Allan Søgaard Larsen, Group Managing Director at Falck, was the keynote speaker at PA’s Executive Seminar in Copenhagen on Thursday 21 June. His main message focused on what Denmark needs to do to improve its competitiveness in an uncertain economic climate.
He said: “The good news is that we can actually do something to get out of the economic deadlock. No doubt, Denmark is highly dependent on the global economy and the tense situation in the EU. However, there are several things we can do to create more wealth in Denmark.”
Identifying how Denmark can become more competitive, he added: “Basically, I see many positive signs in the midst of these challenging times. The key thing is that the Danish people have realised the fact that we are in a very serious situation. This realisation is fundamental because, if you don’t face the problem, you can’t do anything about it. Another positive sign is moderate wage development. The fact that all parties in the labour market seem interested in solving the problem is very positive.”
Too few working hours
“We need to increase the number of weekly working hours,’ said Allan Søgaard Larsen. “It is rather simple. We take too much time off, work too few hours, and because of this our nation is not competitive. Some might say: why work more without getting paid? But studies show that our productivity is very low, meaning that society in general is not sustainable in its current state. That needs to be changed through reforms, including an increase in working hours.”
Suggesting that Denmark’s competitive position in terms of wage and productivity has diminished since 2000, he said: “Our participation rate is among the highest in the world, while our average annual working hours are among the lowest. We need to work more and at the same time focus on improving efficiency in order to increase productivity.”
Providing an analysis of what Danes actually do when they are at work, PA lean expert Svend Ulrik Nyholm said: “Our studies show that employees in an administrative service environment spend 24 per cent of their time on activities that are directly productive for the benefit of clients. At the same time, we spend 28 per cent on holidays, absence and so-called personal time. The rest of the time we use in meetings, administration, control, transport and other things. The fact is that there is room for improvement. Productivity can be increased and our figures show that it is possible. PA Consulting Group believes that in order to increase productivity managers need to challenge their employees and create transparency around productive activities.”
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