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Published on June 29th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


Foreign Talent Will Help Denmark Reach Its Green Goals

June 29th, 2014 by  

Although topping the 2012 Green Economy Index and named the European Green Capital 2014, Denmark and Copenhagen are not ready to rest on their laurels. Their green ambitions include carbon neutrality for the greater Copenhagen area by 2025 and energy self-sufficiency from oil by 2050. In order to reach these goals, Denmark needs to recruit the best and brightest cleantech talents from around the world—and it needs to recruit thousands. By offering jobs in a leading cleantech sector, high salaries, benefits, and an unmatched work/life balance, Denmark is opening its doors and hoping to attract the talent it needs to remain a cleantech leader.

“There are currently 75,000 people employed in the cleantech industry in Denmark, 34,000 of which are directly employed in green jobs. By 2015 we need to attract 4,000 more talents to work in the Danish cleantech sector,” reports Nikolaj Lubanski, Director, Talent Department at Copenhagen Capacity*, the Danish capital’s official organization for investment promotion, business development, and cluster growth.

cleantech think Denmark

The cleantech sector has been the fastest-growing sector in Danish exports and its positive economic impact is expected to continue in the upcoming years. For decades, the Danish government has invested heavily in clean technology. One of the most recent investments has been a partnership with Cisco. On May 28, 2014, Copenhagen joined Cisco’s Smart City pilot project of global cities involved in the Internet of Everything. Currently, unconnected municipal services such as garbage, water, and transportation will be connected and share data, improving sustainability, efficiency, and quality of life. The economic opportunity to connect the unconnected totals $19 trillion globally, comprising $4.6 trillion for the public sector, two-thirds of which can be realized by cities, and all of which means more employment opportunities in Denmark.

cleantech copenhagen denmarkIn the private sector, Danish companies annually invest €600 million in energy research, which represents 12% of all private research investments. Government funding for research is also high and reasonably easy to access for companies and universities. One of the ways companies take advantage of this funding is by providing continuing education for their employees. “My employer is supporting my PhD research,” says Giovanni Di Muoio, a Casting Specialist at Global Castings in Copenhagen, who moved to Denmark from Italy. “I am doing a PhD with the Danish Technical University (DTU). I am working to optimize processes and cut costs in the production of wind turbine castings. I can test my ideas on the factory floor.”

Work/life balance is also a top priority. “We work fewer hours but get more done. I’m not sure how that works economically, but it does,” Di Mouio explains. Pete George, former Nordic President for CSC, a global IT service supplier, elaborates, “in spite of the Danes working fewer hours they are more productive. This shows the amount of profit we create per hour. It is three times higher here, where we have a better educated and more motivated workforce.” The motivation comes, in part, from a non-hierarchical and flexible work culture. “I like the flexibility, I don’t need to be there for any specific hours, as long as I do my job,” explains Mireia Badallo, an Advanced Engineer in Loads and Controls at a leading wind energy manufacturer and a Spanish expat who moved to Copenhagen in 2008.


Mireia Badallo, Spanish Engineer working in Denmark

The Danish government has set very ambitious targets for a greener future by generating 50% of its energy from wind by 2020. In addition, Denmark is truly committed to minimizing its environmental footprint by reducing its greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2020. With continued research and development, investment in clean technologies, and an injection of foreign talent, they are well on their way to meeting their goals.

Empower your cleantech career, THINK DENMARK.


*Full Disclosure: Copenhagen Capacity kindly sponsored this article

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  • Bob_Wallace

    The irony is that even with all the wind turbines being built across Denmark, they are still very much dependent on (imported) coal and the transnational grid, even their wind generated electricity requires back up from Swedish hydropower. If Denmark is serious about cleaning up their grid they will have to do more than just building wind mills.

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