How Denmark plans to attract more workers from Sweden

A new cross-border collaboration to match Swedish job seekers with Danish employers aims to solve the late-pandemic labour crises in both countries.

the öresund bridge in swedish and danish colours
A new Swedish-Danish collaboration is aiming to solve the jobs crises on both sides of the Öresund. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The focus of the new strategy is a jobs fair to be held at the Malmömässan Conference Centre in the southern Hyllie district of Malmö between 10am and 3pm on October 27th, where 20 Danish companies will be matched with 600 job seekers from the south of Sweden.

The plan is a collaboration between Greater Copenhagen, Malmö municipality, Copenhagen municipality, the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) and the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), aiming to solve the issue of Denmarks 53,500 private sector vacancies by filling them with some of the 65,000 unemployed people in southern Swedish region Skåne.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s new labour proposal say about foreign workers?

The initiative will be relevant for residents of Sweden who are able to work in Denmark: Swedish citizens, Nordic citizens, EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens.

Other so-called “third country” citizens are unable to work in Denmark while living in Sweden unless they qualify for a Danish work permit – in 2021, these permits are awarded to those who have job offers with a yearly salary of at least 445,000 Danish kroner (600,000 Swedish kronor), or those filling positions listed on Denmark’s “positive list” of professions lacking workers.

Unfortunately, those already holding a Swedish work permit are not able to work in Denmark without applying for a Danish work permit – these permits are not valid in both countries.

For those who are eligible, living in Sweden while working in Denmark can be an attractive choice, as the Danish krone is stronger than the Swedish krona, meaning salaries in Danish kroner are worth more in Sweden.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have so many job vacancies?

“I really hope that unemployed people and students in and around Malmö will consider working in Copenhagen – they’re more than welcome,” said Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard, Copenhagen’s mayor of employment and integration, in a statement.

Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce described the match between Swedish unemployed and Danish companies as a “win-win situation”.

“We’re seeing restaurants closing and hotels not being able to open rooms because they can’t find enough staff. It’s awful,” he said.

Swedish employers are also struggling to fill positions after the peak of the pandemic, with the hotel and restaurant industry particularly affected. The Swedish Public Employment Service reported this month that almost 124,000 jobs were advertised on its site in September, up from 60,000 last year and 80,000 two years ago. 

READ ALSO: Swedish employers told not to let language be a barrier to hiring staff

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Labour shortage hits half of Danish companies in construction sector

A record-high shortage of labour at some Danish companies is exacerbated in some places by a lack of materials, according to new data.

A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour.
A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The construction industry reports a lack of labour at around half of all companies, according to a survey by Statistics Denmark, based on responses from businesses.

In the service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and cleaning, one in three companies reported a lack of workforce.

Some industries, notable machinery related businesses, also said they are short of materials currently.

The lack of labour is holding the Danish economy back, according to an analyst.

“Never before have we seen such a comprehensive lack of labour in the Danish economy,” senior economist Søren Kristensen of Sydbank said.

“It’s a shame and it’s a genuine problem for a significant number of the businesses which at the moment are losing revenue as a consequence of the lack of labour,” Kristensen continued.

“That is costly, including for all of Denmark’s economic growth. Even though we on one side can be pleased that it’s going well for the Danish economy, we can also regret that it could have been even better,” the economist said in a comment to news wire Ritzau.

Despite the lack of labour, businesses have their most positive outlook for years, according to Statistics Denmark.

The data agency based its conclusions on a large volume of responses from companies related to revenues, orders and expectations for the future.

The numbers are processed into a measure termer business confidence or erhvervstillid in Danish. The October score for the metric is 118.7, the highest since 2010, although there are differences between sectors.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage?