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Recruiting and retaining internationals in Jutland

Photographs: WakeupData

Text: Juan Jose Keena - CEO WakeupData

Aarhus and Eastern Jutland is home to many international-minded companies and organisations that all contribute to the internationalisation of this area. International Community will take you by the hand and show you the diverse scene on which internationalisation is built. This issue we are highlighting WakeupData.

When you realise that WakeupData is a Danish SME with 12 employees from 10 different nationalities, including a Spanish CEO, you understand that internationalisation is a thing for us. It's funny, we never aimed or chose to hire international employees. It happened organically. We seem to be attracting a talented international task force, who often face difficulties trying to gain experience in the local job market in Aarhus. Undoubtedly, our decision to communicate in English has resonated in the community of recent graduates and international job seekers.

WakeupData has been expanding operations to the Nordic Market, UK and Ireland. In our industry of e-commerce and IT, we use English as a vehicular language as a general rule. We have ultimately grown an international task force by ensuring that the competences, the company culture and the person applying, are a match. It is also important to mention that 70% of the current employees at WakeupData went through an internship as a proof of concept, including me, the CEO.

Having different mindsets, educational backgrounds, and a range of international professional experiences makes us stronger and more resilient to changes in the market. Lately, there is a consensus in Denmark as well as the EU that economic development cannot sustain itself without international talent available in the local job market, that includes EU mobility but also remote hiring.

Opening up the international talent pool

From high qualified and specialised jobs to hospitality and services roles, internationalisation is here to stay. Yet, it is worth mentioning that job opportunities for internationals are more scarce in Aarhus than in Copenhagen. Many of the recent international graduates end up moving from Aarhus to Copenhagen or back home. This happens mostly due to SMEs in Aarhus being less open to hiring internationals.

An example of that is visible when you type a search in Job portals or LinkedIn. You will notice that a significant percentage of the search results have Danish Job descriptions only. While this is understandable - we are in Denmark after all - posting the job listing in English may open up a wider talent pool for employers.

What are the critical questions • Are SMEs less inclined to hire internationals?

• What type of talent is required in the local context of Aarhus that cannot be fulfilled?

• How can we build bridges between the international pool of talent and the companies

that are hiring?

Retention of international talent is a fundamental key strategy that will play a significant part in the economic growth of Aarhus, even more so than attracting talent. It is also much more cost-effective in the long run. Keeping international talent at play in the local job market requires a commitment from companies to offer opportunities to international students, spouses and job seekers eager to prove themselves.

Internships and part-time jobs are excellent tools that facilitate "pilots", good opportunities to bring down pre-conceptions, find common ground and understand whether your international candidate may fit and exceed expectations by bringing something novel to your organisation.

On the other hand, long term solutions may require more international civic representatives seated in the decision-making committees, along with companies and public institutions. Collectively, we can build better and more diverse job market opportunities that will benefit us all.

About WakeupData WakeupData ApS is an IT business from Aarhus, founded in 2014. Our mission is to empower e-commerce professionals with software solutions that transform big data into actionable outcomes. WakeupData offers user-friendly software to online stores and media agencies to help them sell more throughout their omnichannel strategies.

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