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WORKING IN DENMARK

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
A representative for Danish municipalities said services may have to be cut if a labour shortage is not addressed. Photo by everdrop GmbH on Unsplash

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? 

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WORKING IN DENMARK

Danish employment drops for first time in 18 months

The number of people in employment in Denmark fell in July after 17 consecutive monthly increases, according to new national data.

Danish employment drops for first time in 18 months

New figures from national agency Statistics Denmark show that there were 5,000 fewer people employed in July compared to the month before.

That decrease follows an extended period during which the record for the total number of people working in the country was consistently broken.

Almost 200,000 additional people were working in Denmark in June 2022 compared to January 2021.

High employment rates are often cited by economists as indicators of a strong economy. The total number for employment in July was 2,953,000 persons.

According to Statistics Denmark, the figure of 5,000 fewer employed comes almost exclusively from the sector defined as “public administration and service” (offentlig forvaltning og service).

Another sector, “businesses and organisations” (virksomheder og organisationer), was stable between the two months.

The new number need not set off any alarm bells but could indicate that a surge in employment subsequent to the coronavirus crisis may have peaked during the summer, an analyst said.

“This high conjuncture with the corona crisis in the background seems to be over. Things aren’t moving forward quite as quickly at the moment,” Nykredit senior economist Palle Sørensen told news wire Ritzau.

“And we are now beginning to be put under strain by the energy crisis that has come to Denmark and Europe in particular,” he said.

“We think that the energy crisis will be the trend-setting event in the coming months: How much individuals should reduce private consumption to pay these record-high energy bills that are being dropped into their post boxes,” he said.

The Statistics Denmark figure for employment is corrected for seasonal factors.

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