Denmark The country of hygge, high-tech and renewables Denmark The country of hygge, high-tech and renewables

Denmark The country of hygge, high-tech and renewables
21 Sep 2017

For the uninitiated, Denmark immediately conjures up images of Vikings, Hans Christian Andersen, footballer Peter Schmeichel and, more recently perhaps, its export de jour, hygge (‘comfortable conviviality’). You may also have seen the nation continually topping the poll of countries known for their high quality of life – a rating that would be considered fair by most.


Danes benefit from particularly effective and efficient public services, free university tuition and long periods of parental leave, which means they are generally happy to pay the requisite higher tax levels to finance this lifestyle. The Scandinavian country is also regularly rated as one of the least corrupt nations on earth and, despite having no minimum wage, has the world’s lowest level of income inequality. 

But aside from being the world leader in comfortable conviviality and quality of life, Denmark also has a considerable amount to offer professionals interested in working overseas. Unlike its Norwegian neighbour, the Danish economy is highly diversified and does not rely on a single industry for growth. As a result, it tends to be more protected against market fluctuations than other similarly sized countries. 

One of its key industries, however, is renewables, an area in which Denmark can rightfully claim to be one of the global leaders, particularly in terms of hydro and wind power. In fact, its wind sector made global headlines in 2015 after generating more than 140% of the country’s total energy requirements following particularly severe weather. Skills gaps 

Unsurprisingly, the industry’s strength often leads to local skills shortages, especially after major projects have been commissioned, which means that employers need to plug the gap with foreign talent. The same is true of its buoyant construction and engineering sectors too. 

These factors, combined with Denmark being home to a number of cutting-edge, hi-tech companies, mean that employees have the potential to earn more than in most other European countries. Average salaries currently stand at the equivalent of about $43,778 per annum. 

Hiring temporary foreign workers, meanwhile, is relatively straightforward when compared with more bureaucratic nations. This is especially true if workers previously resided in the European Union as a specific work visa is not required. Moreover, the Expat Tax Scheme (ETS) enables these foreign workers to pay between 30% and 40% in income tax compared with the regular rate of up to 55.6% - as long as they earn a minimum of 61,500 Danish Kroner ($8,898) per annum and have paid no tax in Denmark over the last 10 years. The Scheme also means that workers are entitled to standard welfare rights, including free healthcare, should they require it. 

Pros and cons 
But it would be wrong to suggest that everything about Denmark is rosy and that anyone moving there should expect to live in some kind of utopian bliss. For one thing, cold winter temperatures and short days are likely to prove testing for those used to living closer to the equator. 

In addition, Danish taxes are among the highest in the world – although the aforementioned ETS can help temporary workers to legitimately avoid many of the charges - and the cost of living is similarly intimidating. But it is worth noting that Denmark, like other Scandinavian nations, is starting to tighten its immigration policies in order to cut down on the number of foreigners entering the country, although it is unlikely that skilled professionals will be included in the clampdown. 

Despite these issues though, Denmark does have a lot to offer overseas professionals in terms of culture. Not only is it where Shakespeare’s Hamlet took place, but the nation also made global waves recently as the concept of hygge (prounounced hue-gah) swept around the world, single-handedly spawning masses of books, clothing ranges and household goods. So, if you do get to go there, be careful not to forget your candles and slippers. And also be sure to make the most of it.

“Unlike its Norwegian neighbour, the Danish economy is highly diversified and does not rely on a single industry for growth.”


- By Michelle Reilly, managing director, 6CATS International

Michelle Reilly has almost 20 years of experience in contractor management and is acknowledged as a leading global expert in the field. In 2009, she joined CXC to set-up its global Europe, Middle East and Africa business, and last year led a management buyout of the recruitment agency side of the organisation. Michelle is now chief executive of 6CATS International, which provides compliant contractor management solutions.

 

For the uninitiated, Denmark immediately conjures up images of Vikings, Hans Christian Andersen, footballer Peter Schmeichel and, more recently perhaps, its export de jour, hygge (‘comfortable conviviality’). You may also have seen the nation continually topping the poll of countries known for their high quality of life – a rating that would be considered fair by most.


Danes benefit from particularly effective and efficient public services, free university tuition and long periods of parental leave, which means they are generally happy to pay the requisite higher tax levels to finance this lifestyle. The Scandinavian country is also regularly rated as one of the least corrupt nations on earth and, despite having no minimum wage, has the world’s lowest level of income inequality. 

But aside from being the world leader in comfortable conviviality and quality of life, Denmark also has a considerable amount to offer professionals interested in working overseas. Unlike its Norwegian neighbour, the Danish economy is highly diversified and does not rely on a single industry for growth. As a result, it tends to be more protected against market fluctuations than other similarly sized countries. 

One of its key industries, however, is renewables, an area in which Denmark can rightfully claim to be one of the global leaders, particularly in terms of hydro and wind power. In fact, its wind sector made global headlines in 2015 after generating more than 140% of the country’s total energy requirements following particularly severe weather. Skills gaps 

Unsurprisingly, the industry’s strength often leads to local skills shortages, especially after major projects have been commissioned, which means that employers need to plug the gap with foreign talent. The same is true of its buoyant construction and engineering sectors too. 

These factors, combined with Denmark being home to a number of cutting-edge, hi-tech companies, mean that employees have the potential to earn more than in most other European countries. Average salaries currently stand at the equivalent of about $43,778 per annum. 

Hiring temporary foreign workers, meanwhile, is relatively straightforward when compared with more bureaucratic nations. This is especially true if workers previously resided in the European Union as a specific work visa is not required. Moreover, the Expat Tax Scheme (ETS) enables these foreign workers to pay between 30% and 40% in income tax compared with the regular rate of up to 55.6% - as long as they earn a minimum of 61,500 Danish Kroner ($8,898) per annum and have paid no tax in Denmark over the last 10 years. The Scheme also means that workers are entitled to standard welfare rights, including free healthcare, should they require it. 

Pros and cons 
But it would be wrong to suggest that everything about Denmark is rosy and that anyone moving there should expect to live in some kind of utopian bliss. For one thing, cold winter temperatures and short days are likely to prove testing for those used to living closer to the equator. 

In addition, Danish taxes are among the highest in the world – although the aforementioned ETS can help temporary workers to legitimately avoid many of the charges - and the cost of living is similarly intimidating. But it is worth noting that Denmark, like other Scandinavian nations, is starting to tighten its immigration policies in order to cut down on the number of foreigners entering the country, although it is unlikely that skilled professionals will be included in the clampdown. 

Despite these issues though, Denmark does have a lot to offer overseas professionals in terms of culture. Not only is it where Shakespeare’s Hamlet took place, but the nation also made global waves recently as the concept of hygge (prounounced hue-gah) swept around the world, single-handedly spawning masses of books, clothing ranges and household goods. So, if you do get to go there, be careful not to forget your candles and slippers. And also be sure to make the most of it.

“Unlike its Norwegian neighbour, the Danish economy is highly diversified and does not rely on a single industry for growth.”


- By Michelle Reilly, managing director, 6CATS International

Michelle Reilly has almost 20 years of experience in contractor management and is acknowledged as a leading global expert in the field. In 2009, she joined CXC to set-up its global Europe, Middle East and Africa business, and last year led a management buyout of the recruitment agency side of the organisation. Michelle is now chief executive of 6CATS International, which provides compliant contractor management solutions.

 

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