To begin with, I have a little introduction about myself. My name is Bendix and I am currently studying for a civil engineering bachelor in Denmark. Originally, I am a German citizen, though the prosperous Danish environment led me to my northern neighbor and it might have been the greatest choice I ever took. Since a few months now I discovered my love for writing and this guest article is a great opportunity to test myself in a new environment. Why EKOF Media? Because I met the dear CEO of this Organization on a project for gender equality in the past summer.
First of all, let’s talk about the current situation: In my 1.5 years that I live in Denmark now, I have received plenty of opportunities to network with ambitious company’s, local and international alike and everybody is facing the same problem. There are not enough skilled workers available to be hired, for all the projects that the Danish companies receive. As you can see in this New York Times article from the beginning of 2017, it even became a small burden for the economy, that the demand for labor in the country is higher than the supply of manpower.
The obvious thing to do for a country like Denmark, in order to fully profit from this inequality regarding the supply and demand of labor, is to even it by increasing the amount of labor supply within its borders. The result is a booming educational sector, filled with students from all over Europe, who want to educate themselves in Danish institutions and then join the aging labor force to live a prosperous life in the second happiest county on earth. The equation seems to work out when I start talking about my personal experience in the country.
“Denmark has topped the table (of being the happiest country on earth) every year since 1973”
Insights into a Students economy
As an EU citizen, I receive completely free education in all its functionality while the Danish government also supports me with my living costs in terms of the SU bonds that get paid out, even to non-Danish citizens that carry an EU passport. If I work for 43 hours each month while pursuing my education, the Danish government supports me with around 800 Euros additionally to my wage which makes the life in such an expensive country fairly comfortable and it gives m the opportunity to but a lot of my time into my education while I don’t have to worry about my financial situation. Additionally, every low-income resident (which is the case as a student) receives a so-called housing benefit, which is a support from the Danish government to help low-income households to pay their rent.
If this system will pay off in the end? Nobody knows yet, but the economic situation does not seem to be damaged by the large expenses regarding the educational sector when looking at the big picture of the Danish economy.
Education – work balance
The governmentally supported public institutions of Denmark seem to keep their high standards of education when comparing the PISA results of the past years, where Denmark always reaches a highly satisfying position. I can personally confirm, that the academic level did not take a hit by a large number of international students, arriving in this small country. My university has a total of around 5000 matriculated students of which over 50% are international students with backgrounds from all over the world. This international environment allows an academically valuable exchange of ideas and cultures which result in high-quality results of projects and works. I am participating in an entirely international class where 25 Students have over 10 different passports and the situation at my job is the exact same. I have landed an awesome job as a Marketing manager and my surrounding team consists of people from over 15 different countries. The office of Trendhim, the place where I spend my 43 hours a month to work, always has a lively atmosphere and plenty of amazing ideas arise from the international environment. Landing a job like this, where I further educate myself on a daily basis in a field which is far away from my studies (Marketing Management and civil engineering) is an opportunity that probably no other country would have been able to give me, due to poor employment situations and little capacities to train new employees.
Overall, the Danish educational system, in connection with the present labor market, is a very attractive environment for young and striving soon-to-be-professionals and other countries can certainly learn from this little Nordic fellow. Of course, it is easier for countries with a capita of fewer than 10 million people to implement large changes in the overall structure of the country compared to large populous countries such as the US, Germany or France, but it is also obvious that every country, in regard to their economic sectors and population pyramid, has to find their own way of designing the internal political structure.