Working in Denmark

Questions about the Danish labour market? Get to know The Danish Model, flexicurity and our working environment and culture.

How the Danish labour market works

In Denmark, it is voluntary and common to be a member of a trade union or professional organisation. In fact, 70% of Danish employees are members of a trade union or organisation representing their specific professional interests. This high degree of unionisation is the result of the role trade unions and professional organisations play in the Danish labour market and the benefits that are achieved through membership.

The Danish Model

The Danish labour market model – known as The Danish Model – is based on a division of responsibilities between the government, the employers’ organisations and the labour organisations. The government collaborates with the two sides of industry on such aspects as unemployment benefits, industrial injury insurance and education. This collaboration takes place in what we call tripartite negotiations.

Furthermore, the respective organisations on the employer and labour sides negotiate salary and working conditions through collective agreements. If the work is not regulated by a collective agreement, an agreement is made on salary and employment terms directly between the employee and the employer. On the labour side, the negotiating parties in a collective agreement will always be an organised labour group, often in the form of trade unions or professional organisations.

Whereas on the employer side of a collective agreement, the negotiating party may be the individual employer or an employers’ organisation. As a rule, the state does not get involved in the negotiation of salary and working conditions, as long as the two sides of labour are able to resolve the issues themselves.


Agreements in the Danish labour market are very flexible by European standards. This is expressed through agreements on salary, working hours and overtime pay, recruitment and dismissal of employees. And it means that there is a high degree of mobility in the Danish labour market.  This high flexibility also means that Danish employees are guaranteed a fairly comprehensive safety net in case of unemployment, sickness or work-related injury. This safety net is guaranteed through legislation. Danish and international employees with work permits have equal standing in the Danish labour market. 

Working environment and culture

Danish workplaces have a flat hierarchical structure compared to many other countries.. The chain of command between management and employees is short, and in principle everyone is considered equal – regardless of education, position or social status. Therefore, Danish workplaces tend to have a somewhat open and informal culture. This is true among employees as well as between employees and management.

It is alright to ask a colleague for advice – this is not considered a sign of weakness. Modesty is the keyword in social interactions. Only rarely will you hear someone boast about themselves or their own skills. On the contrary, people tend to downplay their own roles and qualifications. The social tone is direct, and most people talk about their private lives, families and leisure activities with their colleagues.

Read more about Djøf

About Djøf

Djøf is a trade union, a professional organisation representing our members. Read about what we do, and how the Danish labour market works.

Use Djøf

Become acquainted with work life in Denmark, including contracts, salary negotiations, dismissals and resignations, the social ground rules and much more. And find the benefits of your membership.

Contact Djøf

Contact Djøf regarding your new contract, career advice, membership or other questions.