The labor market in Norway
Updated 2018-05-11 14:39

Norway benefits from great working conditions; the unemployment rate is indeed well below the European average, wages are relatively higher and several weeks of paid holidays contribute to the happiness of Norwegian employees who are among the better off in the world. 

However, foreigners may face difficulties to find a job in the country. Norway has never really had a tradition of immigration, that's why Norwegian employers are sometimes reluctant to hire foreign workers. Things are fortunately changing and Norway has increasingly resorted to the employment of foreign workers in certain key sectors of its economy: tourism, fisheries, services, oil and gas industries.

Fluency in Norwegian is often an essential prerequisite for most jobs in Norway. However, fluency in Norwegian is not mandatory for seasonal jobs, agriculture jobs (picking strawberries for instance) or unskilled jobs, in several large foreign companies operating in Norway or in the oil and gas industries where the working language is usually English.

Norwegian courses for foreigners are held in almost every city. Note that Norwegian courses are sometimes compulsory : if your work permit allows you to apply for permanent residency in Norway, you must complete at least 300 hours of Norwegian. This also applies for work permits' dependants.

If your work permit doesn't lead to permanent residency in Norway, Norwegian courses are not mandatory, even if they are really useful!

Norwegian language classes for foreigners, which used to be free in the past, are now submitted to fees which costs are at the discretion of each municipality. For more information, contact your municipality or read the article about "Norwegian lessons" on "Ny i Norge" website at

There are several minimum wages in Norway depending on the type of position held in the country (skilled worker, unskilled worker, construction worker, worker under 18 years etc.) For your information, the average hourly wage is about â¬15.

For more information about salary scales in Norway, visit the "Fellesforbundet" website at: or visit PayScale website at

Good to know:

Employees in Norway are granted 4 weeks paid holidays per year.

Useful links:

Fellesforbundet - wages and conditions of employment in Norway

PayScale - Salary scales in Norway

Working conditions in Norway - pdf guide on working conditions and salaries in Norway

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