Tiltrækning og fastholdelse af kvalificeret udenlandsk arbejdskraft

Cecilie Holmgaard Petersen & Ida Thygesen Gjørup

Student thesis: Master thesis


The Danish welfare state is fundamental for the Danish way of living and it provides the Danes with social and financial security. However, the Danish welfare state is threatened by the demographic development with a growing number of elderly people living longer, and fewer people will be in the workforce to contribute to the economic development needed for the Danish welfare state. Therefore, in order for Denmark to sustain the Danish welfare state, Denmark needs to attract and retain foreign talent. This is essential in order to stay competitive internationally and create growth and wealth in Denmark. A large number of national and international surveys show that Denmark has great potential as a destination country for foreign talent. In Denmark many initiatives have been launched in order to promote Denmark as a destination country and to strengthen Denmark’s ability to attract and retain talent. However, surveys also point out that Denmark does not successfully exploit its potential and lacks behind in the international war for talent. In the light of this it is relevant to ask whether or not it is the right areas Denmark is focusing on its approach to attract and retain foreign talent. This master thesis seeks to answer the following research question: How do foreign knowledge workers justify their decision to move to Denmark and their considerations on staying and how is this in agreement with the Danish actors’ expectations? To investigate whether there is agreement between the Danish actors’ and the foreign knowledge workers’ expectations to Denmark as a destination country, we have applied Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s theory on justification. Boltanski and Thévenot have created a model that outlines six regimes of justification, which people refer to in their argumentation in order to establish worth and settle a dispute. Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello have later supplemented the six regimes with a seventh regime. The seven regimes are: the inspired world, the domestic world, the world of fame, the civic world, the market world, the industrial world and the projective world. We have conducted three interviews with interviewees, who represent the Danish actors as well as interviews with a group of foreign knowledge workers. Based on our interviews with the Danish actors, we formulated eight hypotheses. We have investigated the hypotheses further in the analysis. We concluded that the Danish actors’ and the foreign knowledge workers’ justifications were in agreement with each other within four areas: 1) Denmark is in many ways not prepared for foreign labor, 2) The Danish work culture is a strength, 3) Denmark does not have a strong brand as a destination country, 4) It’s very difficult for spouses to get a job in Denmark. The analysis also showed that the Danish actors’ and the foreign knowledge workers’ justifications not were in agreement with each other within four areas: 1) The Danish tax level is a barrier for attracting and retaining foreign labor, 2) It’s not difficult to build a social network, 3) A professional network in Denmark is not necessary for foreigners to get a job in Denmark, 4) The Danish work-life balance is less important to career nomads than expats with families. We will highlight two areas that call for action immediately. The first area concerns the perception the Danish actors have that the tax level has a negative influence on Denmark’s ability to attract foreign talent. However, the foreigners, we interviewed, argued that the high level of tax ensures social and financial security – and that it is a motivation factor for staying in Denmark. The second area concerns the issue with spouses getting a job in Denmark. The Danish actors have not paid enough attention to this challenge. The foreigners, we interviewed, strongly emphasized the difficulties of being an accompanying spouse and that it is one of the main reasons why many expats with families choose to leave Denmark. We also concluded that it is within these areas that the Danish actors should focus immediately as they create the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. Based on our findings we have created a number of strategic recommendations for the Danish actors, which could be incorporated in an overall strategy for Denmark with the aim to attract and retain more foreign talent.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages111