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Denmark Now Needs Skilled Foreigners To Rescue Growth

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-22/denmark-now-needs-skilled-foreigners-to-rescue-growth

Denmark is lagging behind its neighbors when it comes to economic growth and it needs skilled foreigners to catch up.

The problem is that Denmark has transformed itself into not a very welcoming place over the past decade with the region's strictest immigration laws.

That's now putting its expansion at peril. The $350 billion economy has been slower to recover from the global financial crisis than its Scandinavian neighbors. The central bank also cut growth forecasts last week amid declining consumer spending and exports.

One reason for the anemic revival is a lack of immigration, according to Jan Rose Skaksen, head of research at the Rockwool Foundation and a former member of Denmark's Economic Council.

The central bank now warns that in less than three years there will be a labor shortage in all parts of the economy. The total shortfall just in engineering and science-related jobs will swell to more than 13,000 in 10 years, according to Denmark's largest industry lobby.

Are there enough engineers to go around?

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This has to be coming to the UK.

The BTLers haven't really thought what will happen when the young/skilled/mobile dont ( or cant ) want to pay the insane housing costs in the UK and simply leave·

Sure you can open your doors to an underclass but they wont be able to apy these other peoples "pensions".

If the UK has a decreasing population is game mover for their ponzi based economic model.

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Similar articles (but pertaining to the USA) regularly pop up on the Slashdot forum. The standard answer is "if there's really a shortage of engineers, then they must be in demand and their wages must be rocketing. Oh, their wages aren't going up? Then there's no shortage."

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Similar articles (but pertaining to the USA) regularly pop up on the Slashdot forum. The standard answer is "if there's really a shortage of engineers, then they must be in demand and their wages must be rocketing. Oh, their wages aren't going up? Then there's no shortage."

Indeed. And it isn't just slashdot - a couple of years ago I was part of a conversation with a junior minister at the DTI (long story) and the point was made (not by me I might add) "I can't get trained engineers, because young folk don't train because the pay isn't inviting enough" to which the reply was "well, pay them more" - seemingly avoiding the point that there actually aren't the engineers, rather than they are stubbornly working as insurance salesmen until the pay is increased... When it was pointed out that it was because of a lack of engineers the reply was "you'll find there are lots in Germany - go there and employ them".

I found the whole conversation astounding.

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Indeed. And it isn't just slashdot - a couple of years ago I was part of a conversation with a junior minister at the DTI (long story) and the point was made (not by me I might add) "I can't get trained engineers, because young folk don't train because the pay isn't inviting enough" to which the reply was "well, pay them more" - seemingly avoiding the point that there actually aren't the engineers, rather than they are stubbornly working as insurance salesmen until the pay is increased... When it was pointed out that it was because of a lack of engineers the reply was "you'll find there are lots in Germany - go there and employ them".

I found the whole conversation astounding.

Or missing the point that there are the engineers/trainees/prospective trainees, but employer groups prefer the less expensive option of cheaper and/or already better trained overseas employees over the more expensive option of higher wage demand local employees and/or training the pool of existing un- or under- or elsewhere-employed workers and graduates.

It's one thing for industry to argue about the importance of STEM, but another to peddle a myth of a skills shortage when what they really mean is decent job shortage - in terms of incentives, motivation, training & compensation.

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Or missing the point that there are the engineers/trainees/prospective trainees, but employer groups prefer the less expensive option of cheaper and/or already better trained overseas employees over the more expensive option of higher wage demand local employees and/or training the pool of existing un- or under- or elsewhere-employed workers and graduates.

It's one thing for industry to argue about the importance of STEM, but another to peddle a myth of a skills shortage when what they really mean is decent job shortage - in terms of incentives, motivation, training & compensation.

Hmm. The people I was with were all relatively small high-tec players - so not really in the position to offer training / build up their staff base over time. All they really had was compensation, but they were more or less saying that no matter what you offer it is relatively difficult to get good staff - you can't just say "ok, lets make it £150k pa, that will get someone really special to come through the door". IMO It is a case of years of engineering being perceived as poorly paid (at least compared with, say, medicine, becoming an accountant or going into finance)...

Just increasing incentives, motivation, training & compensation wouldn't improve things for some time (except for the current engineers - but they are already engineers, so don't need to be incentivised to become engineers)

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Hmm. The people I was with were all relatively small high-tec players - so not really in the position to offer training / build up their staff base over time. All they really had was compensation, but they were more or less saying that no matter what you offer it is relatively difficult to get good staff - you can't just say "ok, lets make it £150k pa, that will get someone really special to come through the door". IMO It is a case of years of engineering being perceived as poorly paid (at least compared with, say, medicine, becoming an accountant or going into finance)...

