News in Digest: Rough month for layoffs

Rough month for layoffs Thousands on the job hunt following redundancies at Novo Nordisk, the postal services and Leo Pharma, plus more on the way

The Danish biotech sector may be number one in Europe, and ranked third in the world, Scientific American Worldview confirmed in early October, but that was little consolation to the employees of Novo Nordisk laid off a week earlier.

The Danish giant announced plans to lay off 500 employees in Denmark and 1,000 jobs in total in the wake of some disappointing interim results in August.

The company said the layoffs were among several actions that will be taken to reduce operating costs ahead of a challenging 2017 – particularly in its significant US market.

Streamlining process
According to Novo, the majority of the laid-off employees are based at the company’s research and development department, its headquarters, and its global commercial organisation.

The news came less than a week after the company announced it would be reducing its price of insulin in developing nations compared to a fraction of the cost in the West.

Meanwhile, another company in the same sector with woeful news for its employers was Leo Pharma, which announced it was letting 400 members of staff go worldwide ahead of a restructuring.

Bye bye Bio-ethanol
The news wasn’t much better in Jutland where the plug has been pulled on the billion-kroner Maabjerg Energy Center near Holstebro, draining some 1,000 future jobs from the area.

According to the leadership of the bio-ethanol project, financial problems are behind the untimely demise of what was supposed to become Denmark’s first bio-refinery.

The refinery was supposed to produce green energy, heating, biofuel and second generation bio-ethanol based on waste products from the local agriculture sector.

Going postal
Elsewhere, the struggles of the national postal service Post Danmark look set to continue following the announcement that 770 employees are losing their jobs.

The postal service confirmed that 520 of its employees will be given their redundancy papers next week, while 250 have already been let go and will leave within the next two months. Dwindling letters in the post was given as the primary reason.

Other significant layoff rounds included 105 by pump manufacturer Grundfos, 96 being made redundant by tech chain Computer City, and engineering firm FLSmidth saying goodbye to 130.

Engineer shortage
But at least there was a spot of good news for FLSmidth’s laid-off engineers. The shortage of engineers in Denmark has led to lucrative wages and ‘signing-on’ bonuses in the industry.

An example of this is hearing aid producer William Demant, which needs nearly 50 engineers at its headquarters in Smørum and has offered a 10,000 kroner ‘bounty’ to any employee who brings in a new colleague.

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