Among scholars and practitioners, there is a growing recognition of the important role of employers in the success of active labour market policies in Europe. However, there is a lack of systematic evidence about why and how employers engage in active labour market policies. In this article, the preferences and behaviour of employers towards active labour market policies are untangled. A typology of four types of employers is constructed for analytical and empirical analysis. By distinguishing positive and negative preferences from participation and non-participation, four types of employers are identified: the committed employer, the dismissive employer, the sceptical employer and the passive employer. The utility of the typology is tested with survey data on employer engagement in Danish ALMPs. The findings indicate that only a minority of Danish employers can be classified as ‘committed employers’, and the majority are either ‘dismissive’ or ‘passive’ employers. In the final section, this finding and the usefulness of the typology for analytical and empirical research is discussed.