The International Dual Career Network

A new challenge: the International Dual Career Network

Thursday 06 Apr 17


Chiara Marmugi
+45 93 51 12 94
DTU is now part of an international NGO that facilitates the job search for spouses.

Each year, DTU welcomes over 650 international researchers to Denmark, and many of them bring their spouse. Since moving to a new country as an accompanying partner can be challenging, the DTU Spouse Network was founded in 2010 with the aim of supporting spouses by offering them opportunities to build a social and professional network in Denmark.

Spouses of DTU employees are often very highly qualified with international work experience and integrate quickly. The network has been very successful, resulting in a large number of spouses finding meaningful employment in the Danish workforce. Sometimes, though, even the best qualified spouses may find it difficult to enter the labour market and settle in to their new life in Denmark.
The Danish work market is huge, but it can be difficult for a foreigner to understand its peculiar structures and rules. As a result, DTU contributed to the creation of the International Dual Career Network (IDCN) Copenhagen and involved many spouses in IDCN’s activities.

"In my experience, international spouses are a valuable resource in universities as well as in company settings."
Tina Messerschmidt Nielsen, Head of Recruiting and International Faculty Service at DTU

A global association
The International Dual Career Network is a global non-profit association of companies, NGOs and academic institutions - called corporate members - with international assignees and an interest in recruiting experienced talent.

IDCN’s objective is to facilitate the job search for mobile employees’ spouses, called partner members, and to provide corporate members with access to an untapped pool of talent.
Tina Messerschmidt Nielsen, Head of Recruiting and International Faculty Service at DTU, underlines the importance of this talent pool: “In my experience, international spouses are a valuable resource in universities as well as in company settings. Some of my most dedicated employees are spouses, and I will recommend managers to look into the pool of spouses in their next hiring.”

As an organization, IDCN was first launched locally in Lake Geneva region in 2011, expanded globally in 2012 and to date is present in 16 cities around the world. Now it is led by a global executive board located in Geneva, while the local sections are managed by a committee made up of volunteer partners and corporate mentors.

Locally, the single committees of partner volunteers organizes an event every two months with support from one of the member companies, with the aim of building professional networks by connecting partners with corporate members and recruiters. Furthermore, the spouses have the opportunity to collect useful information on how to search for jobs and gain experience and new skills in the local job market.

The IDCN Copenhagen
The Copenhagen local network of IDCN was founded in March 2016. DTU was one of the founding members, together with Copenhagen University, Mærsk, Novo Nordisk and Vestas, and it has always been engaged in the activities of the organization.
“IDCN is the best idea we have come across in many years”, says Mikkel Hougaard Orlovski, Senior International HR Officer at DTU and mentor for the IDCN Copenhagen Communication Team. “We have always searched for possibilities to give accompanying spouses access to the job market, and by organizing value-adding volunteer positions with exposure to the corporate members, it seems we have finally cracked the code.

Furthermore, as the organization is completely administrated by the volunteer spouses, we mentors can concentrate on coaching the volunteers on how to best take advantage of the opportunities. Now we just need even more companies to sign up!”

In the course of one year, IDCN Copenhagen has grown to include 230 partner members and 16 corporate members. During the first year of activity, the network organized six successful career events in collaboration with six different corporate partners.
In 2016, 16 out of the 230 local members found a job, internship or subsidised salary position, and since January 2017, 8 members from the committee of volunteers entered the Danish work market.

Two DTU success stories
A very engaged IDCN volunteer and DTU spouse, Darko Kjiproski, recently started an internship at DTU BioSustain. Darko has a background in Economics and got in touch with the department through IDCN.
“IDCN helped me to develop new skills, confidence and a huge network of contacts,” says Darko with a broad smile. “I volunteered for the Communication Team without having a background in Communications, and through this activity I improved a lot, both professionally and personally. IDCN kept me happy and motivated, gave me confidence, and that helped me a lot during my first job interview”.

Cristina Hernández, another IDCN volunteer and DTU spouse, also applied for the same internship as Darko. Cristina didn’t get the position, but the department was so interested in her scientific background that they offered her a contract as a Research Assistant.
“I arrived in Denmark five months ago, after studying and working in Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland. I thought that I could easily find a job through my international experience, but it was quite frustrating to notice that we were speaking different languages - metaphorically, because my husband is a Dane and I already make myself understood.
I didn’t know the Danish job market and I lacked a professional network. As soon as I started volunteering for IDCN, things have changed radically. Thanks to the activities of the organization, and thanks to the suggestions of our mentors Mikkel and Chiara, I could enrich my CV and sign my first Danish contract”.

Like Darko and Cristina, most of the spouses agree that IDCN adds a lot of value to their professional and social lives, and they often recommend the network to others. And hiring highly qualified spouses also contributes to the Danish labour market by tapping into local talent and helping with the retention of international employees recruited from abroad.
This is why DTU is happy to be an active corporate member of IDCN Copenhagen and aims to invest even more energy in the network in the future.

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