Business Needs Talent: Tapping into the international talent pool in Denmark

The blessing of a new job in Denmark can be a curse for partners
August 17th, 2016 7:00 am| by Linda Wendelboe

Tapping into the international talent pool in Denmark.

Recently, an American woman living in Denmark contacted me. A year ago, her Danish husband got a great career opportunity at a Danish company, and they decided to take the plunge and move to Denmark.

A fruitless search
Having a higher education degree and professional experience, she expected no problems in finding a job and was quite excited about the prospect of moving to another country, encountering a new culture and getting an international career into gear.

After a year and a bunch of job applications, she still has no job. When she wrote to me, she was feeling both deeply frustrated and disheartened. She was trying very hard to get into contact with companies across the country – her last card before considering leaving Denmark.

Positions aplenty
Unfortunately, her case is not unique. We regularly hear from expats leaving Denmark because their accompanying partners are not able to find a job. It is a personal defeat for families having invested a lot into a new life, and it is equally painful for the companies, who are losing key employees shortly after an expensive recruitment process.

It is a paradox that highly skilled accompanying partners have trouble finding a job when a lack of talent is one of the core challenges Danish companies face. The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment recently published a report revealing that Danish companies were unable to fill 15,600 positions this spring alone, and the tendency is increasing.

Denmark’s growth and prosperity is dependent on our ability to attract and retain talents from abroad. However, we also need to become better at leveraging the unexploited pool of international talents already living in Denmark.

Networking is key
My American friend found it extremely difficult to find a job in Denmark without a network, and she is not alone. This is why initiatives such as mentor programs and the International Dual Career Network – which aims to connect partners of relocated employees with hiring companies – are so valuable.

At DI Global Talent, we facilitate a network of professionals working with expats, where we discuss best practices and experiences. Our objective is that services offered to international employees and their accompanying partners are professional, efficient and aligned across the country. By working together, we aim to help ease the accompanying spouses’ way into the job market and enable companies to benefit from their talent.

Linda Wendelboe


Linda heads DI Consortium for Global Talent at The Confederation of Danish Industry. Leading this initiative, she addresses the challenges and opportunities for attracting and retaining foreign talent from an industry perspective.