In his own words, Marcin Pastusiak gambled everything when he turned his back on his home country Poland just under a year ago to work for Viktech in Denmark. The 38-year old painter hasn’t regretted it for one second. “In Poland I slaved away 60 hours a week and barely had time to see my family. Here I earn the same amount of money by working half as much,” says Marcin Pastusiak, who is now trying to settle permanently in Denmark together with his wife and two children.
Just under a year ago, Marcin Pastusiak received a phone call that turned his life upside down. At that time, the 38-year-old painter and handyman lived in his native Poland, more precisely in the large Polish city of Łódź, approximately 120 km from the capital Warsaw. A good friend of his had previously told him about Viktech, the company his friend was working for in Denmark. The employment agency needed good painters and tradesmen, his friend explained. Marcin Pastusiak therefore contacted Viktech during the summer of 2018 and asked to be contacted if a job opening in Denmark came up.
Two months went by without him hearing anything, but suddenly on a Saturday in October 2018, he received a call from a woman at Viktech’s Polish office in the town of Stettin. She asked whether he was still interested in working for Viktech in Denmark? If so, he was to start already the following Monday.
“I had two hours to give her an answer,” says Marcin Pastusiak. “The next call I made was to my boss, to tell him I was resigning. I had no idea where in Denmark I was going or what job I would be doing. All I had was the name of a town I had never heard of. At that moment I gambled everything. And I am glad I did”.
Marcin Pastusiak is far from the only Pole who is trying his luck in Denmark. Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, the number of Polish workers in Denmark has doubled. Today they are by far the largest group of foreign workers in Denmark.
The latest statistics show that approximately 46,000 people of Polish origin work in Denmark, which is more than a quarter of all foreign labour from EU countries working in Denmark.
In particular, the construction industry badly needs more people who know how to use a paint brush. This is what a recent market survey by the Danish industry and employers’ association Danske Malermestre showed when it was published in July this year.
In the last three months, two out of three painting companies have been looking in vain for new employees. Half of the painting companies have therefore had to say no to jobs they were being offered. Many turn to temp agencies or employ foreign workers to manage the situation.
The same applies to the painting company Bladtkramer Enterprise, which has employed six Poles to work on the construction of the future Police Academy in Vejle. One of them is Marcin Pastusiak, who has been working at the future Police Academy in Vejle since 8 May. Before that he employed his paintbrush at the Academy of Physical Education in Ollerup.
When Marcin Pastusiak was working in Poland, he almost always had to also do carpentry work on the buildings that were to be painted. In Denmark he can concentrate on what he loves most: painting. He also doesn't mind that the salary is higher and the number of working hours lower, he says.
To come to a new country with a language he doesn't understand and a culture he is not yet part of has presented some challenges, of course. Fortunately, Marcin has received a lot of help to settle in at his new workplace and in the new surroundings. Especially his contact person at Viktech, consultant Hans Ole Ravnholt, has been of invaluable assistance.
Bladtkramer Enterprise also receives praise from their new colleague.
“At Bladtkramer Enterprise I can concentrate on painting. I know exactly what to do when I arrive on the site, and this makes me feel very settled. In Poland I would often go to work and think: “Damn! Yet another day where I have to deal with all this mess!” It‘s not like that at Bladtkramer Enterprise. Here I can concentrate on painting, and that's wonderful,” he says.
In general, the 38-year old Pole has felt very well received in Denmark. He has never felt discriminated against or looked down upon. On the contrary, everybody has been very welcoming and friendly. In fact, Marcin Pastusiak enjoys working and living in Denmark so much that he plans to bring his wife and two children to Denmark permanently.
On 27 July I will return to Poland, rent a car, pack the most necessary items and bring the whole family to Denmark. Then we'll have to see what happens,” he says.
What the future has in store for Marcin Pastusiak, when his work at the Police Academy ends, is something he hasn't had time to think about yet. Right now he is just happy that he has been given the opportunity to start a new life in Denmark.
“I’m almost certain that Bladtkramer Enterprise is happy with my work, and I also think they will use me for new jobs after the Police Academy. If that doesn't work out, I'm sure I will find something else. As long as I focus on delivering my very best when at work, I'm sure everything will be fine. That's really all you can do,” he says.
Are you, like Marcin, also looking for new challenges and do you also want to become part of a company where you get a permanent contact person who does everything he / she can to offer you new projects when a project is completed? Where you meet a lot of new people and where you are allowed to try out a lot of different tasks?