Just increasing incentives, motivation, training & compensation wouldn't improve things for some time (except for the current engineers - but they are already engineers, so don't need to be incentivised to become engineers)

Then perhaps there was either something wrong with their business models, or something wrong with the wider societal business model. There's no shortage of bankers, or well trained and very well paid ex-engineer quants in banks. Perhaps if they were paid less and engineers were paid more incentives and outcomes would change.

As you say engineering has had years of bad pay perception. For a reason (effort vs reward). But broadly plugging gaps from overseas - which may or may not be specifically valid - doesn't address any underlying problem or explanation re. the local population. At least not for a long time. I have no particular issue with engineer or other immigrants, but wider social choices like that need to be understood for what they're actually representative of. Not on the whole a win for engineers or necessarily employees generally. So who is it a win for?

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or something wrong with the wider societal business model. There's no shortage of bankers, or well trained and very well paid ex-engineer quants in banks. Perhaps if they were paid less and engineers were paid more incentives and outcomes would change.

Might have something to do with it - if you need engineers with 10+ years experience (and you're not large enough to wait for training to pull through) then it is no good there being enough recent graduate engineers, or lots of quants with engineering degrees and with 10+ years experience in finance. What makes it worse is that you have to compete with the finance world - and they have the effective government subsidy to bankroll larger salaries.

But that is a bit of a moan about the finance industry - the problems run even deeper than that.

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Might have something to do with it - if you need engineers with 10+ years experience (and you're not large enough to wait for training to pull through) then it is no good there being enough recent graduate engineers, or lots of quants with engineering degrees and with 10+ years experience in finance. What makes it worse is that you have to compete with the finance world - and they have the effective government subsidy to bankroll larger salaries.

But that is a bit of a moan about the finance industry - the problems run even deeper than that.

I think it's all genuinely interrelated, inc with wages & living costs.

There's only so long there can be a 'shortage' of engineers (and nurses, doctors etc) before it's fair to call bs on the claim wrt reasoning. There may be a shortage of people persuing or willing to pursue engineering, but we also appear to place rather a lot of hurdles in front of any aspiration or decent net compensation. Strikes me as a bit conveniently circular for some, and not employees.

And on Denmark - Danes I've known have been pretty happy with their system. They just tend to have a different set of social priorities - inc generous education/training opportunities - and those who don't like it leave; which is probably doing things the right way round whatever my opinion of it.

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I find it hard to believe stories about not enough scientists. I graduated in a STEM subject in the 90s and I heard talk about a job shortage when I and my friends were unemployed. I knew a Chemistry Phd who graduated in 97 and in 99 when I met him had never worked in Chemistry - there was still the usual lies on the news about not enough scientists.

BTW if Danish engineers are getting paid so much why not report the figures? They are in the EU so could easily recruit them from other countries without labour reform if the shortage exists which I doubt.

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Give it 10 years and countries such as Denmark and the UK will be clamouring for more migrants. The problem for them will be that the Germans and the Swedes will have already creamed off the better skilled migrants and integrated them into their economies while the UK and Denmark were wasting money building fences to keep them out.

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I find it hard to believe stories about not enough scientists. I graduated in a STEM subject in the 90s and I heard talk about a job shortage when I and my friends were unemployed. I knew a Chemistry Phd who graduated in 97 and in 99 when I met him had never worked in Chemistry - there was still the usual lies on the news about not enough scientists.

BTW if Danish engineers are getting paid so much why not report the figures? They are in the EU so could easily recruit them from other countries without labour reform if the shortage exists which I doubt.

Yeah, I think for a large part its ********. What they mean of course is that there are not enough people with STEM degrees to drive down wages further.

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The BTLers haven't really thought what will happen when the young/skilled/mobile dont ( or cant ) want to pay the insane housing costs in the UK and simply leave·

Sure you can open your doors to an underclass but they wont be able to apy these other peoples "pensions".

If the UK has a decreasing population is game mover for their ponzi based economic model.

They will convert to HMO to house all the workers of the Starbucks economy. Everyone will thrive on coffee and life will be just great.

