top of page

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

Updated: Nov 10, 2023


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.

agenda with daily plans

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 for student jobs in Denmark is rather 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 the job you want 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?

people sitting in a café

How to find a student job in Denmark?

We suggest that you look for service-oriented (blue-collar) jobs like waitress, cleaning, kitchen assistance, bartending, housekeeping or working for an international fast-food chains 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 in 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 The Hub, Glassdoor and Job Index.

For now, let’s look into what you can do to find an English-speaking job on your first days in Denmark.

  1. Walk around and drop your CV’s

One of the most effective ways to get at least an interview 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 for them to listen and remember you, rather than going through all the CVs the restaurant has gathered over time.

  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 regarding people's 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 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 on LinkedIn for most of the companies. So, we recommend keeping yourself updated with job vacancies.

man reading on his iPad

You university might offer you LinkedIn and CV counseling as well

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 has an user friendly interface and 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. However, your earnings from your part time job should not exceed 13.711 DKK/month (in 2021). SU even has a calculator on their page (in Danish), to help you figure out if you earn too much and thus if you might have to pay back SU.

Additionally, it is good to note the minimum amount of working hours you need to fulfil if you are granted SU, which is 10-12 hours.

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 the tax rate will be. Unfortunately, there are no special treatments or discounts on 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.

If you want to find out more about taxes, you can also read our Survival Guide to Taxes in Denmark or walk through our tax video series.

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.

Can I start work before my university starts?

Definitely! If you are lucky enough to find a job and can start working before the uni begins and before you get a CPR number, rest assured, as it is very possible. You just have to get a tax number. We have covered this topic in one of our blogs, How to start working in Denmark before your university starts?.

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.

(This post was originally written by Riju Joshi)

351 views0 comments