More foreign nationals have full time jobs in Denmark than ever before

A record number of foreign nationals are active on the Danish labour market and now comprise over 10 percent of all people in full time employment.

Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage.
Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The figure, reported by newspaper Berlingske, comes from an analysis by the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), which found that 266,000 foreign nationals, reported to be a record number, were working full time in Denmark in October 2021.

As such, foreigners comprise 10.5 percent of total employment, according to the report.

The figure represents a notable increase over the last decade, having stood at 6.3 percent in 2011.

Foreign workers take up so much of the labour demand in Denmark that they are now indispensable, an analyst told Berlingske.

“There are so many workplaces which would not get by without foreign labour,” labour market researcher Thomas Bredgaard of Aalborg University told the newspaper.

Labour shortages were reported across most sectors in Denmark during much of 2021, with employment figures consistently increasing.

READ ALSO: Employment in Denmark grows for ninth consecutive month but is it sustainable?

The 2,895,000 people currently in work in Denmark is a record high level.

At the same time, unemployment levels are at their lowest since the period following the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s.

While generally opposed to easing rules on foreign workers, the government recently suggested it could be prepared to take steps to allow more foreign labour in response to the shortage.

In her New Year speech, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the government was “willing to discuss” the matter.

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party, an ally of the government’s in parliament, favours more lenient rules for foreign labour.

DI’s CEO Lars Sandahl also backed “new tone” from the government on foreign labour.

“It’s no secret that we, during 2021, have been very impatient to see solid political solutions for the massive societal challenge that labour shortage presents for the whole country across sectors,” Sandahl said in a statement.

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Danish employment drops for first time in 18 months

The number of people in employment in Denmark fell in July after 17 consecutive monthly increases, according to new national data.

Danish employment drops for first time in 18 months

New figures from national agency Statistics Denmark show that there were 5,000 fewer people employed in July compared to the month before.

That decrease follows an extended period during which the record for the total number of people working in the country was consistently broken.

Almost 200,000 additional people were working in Denmark in June 2022 compared to January 2021.

High employment rates are often cited by economists as indicators of a strong economy. The total number for employment in July was 2,953,000 persons.

According to Statistics Denmark, the figure of 5,000 fewer employed comes almost exclusively from the sector defined as “public administration and service” (offentlig forvaltning og service).

Another sector, “businesses and organisations” (virksomheder og organisationer), was stable between the two months.

The new number need not set off any alarm bells but could indicate that a surge in employment subsequent to the coronavirus crisis may have peaked during the summer, an analyst said.

“This high conjuncture with the corona crisis in the background seems to be over. Things aren’t moving forward quite as quickly at the moment,” Nykredit senior economist Palle Sørensen told news wire Ritzau.

“And we are now beginning to be put under strain by the energy crisis that has come to Denmark and Europe in particular,” he said.

“We think that the energy crisis will be the trend-setting event in the coming months: How much individuals should reduce private consumption to pay these record-high energy bills that are being dropped into their post boxes,” he said.

The Statistics Denmark figure for employment is corrected for seasonal factors.