6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Working In Denmark

Starting for the first time in a new place can be overwhelming for a lot of people. It makes us feel low in terms that we should have known these things before. If you are just starting, have started or need a tip on how to fit in better, let us inspire you.

Danish: To learn or not to learn, that is the question

You will hear many Danes and Internationals say that Danish is a crucial thing to learn. Sometimes it takes time to learn a language like Danish, for some of those gifted 6 months but for others 6 years or more. There are many factors to consider, but one way if you wish to get more integrated and appear more approachable to Danes is to try.

In many cultures, it’s easy to surprise and win over any group of people by speaking to them in their mother tongue. That said, you will have someone who will stop you and break out in English. This can be pretty annoying for some who are learning a language but persist!

You will meet a majority of Danes who will continue in Danish and praise you for doing so. The moral of the story is to give the impression you are trying, and people will respect, and even encourage you to do more so!

A-kasse and union

This is a super important one you must have. It will get mentioned around but the true reason for having these two items are to protect yourself. Let’s be honest, Denmark is a really, really good country, but it’s not the best. No country is a utopia but Denmark is getting (super) close.

A kasse is easily seen as unemployment benefits, not dole. Kontanthjælp/Dole is more seen as an absolute emergency income. A kasse is different as it depends on how long you studied. A Union is pretty straightforward as it is an organization you can contact for legal employment advice.  As an international, you will have to remember a lot in your new home but workplace violations happen all the time in Denmark, like in every country.

However, unlike every other country, Denmark has many Akasses and Unions that aren’t afraid to stand up for your rights and ensure you get the right pay. You will have to pay for these services unfortunately but see this as a form of work insurance.

Lastly, to remember, A kasses are many but they advise for all different specific forms of employment. So make sure you are in the right A kasse that can help specifically you.

Job search in Denmark

You might be coming to Denmark with a plan on how to find a job. A recruiter or someone with experience in your home country might have given you some tips on how to brush up your CV, motivational letter or application…

Be aware that in Denmark (and Scandianvia in general) there is a different approach to the job search due to the working culture in Denmark. There is a lot of things to consider and Danes tend to focus on things Americans (or people from your county) might not feel important.

If you need help with understanding how to prepare yourself for a job interview or what you need to include in your CV and application, keep following this blog or fill out a free assessment on our contact page so I can get in touch with you.

Housing

For many internationals coming to Denmark, finding a house, a dorm or an apartment can be hard to get, especially in the big cities like Copenhagen or Aarhus. For some internationals, they might have been provided housing by the company who employed them (temporary or permanent) and some companies offer mobility help. But in most cases, companies do not provide this service and expect you to handle this yourself.

You can register on waiting lists for housing companies but the wait times are long and can take months, even years to get in a place. Even so, it is still worth doing so you can get a better place later down the road. But is important to find housing more than one month in advanced. The sooner you do it, the better.

Be careful with Facebook posts. There are many scammers out there that post housing opportunities and they are able to take advantage due to the shortage supply of housing options.

A solution to help you solve and prevent these issues from arising is to simply hire a trusted mobility consultant. Do yourself a favor and save yourself the time, hassle and stress of searching for a place. You will have enough packing to do.

Working In Denmark - 6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Working In Denmark - Career Denmark
working in denmark - 6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Working In Denmark - Career Denmark

Living expenses

When I was moving from Germany to Denmark, I had the experience miscalculating my salary… This is why I would like to recommend you do your homework and research living expenses before you move to the city you are planning to start your Danish journey.

There are both YouTube videos and online comparison websites where you can see how much 1L of milk costs, a full basket of goods, etc., compared to your home country. If you know what you getting into beforehand, it will help you make a plan for the first few months in Denmark.

SKAT and taxation in Denmark

It can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Even the Joker was afraid of taxes.
You will hear many of your friends saying “Danmark has such high taxes” but from all political perspectives, everyone will agree taxes are good for society, even if they are too high.

In any case, before you come to Denmark, take into consideration the tax that you are going to pay from your salary. The more you earn, the more you pay taxes. But trust us, it is still worth paying your taxes with the benefits that you get of living in Denmark. You can use a quick income tax calculator to find out your income after tax and you can read more here to learn more about how tax works in Denmark.

For you, the best advice to avoid getting a high fradrag and hitting the max percentage is to fill out your Skat profile with a Dane or an experienced international as truthfully as possible. If you switch jobs, get another job or go down in hours, inform skat or follow their online guide to change your tax card. As a person who has heard many horror stories from friends getting a letter SKAT, just upfront and truthfully as inconsistencies will be found out and heavily investigated.

Working In Denmark - 6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Working In Denmark - Career Denmark
working in denmark - 6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Working In Denmark - Career Denmark
Kate Dahl

Kate Dahl

4+ years of experience as a career consultant for internationals in Denmark. Founder of Career Denmark. American living in Aarhus.
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