More international students on the job market
By Gregor Halff (Dean of Education) and Tom Dahl-Østergaard (Dean’s Representative, International Talent Retention)
More international students need to stay and work in Denmark after graduation. Highly qualified international students, who are studying in Denmark and subsequently start working here, are a financial gain to the Danish society. Moreover, they ensure an adequate number of qualified workers on the Danish labour market.
For this reason, a partnership between the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Danish Confederation of Professional Organisations, Universities Denmark and the National Union of Danish Students has made seven recommendations to promote the goal of retaining more international students in the country after graduation. The recommendations have been handed over to the Minister for Higher Education and Science, and they are:
1. increased focus on job opportunities
2. better access to Danish language courses for international students
3. international students must know the Danish companies
4. Danish companies must see the potential in international students
5. international students must participate in professional and social communities
6. international students must know Danish culture
7. legal barriers must be removed
Today, approximately every third international graduate from university master programmes are working in Denmark two years after graduation. The aim of the partnership is to increase this to 40% in 2025. It is the joint task of universities, companies, trade unions and policy-makers to reach this goal in Denmark.
CBS has played an active part in this partnership, and we are proud to have been part of making these recommendations. The recommendations build on already existing initiatives and well-documented efforts to bridge the gap between international graduates and the Danish labour market. They make perfect sense to us at CBS as our international profile attracts the relatively largest part of international students in Denmark.
Each recommendation is accompanied by 2-5 suggestions for concrete initiatives; however, they do not necessarily have to be implemented in all CBS’ academic programmes. What we need to do next is to “translate” the recommendations into something that makes sense. This is going to take place in a dialogue between the programmes on what will work best for each of them. CBS has defined a goal to increase the number of international CBS graduates who stay and work in Denmark from 23% (2016 numbers, latest available data) to 33% at the end of 2021. If we join hands in this effort, the goal is realistic.
Last year, the Dean’s Office, Education, the Programme Administration and CBS Business launched a joint project – Career Destination: Denmark. The project has already created a more solid database and made sure that all career activities through CBS Business consider the special needs of our international students. We have also established an overview of the current retention and employment initiatives across all programmes at CBS, and fortunately, there is a lot going on in many programmes. It is time to move on, and the seven recommendations from the partnership and the accompanying suggestions for initiatives are an obvious springboard for a continued dialogue. At the same time, we will seize the opportunity to raise external funding for further initiatives.
In short, Danish companies must be better at seeing the potential of our international graduates and the value they create as employees, but we, as a university, must be better at motivating more of our international students and prepare them for the Danish labour market.
Read the recommendations and the accompanying suggestions for initiatives (in Danish):