Denmark bans companies from asking age of job applicants

Companies in Denmark are no longer permitted to ask the age of candidates applying for jobs with them.

Denmark bans companies from asking age of job applicants
Job applications in Denmark will no longer including information relating to the candidate's age. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

The law, which was adopted in parliament in March, came into effect on Friday.

According to the law, applicants should no longer give their age when applying for jobs. The objective of the new law is to prevent employers from rejecting applicants because of their age.

Commenting in March when parliament passed the law, Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard said that he hoped the law would give older members of the labour market better conditions when looking for work.

“I appreciate that this ban won’t do everything but it does send a strong signal,” Hummelgaard said.

“With this legislation, we want to avoid employers filtering their pile of applications by just looking at birth dates before reading through them, and that they actually address the competencies of the applicant,” he said.

A recent survey found that the number of people who feel discriminated based on their age when applying for work has fallen, even though the law had yet to take effect.

Trade union HK Privat, which represents around 100,000 private sector workers found that 17 percent of its members said they had experienced age discrimination, in a survey. A similar survey conducted last autumn returned a result of 24 percent to the same question.

Employment figures also show a positive trend in the area.

Unemployment and long-term unemployment among 50-59 year-olds has fallen by 50 percent within the last year, news wire Ritzau writes.

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Danish businesses repeat call for foreign workers amid labour shortage

Local authorities and a major business interest organisation have urged Denmark’s government to address a labour shortage.

Danish businesses repeat call for foreign workers amid labour shortage

Unmet demand for labour in both private businesses and the public sector has reached a crisis point, according to an appeal to the government to reach a broader labour agreement. 

Parliament must renew its efforts to find a new national compromise which will secure more labour, the National Association of Municipalities (Kommunernes Landsforening, KL) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) said according to financial media Finans.

“The parties [in parliament] must be honest with voters and start a completely different and strict prioritisation of what the public sector can offer people,” mayor and KL chairperson Martin Damm told news wire Ritzau.

“Otherwise, the parties must find the labour needed for private companies to provide growth and wellbeing, and for us at municipalities to have the staff and economy to deliver the services people expect,” he said.

The municipalities will need 44,000 additional employees by 2030 due to increasing numbers of children and elderly in the population, according to KL.

Short the lack of labour persist, municipal governments could be forced to reduce the priority of services such as cleaning for elderly residents, according to Damm.

Danish businesses are finding it harder than ever to recruit staff and could hire 38,000 new workers immediately if they were available, according to DI, which represents the interests of about 19,000 Danish companies. 

Lars Sandahl Sørensen, managing director of DI, firmly believes the answer to the labour shortage lies outside Danish borders. 

“We will need many more foreigners,” Sørensen told Finans.

“It is not about getting cheap labour, but about getting people at all. We are in a situation where we do not have employees to carry out the things on green conversion that we have already decided to do, and that we would like to do on health and welfare,” he said.

Employment minister Peter Hummelgaard told Finans that the government agreed a deal on international recruitment shortly before the summer break.

READ MORE: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you aren’t an EU national?