Testimonies

Hiring employees with limited language skills

De Forenede Dampvaskerier, Denmark

In Denmark, it is extremely difficult for refugees with very limited language skills to find employment. Most employers require at least some knowledge of either Danish or English, and in most cases, transversal skills are not enough to be employed. However, in some industries, the demand for unskilled labor is so high and the requirements for doing the work are limited, and under these circumstances a company may employ a refugee with very limited language skills.
The large Danish enterprise De Forenede Dampvaskerier (DFD) is a great example of a company, that has hired refugees despite their very limited language skills. The company is a leading Danish service company within textile laundry and rental. With 12 locations throughout Denmark, DFD is a nationwide company with approximately 1,200 employees who serve customers in all industries. It has been a challenge for the company to recruit enough qualified and motivated personnel, and this has made the company realize that it has to look to other groups of people in order to be fully staffed at all times – even if these groups of people have extremely limited Danish language skills. The company has had great success with recruiting newcomers with limited language skills, most likely because the tasks are extremely simple and do not require much Danish language knowledge. Moreover, a lot of refugee women are very experienced with doing laundry and ironing etc., and the work tasks that they are supposed to do are thus not unfamiliar to them. However, to DFD, the most important parameter when hiring new staff is motivation, not formal skills. In this way, the recruitment strategy of DFD also seems points to an awareness of transversal skills.

Motivation for work
Staffing shortage
Company testimonial