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Feb 26, 2020
Survival Guides

Answered: Is it hard to find a job in Denmark as an International student?

Riju Joshi
As a student, one of the first things that we put time and effort into is to find a relevant job! Most of us are so excited with a pinch of nervousness but a lot of hope to find work to excel in our careers.

And there are a lot of opportunities for sure; however, it is not that easy to land up in your dream job! And you still need to have some work to pay off your bills! 

This article focuses on the most common jobs in Denmark that you can find and start right away. Here we talk about the Danish working culture, how to find jobs, the salary you can expect to get and the limit of working hours for both EU and non-EU students. 

How is the Danish Work Culture? 

To keep it simple, the Danish work culture has a flat hierarchy meaning that everyone knows who is in charge without making it too obvious.

Everyone works mostly in a team, and therefore you address your colleagues and your boss with the first name.

It is pretty clear that title and status do not matter as much as being proactive in the workplace and meeting your deadlines. 

This might concern you about the working hours; fortunately, the working hours are flexible especially during your exam times. The main purpose of having flexible working hours is that the company trusts you in planning effectively for the benefit of the company along with your personal life.

After all, it is about hitting the work-life balance.

With a flock of new students coming in each year, the search and competition for student jobs in Denmark are high and competitive.

And the challenge is broadened when competing with people looking for similar jobs who are not students.

They are either the working class or the professionals that make the job hunt a bit more challenging.

Another factor that affects the probability of getting a job that you desire is the language. English is widely accepted and spoken in Denmark. However, most of the companies prefer students who have some understanding of the Danish language. Not knowing Danish could be one of the major backlashes if you do not learn the language.

The problem is, not everybody has a chance to learn Danish, especially if you are here only during the time span of your education. You will end up asking yourself questions such as what to do? Who to talk to? How do I get an English-speaking job?

How to find a student job in Denmark? 

We suggest that you look for service-oriented jobs like waitress, cleaning, kitchen assistance, bartending, housekeeping or working for an international fast-food chain like McDonald’s or Burger King.

For new students and expatriates, these are the most common jobs in Denmark no matter where you live! If you're looking for a more professional job, we've given you some tips on this article.

If you still have not arrived in Denmark, it is better that you start applying for jobs online so that you save time and effort when you arrive here. Also, it will give you an idea of how job hunting looks.

There are different online job portals that you can refer to like the Hub, Glassdoor and Job Index. 

For now, let’s look into the ways you can adopt to find an English-speaking job in the initial days.

  1. Walk around and drop your CV’s

One of the most effective ways to get an interview at the least is going door to door to Cafés and restaurants to drop your CV or resume.

It might be a little tricky here.

You would want to talk to the person in charge of the place and give a one-minute pitch about your skills. It is easier to listen and remember than going through all the CVs for owners/managers in the restaurant.

  1. Start networking

Networking can be extremely helpful to find jobs in Denmark.

With the right people, you can make yourself noticeable in the eyes of a potential employer which itself assures a huge possibility to get the job.

Of course, making an impression, portraying your skills and willingness towards the job is your responsibility; the main factor here is to be noticed by the employer.

  1. Joining Facebook groups

There are a lot of Facebook groups where you can see updates by people regarding work or simply their experiences.

Regardless, most of the time, the information is valuable. You can search for student job-related Facebook groups in your area such as Aarhus and Copenhagen to associate with while hunting for a new job. Moreover, the experiences of students and expats alike help you to understand many different situations. 

  1. Active LinkedIn search

How could we forget our beloved LinkedIn? It is better to schedule your job hunt when you are using LinkedIn.

The student assistance jobs, for instance, are frequently available and are usually updated through LinkedIn for most of the companies. So, we recommend updating with job vacancies

You university might offer you LinkedIn and CV counseling

Some helpful websites for jobs:

Hilfr and Happy Helper are two mostly used websites for freelance cleaning jobs. Freelancing means, you will be paying your taxes yourself. Get help from skat regarding your tax cards. Also, apps like Workee can also come in handy for job search. It's user friendly interface it very easy to find jobs and have a chat with the recruiters.

The job hunt can be a tiring and frustrating process, meanwhile understanding how taxes and hours limit work is a matter of concern too. The work rules in Denmark are very strict and can get you in serious trouble if you do not abide by the laws and being unaware is not going to spare you!

How many hours can I work as an International Student in Denmark? 

The limit of working hour allowance differs for EU and non-EU nationals. For non-EU/EEA nationals, you are permitted to work 20 hours per week (not to be mistaken with 80 hours per month).

Meanwhile, during summer, you are allowed to work as a full-time worker that is 160 hours (that is during June, July, and August). 

BEWARE! if you exceed the working hour limits, the immigration can track the records and you may face severe consequences of revoking the existing permit or refusal of an extension. It can also lead you to be deported!

For Nordic, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, under the EU laws of free movement of people and services, there is no limit to your working hours. Additionally, it is good to note the minimum amount of working hours you need to fulfill if you are granted SU.

How much tax will I pay as a student in Denmark?

The percentage of tax depends on the municipality/kommune you live in. The better or well off your kommune is, the higher will be the tax rate. Unfortunately, there are no special treatments or discounts on the taxes when you are a student. Your tax rate will be likely at 38% plus 8% of labor market contribution. Everybody gets a fradrag which is between DKK2,000-DKK4,000 that are tax free.

As soon as you land on a job, you need to call SKAT or get in contact with your kommune (local administration) to get your tax card. It is important to remember that your online job also accounts for your working hour limits. It needs proper monitoring and the tax concerns on this should be dealt with individually. You need to contact your kommune to understand and fix it. 

How much can I earn working part-time as a student in Denmark?

You must be concerned that with these working hour limits and taxes, will your net income be enough to pay your monthly bills and pay for your tuition (for non-EU students without scholarships)?

The basic salary for jobs mentioned above like waitressing and cleaning starts from 100 DKK and goes up to 150 DKK per hour (before taxes) depending on the company or contractor you work with.

Therefore, if you have to pay for your semester fees, it is better to plan about your finances and be ready to face balancing a tough schedule managing work and school if you are planning to work to pay for school fees while you are studying.

Nevertheless, to sum up, what we discussed above, it is fair to say that the job hunting and working process in Denmark can be pretty tiresome and difficult to manage at times.

The key is to be proactive to find jobs that match your interests and schedules. Another important factor is to stay hopeful and not let the process drain out the energy in you!

We hope that this article assists you to have an impression of finding a student job in Denmark, especially at the beginning of your stay. 

Image source:
Riju Joshi
I am a student in Denmark for the past one and half years. Coming to Denmark was a big shock with a lot of difficulties that I wished I was aware of before. I wished I had someone to rely on to ask questions and get answers. In the process of learning and figuring things out, I joined the Student Survival Guide team so that I share what I learned and be resourceful for other students as much I can! I am a writer, apart from that I enjoy reading, binge-watching, hunting burger places and COFFEE!
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