Made in Denmark
How Danish is DSV? And does DSV live up to modern expectations of diversity?
DSV was founded in 1976 in the small town of Skuldelev, Denmark. Nine local hauliers and a business manager formed a coop of hauliers to be better positioned to compete in a very fragmented and highly competitive market. And they quickly gained traction…
Through a series of mergers and acquisitions from the late 1980s onwards, DSV steadily developed into a global supplier of transport and logistics services with 47,000 employees in 75 countries.
Approximately, 2,000 of those now live and work in Denmark, either as part of the Danish operation or headquarter functions.
While DSV is listed in Denmark, and the global headquarters is located in Denmark, South Africa, The US and Germany have long since overtaken Denmark as DSV’s largest operations with 7,593, 5,000 and 3,448 employees, respectively.
Export of trained professionals
To support the rapid international growth, for a number of years, DSV adopted the practice of placing experienced Danish certified freight forwarders in central management positions. But as DSV continued to grow, this practice became unviable, and today only 22 out of 144 MDs are Danish nationals.
Some expatriates, of course, have remained at the original outpost destination and as part of DSV, but have moved on to other roles.
Launch of an international trainee programme
To ensure a global talent pipeline for the core business of freight forwarding, DSV established The Young DSV Programme in 2015.
Since then, more than 50 international freight forwarders have completed the Young DSV Programme and now work as certified freight forwarders in their home countries. We are currently working towards significantly increasing the intake of Young DSV trainees.
So, today, broadly speaking, DSV employs local employees at local operations. But we also encourage mobility across our global organisation, as many of our employees find the prospect of working abroad attractive. For this reason, some positions are listed as global vacancies while others are only listed locally.
Picture: More than 50 international Young DSV trainees have completed their education since 2015
Working towards a better balance
The transport and logistics business was traditionally a man’s world. And to some degree, it still is: DSV’s overall gender split is 38% women and 62% men.
Interestingly, if we look at the very top management, DSV’s Board of Directors, the gender split is 43% women and 57% men. The third female board member was added in March 2019.
Being such a large organisation, present in 75 countries, makes DSV a very diverse workplace. We offer jobs on six continents, within most disciplines and at all training levels – from manual labour in our warehouses to highly skilled specialist jobs in IT and management opportunities.
In a recent blog, talking about diversity, CEO Jens Bjørn Andersen said: “We have a great balance across age groups, professions, social segments, educational segments, religious and ethnic segments etc. I would venture to say that DSV is a world of diversity and that this is one of the most powerful driving forces of DSV”.
That’s not to say that we can’t do better, particularly when it comes to the executive management level.
The members of DSV’s Executive Management team collectively represent the acquired companies Samson Transport, DFDS Dan Transport and UTi Worldwide – and three continents: Europe, Africa and Americas
The next generation management will be more diverse
When it comes to top management, we must admit, we are not very diverse – across race, gender or ethnicity. This is largely a result of the fact that DSV’s has a very high retention rate in top management positions: the combined seniority of DSV’s Executive Management Team is 215 years and counting.
Top management does, however, represent most of the M&As we have completed over the years: Samson Transport, DFDS Dan Transport and UTi Worldwide.
As DSV develops, so will the make-up of our management, and in the not so distant future, pending necessary approvals, we will be adding another member to our Board of Directors – from The Ernst Göhner Foundation based in Switzerland.
Certified Freight Forwarders
Historically, Denmark is a great shipping nation, and this is perhaps why the freight forwarding profession is so well respected in the small Northern country.
Until recently, Denmark was one of the only countries in the world to produce certified freight forwarders.
The Danish freight forwarder education
Trainees following two-year paid programme consisting of on-the-job training and classroom teaching at a registered business college.
The Young DSV programme is modelled on the Danish freight forwarder education.