Working in Denmark



The robust growth of the Danish economy continues as the rate of employment rises in Denmark. The high demand of the labor force results in a low unemployment rate, 6.40% in September 2009.

In Denmark, both men and women work full time. Sexual discrimination is not accepted and gender equality is highly enforced. Women are encouraged to be a part of the workforce, instead of staying at home doing domestic work. The equality of sexes enriches the labor market.

Work Permits

Denmark utilizes a point-based system called the Danish Green Card for recruiting skilled workers from outside the European Union (EU). Points are based on age, education attainment, language ability and work experience. Once approved, you can obtain a three-year residence permit that allows you to live and work in Denmark. Successful applicants through this scheme can bring their immediate family with them.

In addition, skilled workers with a valid job offer from a Danish employer can apply through the ‘Positive List' scheme. The ‘Positive List' is a listing of occupations that are in short supply in Denmark. If the job is listed on the Positive List a residence and work permit can be granted for three years with the possibility to extend to four years.

Unlike the Danish Green Card and Positive List Scheme, the Pay Limit Scheme has no specific education or experience requirements. To qualify, you need a job offer with an annual salary of approximately USD$80,000 or DKK 375,000 from a Danish employer.

Applications for these work permits are made through a Danish Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's country of origin. The processing time for both the Positive List and Greencard schemes is one month.

Citizens from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are free to work and live in Denmark without a visa. EU citizens can reside in Denmark under the EU regulations that provide free movement of people.

 For more information, visit Nyi Danmark

Job Market

Compared to other EU countries, Denmark has a relatively low unemployment rate. Currently, the shortage of Danish labor is in the field of information technology, agriculture and health, jobs such as nurses, doctors and pharmacists. There is also a demand for engineers, mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, biophysicists, chemists and biologists.

A majority of multinational companies use English as the main business language. However, most Danish companies operate in their mother tongue - Danish. Having a decent knowledge of the Danish language can help you land a white-collar job.

You can find work through job centers by logging onto You can also utilize contacts or networks, search through ads in newspapers and trade journals, or seek the help of a private employment agency.
 Denmark is home to multinational companies like Lego, Bang & Olufsen, Dell, Microsoft and Nokia. It also hosts the headquarters of companies like eBay and Skype.

Working Culture/Conditions

Danes are motivated and team oriented. Workplaces have modern facilities and high quality equipment, with strict health and safety rules protecting employees at work. Companies believe in giving employees a chance to progress further in their chosen field with trainings and education.

Danes' egalitarian nature is mirrored in their modesty about their work accomplishments and employees are expected to share their ideas and opinions in any decision making. Expats can expect a positive attitude amongst the locals, and Danes generally respond to politeness. Most Danes are family centered and make time for leisure activities. Some workplaces have a tradition of going for a beer on Fridays after work.

Danes typically work 37 hours per week, divided over 5 days. A typical work week is from Mondays to Fridays between 6am and 6pm. Employees have the right to five weeks holiday per year. Maternity leave applies to both sexes.

In Denmark, lunch breaks are 30 minutes long. Lunch breaks are paid in the public sector while employees in the private sector do not usually get paid, although this can vary depending on the company.

Work is prohibited for children under the age of 13.

Employees are well-compensated in Denmark. There is no government mandated national minimum wage, as this is negotiated between unions and employers associations. The terms of Denmark's largest collective bargaining agreement states the minimum wage negotiated covers the entire industrial sector with an hourly rate at DKK 100.65 exclusive of pension benefits.


Corporate tax is 25% while income tax ranges from 45 -64 percent. Denmark provides a special tax regime for expatriates, wherein foreign workers are subject to minimal taxation on any income, bonuses or allowances for a limited time period. To be eligible for the special taxation rates, expats must officially reside in Denmark. Expats working in Denmark through the Job Card Scheme who are employed in certain professional groups are subject to a preferential tax rate (25%) for the first three years.

Expats need to provide a passport or EU ID, work and residence permit, employment and salary details, bank account information and tax history from the last country of residence to be able to register as a taxpayer at the nearest tax office in the local municipality. A tax card will be provided and should be given to the employer. Taxes will be automatically deducted from the salary.



See more

Continue reading:

Work Guide

Expat Services in Denmark

Don't miss our Expat Services in Denmark