Denmark’s social healthcare sector sees increased number of minority ethnic workers

Denmark's social healthcare sector sees increased number of minority ethnic workers
A file photo of students at the SOSU C basic health care college in Brøndby. Photo: Mads Joakim Rimer Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
The number of people of ‘non-Western’ heritage working in Denmark’s social healthcare sector has increased markedly, according to official figures.

The number of full-time employees in the sector with backgrounds defined as being from non-Western countries increased by nine percent between 2016 and 2017, according to an analysis published by Local Government Denmark, a representative body for municipalities.

The analysis was based on figures from Statistics Denmark, which show that more people from non-Western backgrounds (1,050 people) than ethnic Danes (925) found work in the sector during the period.

Municipalities are finding it difficult to fill positions in the sector while the number of senior citizens is increasing, according to the report, which was published in Local Government Denmark’s magazine Momentum.

Michael Ziegler, mayor in Høje-Taastrup Municipality and chair of the national salary and staff committee for municipalities, said he was pleased to see the development.

“This is a good trend because it reflects that municipalities are taking responsibility and doing what they can to find labour for the social healthcare sector,” Ziegler told Momentum.

According to Frederik Thuesen, lead researcher with the Danish Center for Social Science Research, improving levels of qualifications amongst people of non-Danish heritage are amongst the reasons for the trend.

The municipal area with highest proportion of non-Western employees remains cleaning, with 29 percent of workers falling into this category.

13 percent of municipal social health workers are of non-Western heritage.

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