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Give it 10 years and countries such as Denmark and the UK will be clamouring for more migrants. The problem for them will be that the Germans and the Swedes will have already creamed off the better skilled migrants and integrated them into their economies while the UK and Denmark were wasting money building fences to keep them out.

I suppose in ten years as those migrants start moving toward retirement they can recruit an even larger number of migrants to support the enlarged population.

Edited by Blod

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Then perhaps there was either something wrong with their business models, or something wrong with the wider societal business model. There's no shortage of bankers, or well trained and very well paid ex-engineer quants in banks. Perhaps if they were paid less and engineers were paid more incentives and outcomes would change.

Wrong! As we're constantly told by the media and govt ministers, if we don't pay our super-talented, super-rare bankers enough money they will leave us and go elsewhere for more pay so we musn't question their obscene remuneration deals. In fact, even discussing it might make those highly strung geniuses take their incredibly hard to find talents away from us.

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Give it 10 years and countries such as Denmark and the UK will be clamouring for more migrants. The problem for them will be that the Germans and the Swedes will have already creamed off the better skilled migrants and integrated them into their economies while the UK and Denmark were wasting money building fences to keep them out.

So I guess you are moving to Sweden or Germany before the UK's economy collapses? Good luck I hope it goes well.

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Give it 10 years and countries such as Denmark and the UK will be clamouring for more migrants. The problem for them will be that the Germans and the Swedes will have already creamed off the better skilled migrants and integrated them into their economies while the UK and Denmark were wasting money building fences to keep them out.

Immigrants aren't the problem. The deliberately skewed impact of immigration on the lower paid and young, who are then doubly stuffed by pitting them against the flow without reasonable alternatives then blamed them for the inevitable is the problem. Germany and Sweden (and Denmark) don't do that, at least to the extent we do, although that's not really the same issue as whether or why there's a shortage of skilled workers.

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I find it hard to believe stories about not enough scientists. I graduated in a STEM subject in the 90s and I heard talk about a job shortage when I and my friends were unemployed. I knew a Chemistry Phd who graduated in 97 and in 99 when I met him had never worked in Chemistry - there was still the usual lies on the news about not enough scientists.

BTW if Danish engineers are getting paid so much why not report the figures? They are in the EU so could easily recruit them from other countries without labour reform if the shortage exists which I doubt.

Spot on. My wife's lab get 30-50 applicants for jobs every time they advertise. They get people with PhDs applying for basic jobs (that used to be just done by school leavers). Often post docs she works with at least half leave science altogether after one post as the pay is so low. 10 years of post school study and work to earn less than a junior acountant or mid level it support. Edited by Timak

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Immigrants aren't the problem. The deliberately skewed impact of immigration on the lower paid and young, who are then doubly stuffed by pitting them against the flow without reasonable alternatives then blamed them for the inevitable is the problem. Germany and Sweden (and Denmark) don't do that, at least to the extent we do, although that's not really the same issue as whether or why there's a shortage of skilled workers.

Not all immigrants are the same. Some are very beneficial to the UK, some are useless. Sadly most people seem to think that all immigrants are the same and just talk about numbers rather than quality. I know an immigrant who has been on benefits for 19 years (I know there are UK people like that but we can't send them somewhere else)

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Not all immigrants are the same. Some are very beneficial to the UK, some are useless. Sadly most people seem to think that all immigrants are the same and just talk about numbers rather than quality. I know an immigrant who has been on benefits for 19 years (I know there are UK people like that but we can't send them somewhere else)

In useless or rentseeking or exploitative terms there are magnitudes more brits than immigrants, so that's not something that especially concerns me. Particularly when it's used a divisive tool, or diverts attention away from the fact that its existence is basically a symptom of useless or rentseeking or exploitative locals. I think it's always worth following the money - we can't send brits away but we could still try doing something about it and see what changes.

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Similar articles (but pertaining to the USA) regularly pop up on the Slashdot forum. The standard answer is "if there's really a shortage of engineers, then they must be in demand and their wages must be rocketing. Oh, their wages aren't going up? Then there's no shortage."

Articles like that mean there's a shortage of cheap engineers and scientists in the UK as if they weren't cheap enough already.

That "shortage" theme has been broadcast for decades now (at least) and for the UK likely they'll still be banging on about it in decades hence - but always it means they want cheaper scientists and engineers.

The UK is banker country not engineer/scientist country - that's one of the core reasons the country is so wrecked economically and likely to remain so (not for bankers and their sidekicks though).

Edited by billybong

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