Denmark releases new ‘positive list’ of in-demand professions

Denmark releases new 'positive list' of in-demand professions
Fourteen fields of study, including primary education, have seen interest decline among students seeking higher education in Denmark. Photo: Linda Kastrup / Ritzau Scanpix
The most recent "Positive List" of in-demand professions has been released by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

On July 1st, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) released new “Positive List” for highly educated and skilled workers.

The Positive List is a list of professions experiencing a workforce shortage within Denmark. Non-EU/EEA citizens are eligible for work and residence permits if they have a job offer with a Danish employer that matches the titles included on the Positive List.

The new list, valid through December 31st, contains 41 job titles for people with higher education and 47 job titles for skilled workers.

Here are the job titles included on the list for highly educated workers:

  • Management: head of department, sales manager, general manager
  • Science and engineering: biologist, mechanical engineer, construction manager, civil engineer, environmental engineer, chemical engineer, designer, town planer, land inspector
  • Healthcare: doctor, medical consultant, hospital doctor, chief physician, anesthesia nurse, nurse, dentist, clinical dietitian, occupational therapist, radiographer, medical lab technician, dental hygienist
  • Education: adult education center teacher, primary school teacher, teacher at independent boarding schools for lower secondary school students, child care worker, social education worker, assistant pre-school teacher
  • Economics: auditor, accounting controller
  • IT: IT architect, IT engineer, IT project leader, programmer and system developer
  • Law, social science, culture: legal officer, librarian, psychologist, organist/cantor

Here are the job titles included on the list for skilled workers:

  • Science and engineering: building technician, plumbing technician, plumber, operations and production manager, mate
  • Healthcare: environmental technician
  • Business & administration: account manager, sales consultant, job and company consultant, local authority case manager, real estate agent, study administrative secretary, medical secretary, managing clerk, office assistant, office clerk, school secretary, trade assistant
  • Law, social science, culture: parish clerk, floral decorator, head chef
  • Economics: accountant assistant, bookkeeper, bookkeeping and accounting clerk
  • Personal services and care: hairdresser, social and health care assistant
  • Agriculture: landscape gardener, greenkeeper
  • Construction: bricklayer, joiner, carpenter, travelling fitter, plumber fitter
  • Machinery: bodywork metal worker, blacksmith, sheet metal worker, service technician for iron and metal, industrial technician, CNC operator, mechanic
  • Electrical: electrician, electrical contractor, mechanician
  • Food service: butcher, baker, master baker, chef

Further shortages expected

Following the July 5th application deadline for higher education, Denmark’s Ministry of Education has reported another banner – the third highest on record. 

But despite another strong year for applications, interest in some of Denmark’s most in-demand professions has declined. 

This includes several fields of study included on the most recent Positive List.

According to the Ministry of Education, applications for pedagogical and primary school educator programs were down 5 and 3 percent, respectively, in 2021. 

Already, Denmark anticipates a shortage of 14,000 educators in the next 10 years.

“We are in a crisis with a shortage of educators across the country,” said Elisa Rimpler, chairman of the educator’s union Bupl, adding that the shortage was expected to increase due to population growth and as a result of new laws related to minimum education standards.

Another profession already experiencing a shortage of workers within Denmark is nursing, which saw an 8 percent drop in higher education applications in 2021. Some have said the decline might be related to Denmark’s ongoing nurses’ strike, which has highlighted problems with nurses’ compensation and working conditions. 

IT, a field in which Denmark anticipates a shortage of 22,000 IT graduates by 2030, also saw a drop of 6 percent. IT architect, IT engineer, IT project manager, programmer and system developer are all professions included on the most recent Positive List. 

Applications to computer science programs, in particular, dropped by 11 percent – one of the biggest declines among all fields of study.

Engineering, another profession often listed on SIRI’s Positive List, also saw declines. Applications for civil engineering programs were down 8 percent; graduate engineering, down 4 percent; and engineering in general, down 4 percent.

Several fields of study related to other professions on the Positive List saw interest increase. Applications in building construction increased by 12 percent; psychology, 8 percent; law, 4 percent; and medicine, 3 percent.

Despite the Danish government’s efforts to decentralise education away from Denmark’s largest cities, the three most highly sought-after higher education institutions in 2021 are Copenhagen University, Aarhus University and the VIA University College (headquartered in Aarhus).


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