I have to admit that I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to numbers and surveys concerning international employees in Denmark. I always find it interesting to dive into the results and try to pinpoint the reasons behind the numbers. Why are companies having difficulties attracting international talents? Which issues support their ability to attract highly-skilled foreign employees?
These surveys always provide food for thought, and AmCham Denmark’s recent ‘Business Barometer 2012’ is no exception. The survey shows that Denmark’s ability to attract and retain talented foreign employees is only rated as ‘above average’ or better by 11 percent of the respondents, whereas 47 percent find it to be ‘below average’ or ‘poor’. Poor numbers, to say the least.
To me, and probably everyone else in this field, it is no surprise that taxation, bureaucracy and openness towards foreigners are very important issues regarding the attraction and retention of international employees – and major concerns for companies in Denmark that aim to improve competitiveness by attracting international talents. Before moving to Denmark, I didn’t really contemplate these issues, as I was only planning to stay here for nine months. However, I was fortunate enough to be recruited to a job during my stay. Then bureaucracy and taxation caught my attention. That was many years ago, but it seems that these issues are still on top of everybody’s list.
Some 83.5 percent of the companies in the survey are located in the Greater Copenhagen area, which may lead one to think that the issues only concern this area. However, International Community’s own surveys, as well as surveys from other areas, show similar results. Many projects and organisations all over the country work hard and spend a lot of money to improve the conditions for international employees and their families. However, the same challenges will continue to show up again and again, unless we find a solution to the challenges at a higher level.
I have argued for a national strategy for quite some time now – and this new research supports my point. In order to become a prosperous society of knowledge and innovation where international talents flourish, we need to implement a national strategy that focuses on solutions to the challenges that continuously appear in these surveys. The strategy must promote competitiveness and support economic growth, and also the attraction and retention of both Danish and international talent. Furthermore, the strategy should address the fields of education, immigration, tax and public service, and it should focus on measures to bring a more internationally orientated focus to Danish society. All relevant stakeholders at national, regional and local levels should collaborate on this strategy – I, for one, would love to participate.