Publiceret: 09.08.2017Af Peter G. H. Madsen mail
We can live off knowledge alone. This was a common claim in the public debate a few years back. The mantra was that manufacturing belonged in countries with significantly lower wages than in Denmark.
Today, the mindset has changed, shows a survey conducted by Statistics Denmark for the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV) in June of this year.
Among 1,226 Danish respondents, only three per cent say that Denmark ‘to a great extent’ can survive without industrial manufacturing on Danish soil. In contrast, 22 per cent believe that Denmark ‘to no extent’ can survive without industrial manufacturing.
There is, however, also a relatively large group located between the two extremes. 30 per cent responded that Denmark ‘to some extent’ can survive without industrial manufacturing, while 44 per cent answered ‘to a small extent’. The remainder answered ‘do not know’.
For Deputy Director at the Confederation of Danish Industry Kent Damsgaard, it is positive that most Danes understand the importance of industry for Denmark.
“Danish manufacturing companies employ 300,000 workers and contribute significantly to Denmark’s growth and development. Without industrial production in the country, Denmark would be a significantly poorer country to live in,” he says.
He points out that the vast majority of Danish manufacturing companies today are also service companies.
“In Denmark, we are incredibly good at converting new knowledge and research into new products. That makes it possible, for example, to sell a Danish wind turbine together with a service agreement for minute-by-minute monitoring of the turbine’s operation - and, if required, servicing. The distinction between manufacturing and service has almost been erased,” says Kent Damsgaard.
The poll from Statistics Denmark also shows that the view of industry’s role differs considerably across the country.
While 78 per cent of inhabitants in northern Jutland believe Denmark ‘to no extent’ or ‘to a small extent’ can survive without industrial manufacturing at home, only 50 per cent of residents in the capital share that opinion.
The difference in opinion regarding the importance of industrial manufacturing is a good reflection of the distribution of industrial jobs in the country. An analysis conducted by the Confederation of Danish Industry shows that there are significantly more people employed within manufacturing in many municipalities in Jutland than in the capital region.
The greatest percentage of people employed in manufacturing is found in western Jutland. In many municipalities in western Jutland over 20 per cent are employed in a manufacturing company. In comparison, less than 10 per cent of the workforce in the capital is employed in a manufacturing company.
“If we want to have growth throughout Denmark, Danish manufacturing companies must have proper opportunities to succeed. It’s important to create good frameworks and ensure that there is access to qualified employees,” says Kent Damsgaard.
“The good news is that industry is doing very well right now. In the past year, industrial growth has increased by over 3 per cent. That’s impressive, and it testifies to the fact that we have really excellent manufacturing companies. This is also good news for citizens in the capital, because the manufacturing companies create export orders and growth for the entire country.”