When internationals arrive in Denmark, they face many challenges - everything is new,
and it can be difficult to approach and navigate Danish culture and society.
Text: Lasse Frimand Jensen
This challenge is even more significant if you arrive as an accompanying spouse or partner and navigate the Danish job market without a network. I tried that myself when I moved to Uganda and settled with my wife.
The importance of focusing on partners
An increasing number of highly qualified internationals are choosing to move to Denmark, and more Danish companies also focus on international recruitment due to labour shortages. International workers contribute significantly to the Danish economy and development, benefiting Denmark greatly. Many bring their spouse or partner but often arrive without jobs, though most have the skills and desire to work.
Successful integration requires the international employee and their partner to be satisfied and settled. However, integration becomes more difficult without a job because the network and community a workplace provides are essential. The partner is, therefore, often without a network, creating a risk for the Danish companies that their international employees will leave the job and Denmark.
When having international employees, it is, therefore, vital to focus on the family as a whole and make sure that the partner is also happy and is getting settled in Denmark. Furthermore, a study from Tænketanken DEA has shown that finding a job for the accompanying partner is one of the most critical factors in retaining one's international employees. This makes accompanying partners a vital group to focus on and essential for Denmark's economic growth.
It would be a shame for companies to lose a valued employee due to their partner not feeling properly settled, not to mention the cost for companies to recruit and train employees they lose shortly afterwards. Therefore, this is an essential focus for International House North Denmark, located in Aalborg.
They provide help and guidance for accompanying partners via their Spouse Space programme to increase their chances of finding a job.
Spouse Space is characterised by meetings approximately every second month, where the participants are asked to help decide the topics. The meetings focus on topics like job searching, networking, volunteer work, and entrepreneurship, but they also have a social and networking aspect. Spouse Space aims to create relationships between spouses and partners, help with job search and integration in the Northern Danish region, and introduce partners to networking opportunities. Partners can also receive one-to-one guidance if they wish.
Their next meeting is on 15 February, where the focus will be on volunteering and how partners can use this during their job search. Speakers from Rotary International and Frivillighuset will join to present volunteer opportunities. Then, on 22 March, there is a workshop about Career Days in Gigantium, where partners can learn how to approach and present themselves to companies. Events will also be planned for June, October, November, and December.
Partners have job potential
Partners are essential to focus on because companies risk losing their employees if the whole family is not well settled. An example of this is accompanying spouse Anastasia from Ukraine, who came to Denmark with her Danish husband. Despite her spouse being able to provide for the family, she wanted to work. Bringing years of experience in sales and pr, she wanted to find work within the same field. After some time, her job search was successful when she found her dream job at the IT company Internet Zoo in Aalborg with the prospect of being both in charge of sales and a personal assistant. For Anastasia, this meant she could learn about Danish workplace culture and meet new Danish coworkers while the company gained a valued employee with the desired competencies. You can read Anastasia's full story here.
Accompanying partners, therefore, bring essential educational backgrounds and competencies that companies need, especially during the current labour shortage. Studies also show that diversity in the workplace brings innovation and growth. Accompanying partners should therefore be viewed as an investment with many opportunities.