Danish labour market continues good form: August figures

Employment increased in both the private and public sectors in Denmark in August, thereby continuing a record spell for the labour market.

Danish labour market continues good form: August figures
File photo: Mads Joakim Rimer Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

An increase in wage earners in both the private and public sectors mean that a record streak for the labour market goes on, according to newly-published figures from national agency Statistics Denmark.

The total number of people in employment in Denmark increased by 6,500 in August, bringing the overall figure to 2,760,000.

That figure includes a 5,300 increase in the private sector, continuing an ongoing trend of increasing employment seen in the sector for a number of years. An average of 3,500 people every month have found work in the private sector for the last five years, according to Statistics Denmark.

“There were 1,928,300 wage earners in this sector group in August 2018. That is the highest total ever and 24,800 more than in March 2008, when the number of persons with wage-earning positions in companies and organisations reached its peak prior to the (global financial) crisis,” the agency writes on its website.

In the public sector, the number of wage earners increased to 831,400 – a jump of just over 1,000.

“This heavily underlines the economic upturn in Denmark over the last few years. An upturn that, particularly on the jobs market, has been thunderingly strong,” Statistics Denmark wrote.

“There are good reasons to be pleased about this, because it means that more and more people can feel the upturn at close hand,” macroeconomist with Sydbank Søren V. Kristensen told Ritzau.

“At the same time, it is a solid signal that prosperity in Denmark’s economy has kept up steam during the second quarter of the year,” Kristensen added.

Economists from interest organisations said the figures were a sign that more hands were needed on the job market and called for reform to increase labour market resources for employers.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) called for easing of rules on hiring from abroad, while the Danish Construction Association (Dansk Byggeri) also said that reforms were needed.

“But it is also important to stress that reform certainly does not always mean using a stick, it can also be with a carrot,” Danish Construction Association lead economist Bo Sandberg said via written comment.

“For example, it might pay to use the budget negotiations to give further tax incitements to get seniors to remain on the labour market for longer,” Sandberg wrote.

READ ALSO: Danish employment levels still rising: 3,400 more in work in latest figures

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.