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Denmark wants international talent to stay

Denmark has gained a global reputation for happiness and work-life balance. As a result, attracting talent may have become easier, but retaining talent has never been more challenging. Learn what’s being done to raise awareness about career opportunities amidst a growing national talent pool.

Photographs: iStock

Text: Anita Ehrhardt

The employment landscape has changed drastically in Denmark over the last decade. As membership in the EU expanded, a more significant number of students from abroad came here to work and study. And, as Denmark’s reputation as the happiest nation in the world started to spread, more and more international talent started paying attention to what Denmark has to offer. Denmark welcomed interest from professionals and university students eager to contribute to the Danish economy. However, as global interest in Denmark increased and the economy grew, competition and cost of living skyrocketed, making it increasingly difficult for unemployed international professionals and graduates to secure jobs before money and visas ran out.

Putting Denmark on the talent map Although programmes to support internationals in Denmark have existed for some time, never before has the push to retain professional talent been so organized, strategic and well-funded as it is under a new initiative called, the Talent to Denmark Project. Currently planned for the next three years, the project, spearheaded by Copenhagen Capacity, is a collaborative effort supported by a wide range of national partners, to showcase Denmark as an attractive career destination and establish the country on the global talent map.

"Attracting international talent is crucial for Danish business and for the future of Denmark, and at Copenhagen Capacity we look forward to realizing the great initiatives in this project together with our partners. With the Talent to Denmark project, we will work towards a coordinated WELCOME to internationals who choose Denmark as their career destination." - Nikolaj Lubanski, Director of Talent Attraction & Retention, Copenhagen Capacity

A national effort 

As Danish companies struggle to attract and retain highly educated talent, particularly in areas of STEM, Copenhagen Capacity is working on a national scale and with numerous organizations, to coordinate programmes and activities to support and inform companies so they can more effectively embrace diverse international talent. Copenhagen Capacity is also gathering input from its existing Young Professionals in Denmark (YPD) network comprised of international university students and alumni, to enable international professionals to gain skills, networks and knowledge which will help them secure a job in Denmark after graduation. The programme consists of events as well as virtual tools and solutions which promote community building and contact to Danish businesses. It also offers continued education and courses to ease the transition into Danish working culture and life.

Supporting Danish companies Copenhagen Capacity has worked with investment promotion and business development since 1994, and for the past ten years has included a focus on international talent attraction and retention. It has built a strong national business, and student network around the country and globally and the Talent to Denmark project will bring even greater opportunity to expand and intensify its reach and programmes, particularly in support of campaigns which strengthen hiring practices and cultural awareness throughout Danish business sectors.

Since a surprisingly large amount of Danish companies remain ill-prepared for or simply avoid hiring internationals primarily due to misconceptions about costs and challenges associated with onboarding and integrating foreign labour, Talent to Denmark will also be aggressively promoting information courses, guidance and advisory services, as well as testing, mentoring programmes for Danish companies who want to learn more about the enormous benefits of having internationals on their teams and who are looking to strengthen their onboarding of international employees.

In these unpredictable and changing times, the Danish Business Authority with co-financing from 33 partners, and a steering committee of six partners - including the Confederation of Danish Industry, is demonstrating, through the Talent to Denmark initiative, readiness and commitment to providing necessary conditions for attracting, integrating and retaining global talent.

If you are an international student and would like to learn more about what the Talent to Denmark project can offer, you can visit ‘Young Professionals in Denmark’ on Facebook. There will also be an opportunity to join the next career programme in September. If you are not a student but want to find out about upcoming events, you can inquire at your local International Citizen Center or contact Dagmar Irgang, Talent Attraction Manager via e-mail: for more information.

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