Denmark trailing neighbours on graduate employment: analysis

Denmark trailing neighbours on graduate employment: analysis
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix 2016
Denmark’s figures for employment of young people with higher education do not compare favourably with its Scandinavian neighbours, an analysis has found.

The publication Education at a Glance ranked 33 OECD countries on the area and placed Denmark 23rd for the percentage of 25-34 year-olds who had completed higher education and were employed in 2017.

With 83 percent of that demographic in work last year, Denmark slipped three places on the list, the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science confirmed in a press statement.

Norway and Sweden, with 88 and 87 percent of corresponding young people in employment in 2017, both fared better than Denmark and were placed in seventh and 13th place respectively.

The average figure for all 33 OECD countries included in the analysis is 84 percent.

Minister for education Tommy Ahlers said via a press statement that Denmark must improve its record on bringing qualified young people into the labour market.

“We know it is easier to find a good job if you establish a connection to the labour market while still a student,” Ahlers said.

“That’s why I’m concerned with ensuring study programmes are focused on educating people to work and creating a more flexible education system that makes it easier to take steps on to the labour market while studying, and then to return to studying later,” he added.

Mette Fjord Sørensen, head of research and higher education with the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), said that there were obstacles to a quick transition from studying to working in Denmark.

“There is a bit of a long run-up from when students obtain their Master’s degrees to when they reach the labour market. It is a little difficult to say why, but is perhaps related to the lack of a sufficient network,” Sørensen said to Ritzau.

A programme allowing students to work while studying part-time for their Master’s degrees could go some way to easing the path into chosen professions, she said.

Many industries in Denmark are short of well-qualified hands, the DI head of department also stressed.

“We are desperate for IT specialists and engineers. But it nevertheless takes a while for them to reach the labour market,” she said.

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