Top positions increasingly filled from afar


When Denmark's largest companies need a CEO, they are increasingly going outside the country to fill the position.


This year alone, according to a Jyllands-Posten investigation, one out of every three major Danish firms has a non-Dane as its managing director. The figure marks a significant change from 2007, when the number of Danish firms with foreign executives was one in eight.

Sabina Nielsen, professor at International Cconomics and Management, Copenhagen Business School, stressed that the trend is not a repudiation of Denmark's talent pool but rather a sign that a more globalised business climate has made it easier for companies to identify good managers and bring them aboard. " It's a trend that has definitely been observed," Nielsen said. " The challenges of international business are increasing, and it's ultimately about finding the best person for the position."

While Denmark has only just begun to experience a new era as an executive haven, many of its European neighbours have already fashioned reputations for being welcoming to foreign workers. A 2012 study by recruitment firm Guido Schilling estimated that 45 percent of executives at Swiss firms came from abroad, and the number was expected to grow to 50 percent by 2015. Germans fill many of these top-level jobs in Switzerland, similar to how Swedes have increasingly hopped over the Øresund to take Danish management positions.

Sabina Nielsen noted Denmark's hiring trend is no different to how top-level football clubs fill their squads with elite talent from all over the world. Just like FC Barcelona always has its eye on the best emerging global talent, Danish companies need to be open to going beyond Denmark to find candidates. " Like any talent pool, the larger the pool, the better candidate you will get," Nielsen said. " If the best candidate is local, then hire local. But you have to look all over the world."

Sabina Nielsen

Read the full article: "The Copenhagen Post", October 11, 2013 (section 1, p 15)

The page was last edited by: Department of International Economics and Management // 12/17/2017