Few jobs found through Jobcenters

Employers want publicly funded employment centres to take a more active role in helping people find work. Unions say they should just post more job adverts

Only one in five job seekers finds work with the help of publicly funded employment agencies, according to a report released by employer confederation Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening (DA).

DA’s findings were based on figures from the most recent Danmarks Statistik labour-force report, which looked into how 700,000 newly employed workers found their jobs. The report found that most job seekers found work by using their networks or by answering advertisements.

The announcement comes as unions blame companies for not doing enough to advertise their jobs with public employment centres, while at the same time complaining that Danes are unwilling to take on low-paying jobs such as cleaners or agricultural workers.

“We have seen a tendency to criticise companies for the lack of Danish applicants for some jobs. But we can see that companies are choosing the employment methods they believe provides them with the best talent,” Jørn Neergaard Larsen, the head of DA, told Berlingske newspaper. “Unions and employment centres should look into that rather than wait for the companies to come to them.”

Larsen argued that council-run Jobcentres and unemployment insurance providers (a-kasser) should be more aware about which companies prefer which methods.

“Naturally, they can’t be familiar with every company's needs and wants, but they need to have an overview of the local labour market,” Larsen said. “An example would be learning what a specific company's needs are if it opens in the area, as well as the recruiting methods used in its industry.”

Labour union 3F, however, argued that DA was to blame when employers faced labour shortages.

“Companies have decided to label Danes as lazy. But every time we look into specific instances, it turns out that the company has not advertised its job needs. You can’t accuse Danes of being lazy if you don't advertise the jobs that you have available,” Arne Grevsen, a 3F spokesperson, told Berlingske.

The conclusions of a University of Copenhagen study suggest otherwise. Its findings indicated that it is the efficiency of foreigners that make them more attractive, not their willingness to accept lower wages.

That was also something 3F disagreed with.

“Employers are saving money by hiring foreigners and firing Danes. That’s been their excuse for pushing down wages,” Grevsen said.

The relationship between businesses, Jobcentres and a-kasser will be a central theme in discussions over possible changes to the way the state helps jobless find work.

Proposals for the changes are due in August and will be based on the recommendations of a panel appointed by the Employment Ministry.

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