Advice for your return to the Danish labour market

The rising tide of uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus crisis has many expat Danes considering a return to Denmark. One major challenge after living abroad for many years is finding a good job – even for those with a CV boasting global experience and skills.

UN bygningen i Danmark

This article is a reprint from the June 2020 DANES magazine.
Text: Elisabeth Geday, Partner and advisor at Genux Executive (eg@genux.dk)

Having lived abroad and gained global experiences will not give you an advantage when returning home to Denmark. A successful return to the Danish labour market requires thorough preparation well in advance. Professional career counselling is often a good investment for those who want to return home and land a good job in Denmark.

Ten tips from Genux executive:

1.

Continue to cultivate your professional network in Denmark – even while you are living abroad. Social media makes this much easier now than it was in the past.

First and foremost, use LinkedIn actively and keep your profile up to date. Make sure to continuously expand the number of connections in your network and engage in online discussions. If you are member of a “VL group” – a Danish network for business leaders in the private and public sectors – or another professional network, maintain your membership and participate in any meetings while you are home in Denmark. If you are home on holiday, make sure to schedule a couple of coffee meetings to refresh your professional network in the same way that you do with friends.

2.

Keep up to date on developments in Denmark, including business conditions. Follow the Danish news, subscribe to a Danish newspaper and/or listen to Danish radio programmes/podcasts. For example, DR’s “Følg Pengene” or Altinget’s “Ajour” are two good weekly Danish podcasts that you can listen to while abroad.

3.

Prepare your return to Denmark well in advance. Make sure that you are familiar with the conditions for bringing your family with you to Denmark.

You’ll also need to know the tax and unemployment benefit rules. You should plan the move itself and find housing, schools and childcare in Denmark. Do not make these things an issue in the eyes of your future Danish employer. You are competing with Danish candidates who would not face the same challenges were they offered the position.

4.

Consider your partner’s career opportunities in Denmark ahead of time so that both of you can find a job quickly. Perhaps he or she has a particularly attractive job profile for the Danish labour market, which would also be an advantage in your job search.

5.

Consider how quickly you can take a position in Denmark if offered – and express your flexibility early in the job search process. You are up against domestic candidates who can often take a position quickly. Unless you explicitly state your flexibility, the head of recruitment will typically assume that an expat Dane needs longer notice than the other applicants. This is not to your advantage.

6.

Do not expect that your global experience will automatically open the door to good jobs in Denmark. Many Danes today have international experience, and this experience is rarely what distinguishes one candidate from another. On the other hand, you must be able to describe why your (global) experience and skills are relevant to a particular company in Denmark, and how you can add value to their business.

7.

Your linguistic and cultural skills may be an advantage for your application, but you must be aware that there will often be many travel days or an expectation of (yet another) posting abroad if you are hired by a Danish company that needs a person familiar with the language and culture of another country, such as Russia, Spain, China, etc.

8.

Be clear and realistic in your expectations regarding jobs, pay and conditions in Denmark. The head of recruitment knows that many expat Danes have jobs with high pay, low taxes, high status and various fringe benefits such as company cars with a driver, paid housing and so on. This could be cause for concern that you will have difficulty adapting to more modest Danish conditions or that you will demand unusually high pay.

9.

Work thoroughly on your job plan, your CV and your applications, just as all other applicants would. You should have a pretty clear idea of the level you are seeking and the type of work you want to do in Denmark. Your CV should provide a description of your skills and experiences that is relevant in a Danish context, and you must be able to communicate your Unique Selling Point to a particular company.

10.

Prepare before you activate your network in Denmark, including headhunters. Otherwise, you will be wasting their time, which is rarely to your advantage.

Genux Executive

  • Ulrik Sørensen Tinggaard, who most recently was Global Head of HR at Lundbeck;
  • Adam Gade, whose past posts include VP and CIO at Maersk Line, where he had postings in Austria, Italy and Indonesia;
  • Elisabeth Geday, whose former positions include Head of Communications for the Capital Region of Denmark, Head of HR and Communications at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Liberal Party.

Genux Executive works with Recruitment, Leadership, Business Coaching, Assessment and Outplacement. The company specialises in executive career paths and offers individual advisory services for specific challenges. Read more about Genux Executive at genux.dk.