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WORKING IN DENMARK

What wages can you expect to earn in Denmark?

At an average of €46.90/hour, workers in Denmark earn the highest hourly wage in the European Union. But how do different professions stack up?

What wages can you expect to earn in Denmark?
Unfortunately, a fat bundle of 50's doesn't get very far in kroner. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix 2016

Using Statistics Denmark data from 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, the Local Denmark has compiled a table with a sampling of average salaries across industries. We’ve rounded to the nearest hundred kroner and used the average exchange rate for 2020 to determine yearly salary in euros (again rounding to the nearest hundred euros). 

And remember, these numbers are before SKAT — the Danish tax agency — takes its cut. Income tax rates in Denmark are progressive and vary based on where you live, with Copenhagen income taxes ranging from a floor of 37 percent to a maximum of 53 percent. 

READ MORE: Why is Denmark opposed to an EU minimum wage? 

Service Industry and Tourism 

Snopes, the viral internet fact-checking site, famously validated claims that Danish McDonald’s workers in Denmark earn over US$20 an hour, which many Americans rejected as impossible. But possible it is — waiters and bartenders make an average of more than 26,000 kroner a month, and all without tips! 

Waiters and bartenders 26,800 kroner/month  €43,100 per year
Cleaners (private, hotel, and office) 29,000  €46,700
Hotel managers  49,500  €79,600
Restaurant managers  61,800  €99,400
Hotel receptionists  31,000  €49,900

READ MORE: What’s the tipping culture in Denmark? 

Healthcare 

As of the first quarter of 2022, just under 198,000 people in Denmark were working in healthcare, accounting for seven percent of the entire labour force. Nurses are in particular demand after a wave of resignations following strikes in summer of 2021. 

Medical doctors 63,600 kroner/month €102,300 per year
Specialists  87,800  €141,200
Nurses 42,200 €67,900
Midwives  41,000  €65,900
Dentists  61,200  €98,400
Pharmacists 65,500  €105,400
Psychologists 48,300  €77,700

READ MORE: Denmark must do more to avoid shortage of nurses: health authority

Education 

Denmark offers public education for toddlers all the way though to graduate students, and has the bills to back it up. In 2020, Denmark invested more than 6 percent of its total GDP in education, according to Eurostat. 

University and higher education teachers   49,600 kroner/month €79,800 per year
Vocational education teacher  43,700  €70,300
Secondary education teachers  50,300  €80,900
Primary school  and early childhood  41,000  €66,000
Language teachers 47,500  €76,400

Creative Industries  

International hits like Borgen and the Chestnut Man have made Danish actors household names. But screenwriters, producers and other industry creatives have been pushing for fairer rights-sharing and compensation agreements with streaming giants like Netflix — with mixed results. 

Photographers  39,000 kroner/month €62,700 / year
Authors, journalists and linguists  49,000  €78,800
Graphic and multimedia designers 40,400 €65,000
Public relations 48,400 €77,900
Advertising and marketing  49,000 €78,800
Film, stage, and related directors and producers 43,900 €70,600

READ MORE: How streaming is pushing Danish film to breaking point 

Technology and IT 

Software developers  57,600 kroner/month €92,700 / year
Web and multimedia developers  47,700 €76,700
Applications programmers  60,000 €96,500

Engineering 

Just like any other country, engineers in Denmark take home a tidy sum, with mining engineers leading the pack. 

Mechanical Engineers 59,000 kroner/month €94,900 / year
Chemical Engineers 65,000 €104,600
Mining engineers, metallurgists and related professionals  82,600 €132,900
Electronics engineers  61,200 €98,400

READ MORE: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national 

Miscellaneous 

To round out our list, we’ve chosen some roles you might encounter in your everyday life, or in a Richard Scarry illustration. You can explore the full data sheet provided by Statistics Denmark here

Lawyers 65,600 €105,500 / year
Air traffic controllers  72,000 €115,800
Airplane pilots 81,600 €131,300
Veterinarians  53,000 €85,300
Police officers 42,700 €68,700
Building and related trades workers (excluding electricians) 38,200 €61,500
Painters 34,200 €55,000
Car, taxi and van drivers  30,100 €48,400
Garbage and recycling collectors 39,000 €62,700
Bus and tram drivers 32,500 €52,279

Member comments

  1. Last time you showed this data there was one simple spreadsheet. So, far I cannot get anything to come out of the page with all the choices.

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ECONOMY

Unemployment down in Denmark but analysts predict more without work

The number of people without work in Denmark fell slightly in October, with the total of 75,200 lower than September’s figure by 200.

Unemployment down in Denmark but analysts predict more without work

The data from Statistics Denmark therefore show a marginal decrease, which does not translate to a percentage drop in employment according to the agency.

That means 2.6 percent of Denmark’s workforce is still currently unemployed.

“The small drop in October is due to 300 fewer non-activated [not in return-to-work programmes, ed.] and 100 more activated jobseekers,” Statistics Denmark said.

Unemployment appears to still be trending downwards, which analyst Brian Friis Helmer of Arebejdernes Landsbank said was surprising.

“We have an economy that actually looks good but we have sky-high inflation and dreary economic forecasts. So it’s surprising that both unemployment and employment still seem to be withstanding this headwind,” he said.

But it is a matter of time before unemployment begins to creep upwards, according to senior economist Tore Stramer of the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv).

“The more forward-looking key metrics for the labour market have unfortunately begun to wobble considerably in recent months,” Stramer said.

“The number of available job notices has fallen by around 22 percent since February and the number of redundancy notices has meanwhile increased to the highest level since the coronavirus crisis in 2020,” he said in a written comment to news wire Ritzau.

The economist said he expects unemployment to go up by between 25,000 and 50,000 by the end of 2023.

An additional 20,000 people could lose their jobs in 2024, he said.

The construction and hospitality sectors could be amongst the most vulnerable,” he said.

Another analyst, Sydbank senior economist Søren Kristensen, also told Ritzau he believes unemployment will go up but said a slight cooling down of the labour market might be beneficial. Denmark is currently experiencing a labour shortage in several sectors.

“But we are concerned this might be a case of more than just a cooling-off,” he said.

“We expect a fall in employment figures of more than 60,000 persons during the course of 2023. They won’t all show up as being unemployed persons but we could easily end up in a situation where interest and inflation combine to catapult the number of unemployed people to over 100,000,” he said.

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