Danish visa scheme reform ‘not enough’ as companies say labour shortage is biggest threat

More than half of Danish companies said labour shortages were their biggest concern in a recent survey, while a spokesperson said that an adjustment of a visa rule for foreign workers was not enough to address the problem.

Danish visa scheme reform ‘not enough’ as companies say labour shortage is biggest threat
An annual survey of Danish companies has found that a lack of available labour is for the first time considered the biggest threat to businesses. File photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) found that over half of 8,000 companies in Denmark taking part in an annual survey said that a labour shortage was their biggest challenge.

In the survey, big and small companies alike responded to questions related to problems faced by businesses.

DI conducts the survey annually but labour shortages have not previously been cited as the most concerning problem for firms.

“For companies there is quite simply no more important agenda at the moment,” DI political director Emil Fannikke Kiær said in comments to news wire Ritzau.

“And it is crucial for all of the Danish economy that companies don’t miss out on growth and export because they don’t have enough staff,” he said.

Denmark’s labour shortage has repeatedly been highlighted by the business sector and discussed by politicians.


In June, a majority in parliament agreed to reduce the beløbsgrænse or Pay Limit for foreign workers, meaning the minimum wage to be granted a work and residence permit under the Pay Limit scheme was lowered.

The Pay Limit is one of several pathways by which non-EU nationals can apply for work visas in Denmark. All involve stringent criteria.

Kiær said the Pay Limit reform did not go far enough to alleviate the labour shortage.

“In the wider perspective, too little has been done for years. During the last two government administrations no honest reform was implemented which would have increased the labour supply. That won’t do [if it continues] in a third successive government,” he said.


Member comments

  1. The labour shortage line is drastically over used and a complete lie. There is plenty of available labour in Denmark with many expats and Danes struggling to find work but companies just want to undermine wages through diluting the labour force with foreign labour. Further reductions in the pay limit scheme are transparently efforts to sabotage wage growth which is insane during a period of high inflation.

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How many teenagers work part-time in Denmark and what jobs do they have?

One in three minors aged 13-17 who have part-time jobs in Denmark work in supermarkets, according to the most recent data from 2021.

How many teenagers work part-time in Denmark and what jobs do they have?

The figures, published in a Statistics Denmark report on Thursday, show that supermarkets are the biggest employer of under-18s in the country.

Some 38,000 people under the age of 18 received pay cheques from a supermarket or hypermarket (such as the large out-of-town Bilka stores) in 2021.

That is around 32 percent of all juniors who are employed in Denmark.

“It’s a strong community, also outside of work. They feel that they make a difference in customers’ daily lives and they get ongoing feedback which means a lot to them,” Louise Gade, HR director with Salling Group, told news wire Ritzau.

Salling is the largest supermarket company in Denmark and owns Bilka along with the Føtex and Netto chains.

Young staff are given additional responsibilities at work in stores when they do well, which helps them to thrive, Gade also said.

Although supermarkets are most popular overall for young people who take part time jobs, they do not always come top if the age groups are further broken down.

Danish law allows youngsters aged under 15 to work for up to two hours on schooldays and seven hours per day at the weekend, while people aged 15 or over can work up to two hours on schooldays and eight hours per day at the weekend.

While 16-17 year-olds most commonly work in supermarkets, people aged 13-15 are more likely to work on paper rounds delivering advertisements or newspapers.

Other sectors in which teenagers work include restaurants, retail, sport, agriculture and childcare.

The numbers show that, overall, 34.9 percent of all young people aged 13-17 had a job in Denmark in 2021. That corresponds to 119,500 people, which is approximately 10,000 more than in 2020.

Some 47,200 were between 13 and 15 years old, while 72,300 were aged 16 or 17.