Denmark tops list of most competitive global economies

Denmark has claimed the top spot in Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development’s yearly ranking of economic competitiveness.

Denmark is the world's most competitive economy according to a new global business ranking. Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Having been ranked third last year, Denmark has been moved above the United States and Singapore and is now number 1 for the first time on the updated list, which contains 63 countries.

After steadily climbing the list from number 6 in 2018, Denmark received high marks for its resilient economy, law and order, social responsibility, stability, cohesion, absence of corruption, openness to trade, adaptability, ongoing education and motivated employees.

“This good result reflects that we, in many ways, have an incredibly well-functioning society and some very strong businesses,” Allan Sørensen, chief economist at the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), told DI Business.

Denmark’s strong economic position became particularly clear during the Covid-19 pandemic when the country managed lockdowns and restrictions, Sørensen said. That was thanks in part to the readiness of businesses to make adaptations and a high level of digitisation.

There are still clear areas for improvement, notably capacity problems and labour shortages, the economist pointed out.

One possible solution, Sørensen said, is for Denmark to recruit more skilled foreign workers. 

“Businesses are battling capacity problems, increasing costs and a large shortage of labour. It is therefore important that we reduce our high taxes and increase access to labour,” he told DI Business.

DI has advocated allowing more skilled foreign workers to enter the Danish jobs market.


The Institute for Management Development list is based on a number of factors on which each country is rated, including surveys of thousands of business leaders and experts.

Although Denmark fared well on many parameters, it received a lower mark on areas including high taxes and salary costs for businesses.

Low working hours and a large public sector are also considered drawbacks in relation to Denmark’s competitiveness.

Denmark is also considered to be held back by its relative lack of attractiveness for foreign investors, the ranking states.

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.