More foreign nationals have full time jobs in Denmark than ever before

Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage.
Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash
A record number of foreign nationals are active on the Danish labour market and now comprise over 10 percent of all people in full time employment.

The figure, reported by newspaper Berlingske, comes from an analysis by the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), which found that 266,000 foreign nationals, reported to be a record number, were working full time in Denmark in October 2021.

As such, foreigners comprise 10.5 percent of total employment, according to the report.

The figure represents a notable increase over the last decade, having stood at 6.3 percent in 2011.

Foreign workers take up so much of the labour demand in Denmark that they are now indispensable, an analyst told Berlingske.

“There are so many workplaces which would not get by without foreign labour,” labour market researcher Thomas Bredgaard of Aalborg University told the newspaper.

Labour shortages were reported across most sectors in Denmark during much of 2021, with employment figures consistently increasing.

READ ALSO: Employment in Denmark grows for ninth consecutive month but is it sustainable?

The 2,895,000 people currently in work in Denmark is a record high level.

At the same time, unemployment levels are at their lowest since the period following the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s.

While generally opposed to easing rules on foreign workers, the government recently suggested it could be prepared to take steps to allow more foreign labour in response to the shortage.

In her New Year speech, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the government was “willing to discuss” the matter.

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party, an ally of the government’s in parliament, favours more lenient rules for foreign labour.

DI’s CEO Lars Sandahl also backed “new tone” from the government on foreign labour.

“It’s no secret that we, during 2021, have been very impatient to see solid political solutions for the massive societal challenge that labour shortage presents for the whole country across sectors,” Sandahl said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage?


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