Working in Denmark For Members

Why more than half of jobs in Denmark aren't advertised

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
Why more than half of jobs in Denmark aren't advertised
'Not networking is notworking' career coach Nischa Don Maak told The Local. Photo: Daniela Pacheco

According to a Danish trade union, two out of three company positions aren't advertised in Denmark, making job-hunting for those new to the country a challenge. We spoke to to a Danish career coach to shed some light on how to find Denmark's hidden jobs.


Job-hunting on the premise that what you see, is less than half of what's on offer, can feel like entering a mystery trail.  The Danish Trade Union Djøf wrote in their publication Djøfbladet in 2020 that two out of three positions in Denmark are never advertised, according to a number of recruitment specialists. 

"There are a number of reasons why so many jobs aren't advertised in Denmark," said Nischa Don Maak, a career coach who spent more than 12 years as a hiring manager here.

"Firstly, Denmark is a small village compared to the UK, India or the States for example and people like to talk to each other, and give recommendations of people to hire. So for lot of the international people I coach from larger countries, this is their first realisation, that Denmark is like a village. 

"Besides, Denmark is famous for its work-life balance, so we get a lot of applicants from all over the world. I once had 700 applicants for just one position. So it takes a lot of work and time to advertise and recruit. In addition there are also rules from Danish job centres that unemployed people need to apply to any job twice a week, so that gives a lot of unserious applications or maybe applicants that didn't even read the job ad," Nischa explained.


"Many companies don't post officially because they maybe have interns or agreements with a business school and they hire from there, or from someone who has done project-based work for them before.

"But often it's just easier for a hiring manager to hire a recruiter or post about the job on LinkedIn. Maybe the team themselves get asked to help find a new colleague. There's a reward system in some Danish companies where an employee can get 1000-5000 kroner for helping the company find their next employee," Nischa told The Local.

In the candidate analysis report from HR consultancy firm Ballisager in 2023, 50 percent of respondents said they found their job in the last 1-2 years without an advert. It was a similar response in their 2019 report, where 51 percent of respondents (789) said their job wasn't advertised: 39 percent said they found their job through networking, 27 precent through an unsolicited application, 24 percent from the internet, 9 percent through a headhunter and 1 percent social media. 

This may seem overwhelming for internationals new to Denmark or those applying from abroad. But Nischa explained it's about shifting your mindset to the Danish job market.

"Instead of finding jobs, try and get the jobs to find you. You can do that via networking but also unsolicited applications. An unsolicited application should be clear, short and crisp - a little longer than half a page because the employer didn't ask for it. You can also network your way into a company and then send an unsolicited application, either before or after making contact. I always tell people to remember, 'Not networking is notworking,'" Nischa emphasised to The Local. 


READ ALSO: Networking in Denmark: Not as scary as it seems?

The idea of approaching a Dane you've never met before for job advice, may seem at odds with the famous Danish reserved nature but it's actually very common.

"I know Danes are not known for being the most open and friendly people, but networking we really like, and helping other people. Don't ask a Dane to a movie but a networking event and chances are way higher for a yes," Nischa explained.

The Danish love of networking is highlighted by the popularity of the work-related networking service LinkedIn. In January 2024, there were 3.3 million LinkedIn users in Denmark, up from 3.1 million users the previous year, according to Statista. That's more than half of Denmark's population, which is 5.9 million

"LinkedIn is a great place to network. It's a social media and we are supposed to be social on social media. So you can reach out to someone and say, 'I saw your profile, I'm interested in your sector, can you spare 15 minutes or are you up for a virtual coffee?' - that is effective networking", Nischa said.

Nischa Don Maak hosting a networking event. Photo: Nischa Don Maak

"When people visit your LinkedIn profile, why not say 'thanks for visiting my profile I just returned the visit, your work looks interesting, I would love to connect.' You could also add in if you can be helpful to them via your own network or expertise. It's all give and take - and most people forget to take.

"Keep your current network in mind as well, it's not just about growing. One way is to keep posting on LinkedIn to showcase your talents or blog about your knowledge. You could also offer to help a company out or offer some advice then post about that. I have tons of stories from people who got jobs through doing things like that.

"My last tip is to enjoy the process of trying networking out, and finding your own style in the Danish world of networking," Nischa added.


Three years ago, Nischa Don Maak set up a free community for international and Danish women called Career Club. There are currently 6,400 members from 98 countries who take part in monthly events and share advice on their Facebook group, to support each other in their careers -  something Nischa says is vital in job-hunting. She also offers personalised career coaching services

"You have to do it yourself, but you don't have to be alone. Find a mentor or sparring partner, or anyone in the same situation. When we are job hunting, we feel at our most vulnerable and insecure, doubting our own skills. And this is time we are asked to show confidence and to sell ourselves and it's not the time we feel our best. So get help and support, to keep motivated for example by networking too."



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also