Sport- og fritidslivets bidrag til fastholdelse af kvalificeret udenlandsk arbejdskraft: Hey city, where can I go swimming today?

Karina Lüthmann Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

As the demographic development in Denmark results in more people leaving the labour market than people entering, the need for qualified foreign labour increases. In Denmark, there has been a focus on attracting and retaining qualified foreign labour for several years, and a lot of initiatives have been taken to make it more attractive for expats to come to Denmark to stay for a long period of time. Despite all the initiatives, there is a continuing need to retain expats in Denmark and find new ways to do so. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to examine to what extent sport and leisure life can contribute to the retention of qualified foreign labour in Denmark. The empirical data consists of three reports focusing on the attraction and retention of expats in Denmark and the initiatives taken in this regard. Furthermore, perspectives concerning the social and democratic benefits of the Danish association community are part of the empirical foundation. Finally, two qualitative interviews with expats living in Denmark, one with his wife and the other with his wife and two children, are produced with the purpose of achieving a greater understanding of important aspects of life and the need for social activities in expat families. The theoretical foundation of the thesis is based on the social capital concepts of Putnam and Coleman. Though intangible as a concept, the scientists agree on social relations being valuable, on human beings gaining more from being involved in social relations than being by themselves and on social capital existing not within people but in the relations between people. Both Putnam and Coleman argue that social capital is a benefit of interaction that generates trust, reciprocity and norms of interaction. Coleman’s theories are founded in a sociological tradition, whereas Putnam’s theoretical framework is based on a large number of quantitative data. Putnam introduces bridging and bonding capital as concepts and argues that while bonding capital helps people get by, bridging capital, as found in e.g. communities, helps people get ahead in life. Following an introduction focusing on how expats experience Denmark and Danish people, the analysis explores the needs for social life in expat families living in Denmark. Firstly, the importance of family life and a social life on the job is considered. On that basis, the analysis examines the role of leisure activities, work-life balance, the accessibility of information and language skills in creating a social life while being an expat in Denmark. In the second part of the analysis, the initiatives taken to attract and retain qualified foreign labour are examined, as is the contribution of sport and leisure life as an educational, democratic provider of bridging social capital. The results of the analysis are then discussed with a focus on the elements influencing the social life of the expat. The family is identified as the most important factor for the expat, and initiatives involving the family as a unit are suggested as a way of introducing expats to the benefits of sport and leisure life. Moreover, the accessibility of sport and leisure activities is discussed, and the challenges of introducing expats to the sport and leisure life in Denmark are presented. The conclusion of the thesis is that there is a lot of potential in sport and leisure life as a contribution to the retention of expats in Denmark. However, changes in the accessibility are necessary as many expats are not aware of the possibilities for sport and leisure time activities or where to find information about them. With the potential for generating a high degree of social capital, sport and leisure time activities can contribute to the well-being and integration of expats. Sport and leisure time activities are not in themselves essential for the retention of expats. However, when other needs are satisfied, for example when the expat’s family is doing well, sport and leisure time activities can be significant for expats and their families and thereby contribute to the retention.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2012
Number of pages84