Lundbeck: We need more than just Danish talents


Pharma 02/2023 - Theme: International recruitment

Lundbeck has several initiatives to attract both Danish and international employees, says Elise Hauge, Executive Vice President, People & Communication.

By Charlotte Kiil Poulsen / Photo: Lundbeck

At the moment, there are 80 open positions at Lundbeck in Denmark. The working language is English, and nationality does not matter.

"We are always on the lookout for talent, and we do not care which passport someone has. We are a very international company. We look at the competencies needed to solve the tasks at hand," says Elise Hauge, who is Executive Vice President, People & Communication, at Lundbeck. 

Part of her job is to recruit and retain skilled employees.

Lundbeck specializes in brain diseases, and according to Elise Hauge, there is not enough talent in Denmark to cover the demand: 

"We are in a niche area, so we also have to look outside Denmark to find people who can help us solve our challenges.” 

Therefore, Elise Hauge is pleased to see the positive signals regarding international students in the government’s coalition agreement: 

"It is really good and important that this is the signal we see now. Earlier on, we have seen more negative statements about foreigners, and that does not help the recruitment process.”

Student assistants are important 
At Lundbeck, student assistants are a regular part of the workforce. According to Elise Hauge, there are always around 70-80 students working in various areas at Lundbeck, of which 20-30 have an international background.

Lundbeck hires students as part of their strategy. The hope is that they will want to stay after completing their education. It happens to a great extent.

“We get the best of both worlds. We have the opportunity to check them out, and they have the opportunity to fall in love with Lundbeck. We actually hire a large number of our students afterwards," says Elise Hauge.

The vast majority of Lundbeck's job advertisements are in English. The company participates in conferences and job fairs where they can be visible and get in touch with students and new graduates. 

They also collaborate with Copenhagen Capacity to attract international candidates.

In addition, Lundbeck has an employee referral program, which means that student assistants receive a referral bonus if they recommend someone who is hired in a permanent position at Lundbeck.

"I definitely think that having a student job is a really good way to get a permanent job after graduation, whether or not you stay at the same place. Just the fact that you have some experience helps a lot.”

Waste of talent
Lundbeck was founded in Copenhagen more than 100 years ago. Today, Lundbeck has more than 5,000 employees in over 50 countries. Here, it is believed that diversity ultimately helps to ensure better forms of treatment for patients. 

"People from different countries come with a different culture and perhaps a different way of thinking. We believe that makes Lundbeck stronger. We appreciate people who have a different mindset.”

The fact that over half of international students have left Denmark three years after graduating annoys Elise Hauge. 

"I think it is a real waste of talent that they are leaving again. We could really use their skills and perspectives. As a Danish citizen, I also think it is a pity since we as a country have contributed by paying for the education.” 

Elise Hauge believes that the entire life science industry could do more to convince international students to stay in Denmark – perhaps in collaboration with Danish universities. 

"Perhaps we could gather some companies in a life science initiative and for instance, host a job fair on our sites to inform students about all the opportunities and vacancies we have in life science," Elise Hauge says and continues: 

"The forecast shows that the Danish life science industry may lack thousands of people already in a few years. So we need to get started and get them employed now, if we can.” 

Other articles in English from Pharma 2/2023:

Magazine: Pharma 02/2023 (in Danish)