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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‘One in two’ tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Visits by inspectors uncovered the practice of social dumping at over half of companies checked in Denmark last year, the Ministry of Tax said on Friday.

'One in two' tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Inspections in 2022 at workplaces including restaurants, construction sites and agricultural and cleaning businesses turned up a large number of cases of social dumping.

Some 3,343 inspections were conducted during the year, scrutinising working environments and tax payments along with staff work and residence permits, the Danish Tax Agency (Skattestyrelsen) said.

Social dumping is defined by the EU as the practice whereby “workers are given pay and/or working and living conditions which are sub-standard compared to those specified by law or collective agreements in the relevant labour market, or otherwise prevalent there.”

This means that, in cases where the Danish authorities detected social dumping, foreign staff were working under poorer conditions than the law or relevant collective bargaining agreement provides for Danish nationals. This saves employers money because the labour costs them less.

The Tax Agency is responsible for checking Danish tax rules are properly complied with. As such, the checks by the Tax Agency checked tax aspects of potential social dumping breaches, with other authorities responsible for other areas.

The Tax Agency can detect social dumping by, for example, checking the amount of income tax or VAT (moms in Danish) paid at a company.

Companies were asked to regulate their tax payments at more than one in two inspections in 2022, according to the tax ministry.

“The new report from the Tax Agency clearly shows that there is an issue here and that the joint efforts from authorities are paying off,” Tax Minister Jeppe Bruus said in the statement.

Some 1.9 billion kroner has been raised by the state in tax demands made as a result of social dumping inspections since 2015.

Last year’s inspections enabled tax authorities to demand 317 million kroner, the highest figure since structured control of social dumping began in 2012. The prior year, 2021, saw demands for 311 million kroner issued as a result of the inspections.

“It’s crucial for the economy and cohesion in society that there is respect for the playing rules of the Danish labour market,” Bruus said.