Denmark at a Glance
Working in DenmarkiStockphoto
Denmark has a thriving economy, offering many career opportunities to expats.
It is not surprising that people working in Denmark enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world, considering that their economy is dominated by government welfare measures and an equitable distribution of income. Yet, the modern market economy also boasts a state-of-the-art industry and a high-tech agricultural sector. Expats might just find an occupation at some of the world-leading pharmaceutical companies and maritime shipping firms in the country.
While the economy experienced a drop during the financial crisis, it made a modest recovery in 2010. Nevertheless, Denmark is one of the strongest nations in the EU and its economy is back on track. Expats with plans on working in Denmark should know, however, that the country has declined to join the European Economic and Monetary Union and has hence kept its own currency.
The Danish Job Market
Many people working in Denmark are self-employed and own their own company or restaurant, or have an agricultural business. Generally speaking, Denmark’s labor force consists of 2.8 million people working in the following fields:
- 36% offer public and personal services
- 18% work in commerce, hotels and restaurants
- 16% work in Denmark’s manufacturing industries
- 13% are occupied in finance and business services
- 7% work in building and construction
- 6% are employed in transport, postal services or telecommunications
- 3% work in agriculture, fisheries and sectors related to raw materials
- 1% work in energy and water supply
The Job Search in Denmark
For expats who dream of working in Denmark and are not the subject of an intra-company transfer, the job search is often the most tedious aspect of preparing their life abroad. There are many details you need to pay attention to when trying to find a job in Denmark. You should make sure, for instance, to brush up on your Danish before applying. After all, working in Denmark without a basic command of the Danish language is virtually impossible.
There are indeed many ways of finding work in Denmark. You can, for instance, refer to job centers for help. This makes sense if you have already been in Denmark for a while and are now searching for a new job. This is also where you have to register if you become unemployed.
However, it may be more convenient to use your expat network to learn about new job openings. You can also send unsolicited applications to companies for which you would like to be working. Use the Internet and search newspaper classifieds and business magazine ads or contact private employment agencies. The latter may cost you some money, but they will help you find exactly the kind of job you have been looking for.
EU/EEA nationals and Nordic citizens working in Denmark do not require a work or residence permit. However, there are some minor restrictions for EU/EEA nationals. You can learn more about these restrictions by contacting a Danish consulate or diplomatic mission abroad, or the Danish Immigration Service in Denmark. Permits for expats are only granted if no Danish citizen could fill your prospective position. This means that your future employer has to prove that there are not enough people in Denmark qualified for the specific type of work you are hired to do. Which type of permit for working in Denmark applies to you depends on the individual scheme:
- The Positive List contains professions with a current labor shortage. You can apply directly for a work permit if your job is on this list.
- The Pay Limit Scheme is designated for expats with a higher income.
- The Corporate Scheme lets you transfer to a branch of your company.
- The Greencard Scheme allows highly skilled professionals an extensive job search with subsequent employment.
- The Researchers Scheme eases the application process for researchers.
For more information on work permits, please refer to our article on Moving to Denmark or contact a Danish consulate or embassy in your home country.