World Economy

Danes Offer Incentives to Lure EU Workers From Britain

Danes Offer Incentives to Lure EU Workers From BritainDanes Offer Incentives to Lure EU Workers From Britain

If the UK can’t guarantee European Union citizens now working there that their lives will be unaffected by Brexit, then those people should look for jobs in Denmark.

The Confederation of Danish Industry, which represents about 10,000 corporations, says now is the time to try to attract that demographic to the Scandinavian country and help deal with a severe labor shortage, Bloomberg reported.

 “We can use a lot of the EU citizens currently working in the UK,” Steen Nielsen, chief of labor policy at the Copenhagen-based confederation, said in a phone interview. “It’s pretty unclear what’s going to happen—the Brits don’t yet know what rules they’ll apply” to EU workers, he said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to reassure European citizens in Britain that they will still be welcome in the country after it leaves the union by the end of March 2019. But so far talks have stalled, with basic questions such as Britain’s EU budget obligations and citizens’ rights remaining unresolved.

The center-right government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen is responding with proposed tax cuts to create more incentives for people to join the workforce.

Nielsen says Denmark urgently needs everything from electricians to industrial technicians and metal workers.

According to Nielsen, Denmark needs to be proactive in its efforts to attract EU workers now caught in the Brexit crosshairs, because many other European countries are grappling with similar labor shortages and will also be making overtures.

“There’s a tussle going on between countries to attract the right workers,” Nielsen said. He says that over the past 12 months, about 40% of the confederation’s members have had to abandon their efforts to find the right people to fill vacancies. “It’s very relevant to look closer at those who don’t know what their future will look like in the UK,” he said.

The Danish central bank has long warned of bottlenecks in the labor market. The Economic Council, an independent body which advises the government, says an additional 70,000 new workers from abroad will be needed to maintain an average annual growth rate of 2.1% through 2025. “The capacity pressure on the labor market is increasing,” the council said in a report published Oct. 10.


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