Why Denmark’s workforce is getting older

The number of older people on the Danish labour market has increased considerably in recent years.

a work desk
The number of people in older age brackets working in Denmark is increasing. Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

New data from Denmark’s Styrelsen for Arbejdsmarked og Rekruttering (Labour Market and Recruitment Agency) show that 25 percent of people aged 65-69 were in employment as of December 2021.

That compares with 22 percent in December 2020 and 19 percent in December 2018.

Going further back, the proportion of 65-69 year-olds working in Denmark in 2011 was just 15 percent.

Rolling increases to Denmark’s retirement age are behind the ten-year trend according to Anne-Louise Lindkvist, a senior consultant  with pensions firm Sampension.

READ ALSO: Retirement in Denmark: The pensions system explained

But “there has also been movement on the labour market in recent years while more older people wish to keep working if they are able to,” Lindkvist told news wire Ritzau.

“That also contributes to Danes staying on the labour market for longer and drawing their pensions later,” she said.

December last year saw 80,899 of 323,221 people aged 65-69 in Denmark still working.

The retirement age, at which Denmark residents can draw the state folkepension, most recently went up on January 1st this year. It was made 6 months higher and is now 67.

The next change will see it rise again to 68 in 2030.

Despite the increasing rate of employment in older demographics, data shows that many seniors still find themselves overlooked for jobs due to their age.

The Ministry of Employment has previously stated that over half of over-50s have experienced rejection for a job because of their age. That is based on a ministry study conducted in 2018-21.

Parliament is currently discussing a proposed law which would prevent employers from asking the age of a job applicant.

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Demand for labour remains high in Denmark with employment up for 14th straight month

Denmark’s labour market remains on a trend which has seen the number of people in paid employment in the country grow month-on-month since early 2021.

Demand for labour remains high in Denmark with employment up for 14th straight month

New data from national agency Statistics Denmark shows that the number of people in paid employment increased by 16,000 between February and March this year and now stands at 2,947,000. The data is corrected for variations caused by work that is season-dependent.

The new figures represent the 14th consecutive month in which the number of people working in Denmark has increased.

Additionally, more people are in work now compared to just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, with a knock-on effect on the economy and jobs.

145,000 more people are hired now than just before the Covid-19 crisis, senior economist with Sydbank, Mathias Dollerup Sproegel, told news wire Ritzau.

“The labour market continues to be a ray of sunshine in the Danish economy,” Sproegel said.

“Aside from record-high employment, unemployment is also close to the record-low from before 2008. That tells us that the labour force has been strengthen somewhat in recent years,” he said.

“That is due to earlier political reforms and an active effort to bring all available hands in the Danish economy into play,” he said.

READ ALSO: How Danish work permit rules are keeping out skilled foreigners living in Sweden

Another analyst, senior economist Lars Olsen with Danske Bank, said the figures evidenced that it is still possible to find staff to fill the many available positions on the labour market.

“This suggests that there are still reserves to draw on, probably among students and people who have not previously had a strong connection to the labour market,” he said in a written comment.

“It would also seem to help that the age of the state pension has been put up again this year, so nobody will reach pension age during the first half of this year,” he said.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark delay plan to increase retirement age?

Hotels and restaurants are among sectors which saw the strongest growth in employment in March, with over 5,500 new hires giving an increase of 4.6 percent.

Culture and leisure also saw notable growth at 3.3 percent or 1,900 people.