. Format

At the top of your CV, a paragraph describing your experience, skills, education and character is a common way to lead into a CV. This text can be adapted depending on the job you’re applying for and how you want to present your skills.

“Add three adjectives about yourself that you can support with an example, rather than ten adjectives with no story. For example, say you are innovative for this reason. People don’t like hot air in Denmark,” Mellish said.

Aside from the profile text, chronological lists of qualifications, relevant employment history and other relevant experience should be kept brief enough to fit the one to two pages.

3. Show your personal side and a photo

It is expected that applicants include a section about their hobbies, even family situation on their CV in Denmark, as well as a photo, to give a sense of who they are as a person.

“Danish employers are interested in you as a human, more so than employers in other countries so include information about yourself, including your age and your hobbies.

“Choose a good quality photo that is not too serious but shows you looking friendly and approachable,” Mellish said.

4. Story telling

“Think in terms of story telling”, Mellish advised. “Pure letters and numbers don’t mean a lot to employers in Denmark, they need to know what projects you’ve done, what role you played and what kind of person you are through your CV.

“So rather than writing ‘I have these grades’, it’s better to say ‘I worked on this project, it took this long, I achieved this'”, Mellish said.

5. Hit the ground running

Mellish called this “plug and play”, where you show you will slot right into the company and get going with the role.

“When employers are reading your CV, they want to know what you can do on day one of the job. Sell your ability to solve someone’s problem. You need to give the impression you can add value straight away.

“In Denmark the average length of time in a job is two and a half years, because you can take your pension when you move, so employers don’t want someone they need to spend time training,” Mellish told The Local.

READ ALSO: Five tips for writing an effective Danish CV

6. Teamwork

“Group work is very important in Denmark, more than individual achievements. So talk about your teamwork and how you worked with a group to produce a good business result. It shouldn’t be ‘me, me, me’ – that’s a turn off,” Mellish said.

7. LinkedIn

“People in Denmark love LinkedIn so you need a fabulous LinkedIn profile with a good picture. Before anyone calls you for an interview they’ll have looked at your LinkedIn profile.

“In your profile, include the storytelling, explaining the projects you’ve worked on. If your job involves a uniform, I recommend wearing it in your LinkedIn photo so people get that impression of you right away. Your background photo should also be work-related, not rainbows or puppies. Use it to tell the story of who you are,” Mellish advised.

8. Unsolicited application

This is when you approach a company or department you would like to work for, without a job being advertised. The Danish term for it is uopfordret ansøgning. 

“Many people make contact on LinkedIn and ask to meet for a coffee, where they chat and rather than pitch for a job, they ask if the person knows anyone looking for someone like them. Danish employers welcome this and many people are hired this way,” Mellish said.

Another way to network is to join a union, Mellish advised. They often have career events but can also help read your contract when you get a job offer, or help with any problems in the workplace. 

9. Ring the recruiter

The phone number of the hiring manager will often be in the job advert. Mellish advised finding a quiet place to ring them from and spending ten to fifteen minutes asking some good business questions.

“This also helps you work out if you might want to work for this person,” Mellish said.

“Send your CV within 24 hours of the phone call and mention you spoke to them in your application,” she added.

10. Patience

“On average it can take six months to find a job in Denmark. If it’s under this, you’re lucky. If it takes a year, it’s not you, it just takes a long time because employers are looking for someone to fit into their team.

“I wrote 100 letters, I got ten responses, three interviews and one job which I had for eight years,” Mellish told The Local.

“Danish employers are not always good at getting back to you. If you don’t hear anything, just keep applying for other jobs. If you sent an application on June 1st, you could send a follow-up email on June 15th, then you’ll have to leave it and move on,” she advised. 

Kay Xander Mellish’s book ‘How to Work in Denmark’ offers both job-searching advice and tips on how to succeed in the Danish workplace.