Good at English, but poor leaders and badly set up for remote workers – survey’s findings a wake-up call for government

Local Talent Index released by WorkMotion underlines what advocates have been saying for 15-odd years: Denmark is way out of touch with the realities of the global labour market

They have the language ability, but little else (photo: workmotion.com)
May 18th, 2022 10:12 am| by Ben Hamilton
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Copenhageners are among the best urban-dwelling non-mother tongue speakers of English in the world, according to the Local Talent Index, a new remote working study by WorkMotion.

In the latest English Proficiency Index, a country-by-country report last updated in November 2021, the Danes trailed Austria, but Copenhagen came out on top over Vienna in the WorkMotion study.   

The WorkMotion report accordingly suggests that Denmark’s overall score is dragged down by those who live outside the capital.

Well ahead of Sweden!
Copenhagen scored 95.49 out of a possible 100, trailing only two Dutch cities: Amsterdam (100) and Rotterdam (97.91). Vienna (94.95) and Helsinki (92.53) completed the top five.

Sweden will be disappointed with the scores of its leading cities: Stockholm (91.65) and Gothenburg (89.12). 

Fury erupted several years ago when Sweden topped Denmark in the English Proficiency Index

Simply not a good hire for international companies
However, Copenhagen has less to celebrate when the rest of the WorkMotion study’s findings are assessed.

Its overall ranking underlines that despite their language ability, Copenhageners are not a particularly good hire for international companies.

Furthermore, in light of the huge growth in people working remotely worldwide – a 140 percent jump in the last 15 years – the study specifically assesses which “global cities’ residents are best prepared to compete for high-paying and English-speaking remote positions”.  

And Copenhagen is not one of them.

Poor in all assessed professions
The Local Talent Index compares the quality of the local workforce in six key professions, along with the remote working infrastructure.

For Developers, Seoul ranked first with Copenhagen 60th; for Cyber Security, Bangalore ranked first with Copenhagen 59th; for Data Scientists/Analysts, London ranked first with Copenhagen 84th, and for Digital Marketing Managers, HR Professionals and Video Game Developers, Buenos Aires ranked first, with Copenhagen 77th, 84th and 75th respectively.  

Across the parameters, Copenhagen ranked better for access to junior talent than access to senior talent – a finding in line with Danish companies’ tendency to recruit experts and executives from overseas.

For available salaries, though, Copenhagen ranked pretty highly. 

Woeful for co-working places
Copenhagen’s poor score for co-working places (25.0) suggests that the phenomenon of working remotely simply isn’t catching on fast enough in Denmark, and likewise the ease of compliance score (50.76). Again, this was well below average. 

“The study aims to shine a light on the cities that are set to become central players in the globalised remote job market,” asserts WorkMotion.

“In order to adapt and remain competitive in the future global employment market, it is essential that cities adequately equip their local talent to work the jobs of tomorrow. As such, cities need to cultivate an English-speaking, tech-savvy workforce through education and develop proper infrastructure for remote workers through affordable coworking spaces. Crucially, governments must legislate forward-thinking compliance procedures to ensure it is easy for foreign companies to manage local employees.”

Government letting down its citizens
The study’s findings suggest that the Danish government is failing to equip its citizens with the tools to compete in a global employment market. 

“Since the pandemic began, we have witnessed a rapid increase of workers worldwide embracing the opportunity to work from anywhere, as well as a rise in competitive, foreign location-based salaries available to the best global talent,” observes WorkMotion. 

“Despite this extraordinary opportunity for economic growth, most governments have done little to capitalise upon the opportunity.”

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