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Denmark - Finding Employment

In recent years, there is an increasing need for foreign labour in various industries in Denmark, but competition from Danish graduates is high as well. The chances of those who look for graduate employment may be better if they are skilled workers and have some knowledge of the Danish language. The labour market in this country is flexible and Denmark is considered to be one of the best places to find employment in Europe. The majority of the population speaks English, although knowledge of Danish is very useful when looking for work as well.

Where to find work

There is always a chance to find a job in industries concentrated on metals, pharmaceuticals, furniture and wood production, food processing, shipbuilding, chemicals, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing.

In recent years there has been a need for new employees in wind turbine industries and manufacturing for global export.

When it comes to shortage occupations, there's always a place for engineers, various medical and social work professionals, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and IT experts.

In general, one of the best ways to find work is to apply to some major companies, such as Maersk (transportation), Danske Bank, TDC (telecom services), Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals), Carlsberg, Jyske Bank, Danisco (food), H. Lundbeck (pharmaceuticals), Lego, ALK-Abelló (pharmaceuticals), Sydbank, TORM (shipping), or FLSmidth & Co (construction and engineering).

Working conditions

Average working hours in Denmark are 37 hours a week. When planning holidays, future employees should know that they have a statutory minimum of five weeks’ annual leave entitlement. The holiday year goes from 1 May to 30 April. There are also 12 official public holidays during the biggest Christian festivals and many workers have the option of taking the Constitution Day off, which is 5 June.

The Kingdom of Denmark is one of the highest taxed countries in the world. Flat rate social security tax is 8%, which is gross, deducted before other taxes are included. Every municipal area imposes a tax for local services as well, and the average in 2013 was 24.9%. The income tax is progressive, so the top rate is 15%. At highest rates, the total tax can hit 55.6%, according to data from 2013 and 2014. For those who come from UK, it is smart to check the UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure that they are not going to forego any UK pension rights.

Applying for jobs

Citizens from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) can visit their nearest job centre in Denmark to look for employment. In addition to that, there is also the Work in Denmark website and service centres in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus that can help in finding work. In general, those who apply for work have to present their covering letter and CV. The Danish CV should be made in a similar format to the UK one. To see an example of CV in Denmark, just type "Eurograduate, Denmark - Sample CV" into your search engine.

The interview process is similar to the one in the United Kingdom. Candidates are usually invited for an interview and questioned about their professional competence, motivation and personality. Employers will try to see if their candidates will fit with the culture of their company. The employers will also expect that future employees have a good understanding of their business. In recent years, psychometric and aptitude tests are becoming popular, particularly with larger companies.

Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), UK qualifications are usually recognised by employers in the Kingdom of Denmark.

Job websites

- Jobnet Denmark is the official website for Danish jobseekers and employers. It includes contact details for job centres by area, but it is in Danish.
- EURES - European Job Mobility Portal – this portal provides job vacancies and a CV-posting service for those looking for work, as well as information on living and working conditions in Denmark.
- Work in Denmark – another popular platform.

Recruitment agencies, newspapers and the internet, as well as Danish libraries and telephone directories can also give valuable details of appropriate companies to approach. It is also good to check Karriere Vejviser for company profiles.

There are numerous job vacancies that are not advertised and are filled via personal contacts, so it can be worthwhile sending speculative applications to employers in the field that jobseekers are interested in. Potential employees should send a CV and covering letter expressing their interest in the company and their goals in coming to Denmark.

Work experience

Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020 and it covers student exchange, work experience and volunteering opportunities. Undergraduate and postgraduate students can use this to study abroad for 3 to 12 months. Erasmus+ also includes opportunities for work experience for students to learn new skills or languages, as well as volunteering in different countries for between two weeks and 12 months.

Work placements and internships
It is wise to look for apprenticeships and traineeships in Denmark on the Praktikpladsen, but the website is in Danish only. Placements can also be found through organisations such as AIESEC, the Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, or IAESTE, the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience and the International Voluntary Service (IVS) in Britain. It's even smart to send speculative applications to relevant companies asking them for work placements.

Casual work
Sometimes there are opportunities for seasonal or summer work in hotels, restaurants and pubs in Copenhagen or other major cities. It is important to know that some knowledge of Danish may be required. Denmark has a large agricultural industry which employs casual workers as well. Between July and September, there's the main fruit harvest, the season of tomatoes, apples, cherries and strawberries.

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