By Ulla Oppermann Blankholm, Blankholm Kommunikation
When a New Dane is presenting the news on TV or taking up other pronounced positions in society, it changes the myth about or perception of what a New Dane is capable of. That is the opinion of Torben Møller-Hansen, Director of The Association New Dane.
“It is very important for young people who are taking an education that there are people who break the myths about what New Danes are capable of” he says.
And the young New Danes now have more people to look up to. According to figures from the immigrant database of the Ministry of Integration, the number of top leaders from non-Western countries has increased 57 percent in one year. From 1998 to 2008, the number of New Danes rose from under 250 to 490. And as of January 1st 2009, the number increased rapidly as 769 New Danes could call themselves top leaders.
Torben Møller-Hansen believes that the increase is caused by the fact that there are more New Danes to choose from and that after they finish their education, they immediately are hired into the centre of an organization and then rise in the internal hierarchy.
“For example, ISS has their own management academy targeting New Danes, and in general the Danish trade industry is changing from being mono-cultural to being more diverse. It is the diversity that is needed to realize growth in companies” says Torben Møller-Hansen who has a hard time spotting the drawbacks of New Danes in top management.
“The advantages of New Danes in top management can be seen as drawbacks, but that is not how I see them at all. It challenges the way we usually do things, and that is exactly where innovation lies – as well as the clear advantages” he says.
The Director of The Association New Dane thinks that New Danes most often do things the same way as most Danes but that there is still a difference.
“This difference is taken to another level and creates greater tolerance in a company. A manager who is a non-practicing Muslim – just like many Danes are non-practicing Christians – can make the company go from a silent tolerance to a visible tolerance”.
Manager – not New Dane
Torben Møller-Hansen senses that there are more New Dane leaders because The Association New Dane, in collaboration with the Ministry of Integration, has examined several companies and spoken to managers who are New Danes. But if the Director does not visit the Danish companies, it is not easy to spot the New Dane managers.
“When these managers reach a certain level, they do not want to be labelled New Danes. Whether they are born in Denmark or not, they see themselves as leaders and not New Danes”.