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Working in Norway
Your Guide on Jobs and Finding Work in Norway
Working in Norway can be tough if you do not speak Norwegian. Nonetheless, if you are a highly skilled worker you can certainly find work in IT, healthcare, or other in-demand jobs in the country. If the job you obtain requires recognition of your qualifications, you can contact the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in education (NOKUT). They currently only accept applications for recognition from Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, but they plan to expand this list gradually.
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Norway’s job market is very healthy as 70.1% of the population is in the labor force and unemployment dropped from 3.2% to 3% between 2018 and 2019. Working days in Norway include 40 hours of work per week, nine hours a day. Five days a week is the typical working week in this country.
If you are wondering how to find a job in Norway, we give you the best tips for foreigners seeking employment in this country. This includes creating a Norwegian-style CV and cover letter, which can include information on your marital status and children, unlike what is listed on CVs in other countries.
If you do manage to secure a job in this Nordic country, you should get familiar with what the average salary is. The gross average annual salary in Norway is 636,688 NOK (69,151 USD).
Working as a self-employed person is also possible in this country. You can either register as a sole proprietorship, private limited company, general partnership, or Norwegian branch of a foreign country. As a self-employed person, you will also make social security contributions. This is set to 11% of your pensionable income for self-employed workers.
How to Get a Job in Norway
If you are wondering how to get a job in Norway as a foreigner, you must first ensure you meet the requirements and eligibility for working in Norway. You may need a visa depending on where you are coming from and you must meet certain income criteria in order to obtain one. You may also need to meet a certain level of education in order to be considered a skilled worker in this country and to be hired over a local. For detailed information on this and more, visit our Visas and Work Permits section.
How to Apply for a Job in Norway
You will first want to tweak your resume and create a Norway-style CV. This will better your chances when applying to different jobs in the Nordic country. With the following tips, you will be sure to catch the attention of recruiters and HR personnel in Norway.
- Make sure you are tailoring each resume you send out to the position and company you are applying to.
- Limit your CV to one or two pages maximum.
- Personal information to include: name, address, e-mail address, cell phone, date of birth, marital status, and children.
- Following your personal information, highlight your key qualifications at the top.
- Next, include your education history in reverse chronological order.
- Then do the same for your work history, presented in reverse chronological order.
- After, you will want to add courses, workshops, and certifications you have completed.
- If you have any additional, useful language skills, add those too.
- You will also want to add any important experience with industry-related projects and the role you played.
- Include any leisure activities, interests, and hobbies.
Cover Letter Tips
Like your resume, your cover letter should be tailored to the job and organization you are applying to. It should be no longer than a page and should be addressed to the appropriate person. Be positive in your letter and explain why you believe you would be a good fit for the specific role and team. Double-check for any grammar and spelling mistakes. It is always a good idea to have a friend or trusted colleague read over your letter.
Congratulate yourself if you have made it to this stage of the interview process. You are that much closer to landing a job in Norway. With the following interview tips, you will be sure to seal the deal!
- Do your homework before the interview and come prepared with knowledge on the company, projects, key people within, and even the people who are interviewing you.
- Before the interview, go over your cover letter, CV, and the job posting to help prepare some of the answers you will give to common questions (such as: why are you a fit, what has been your experience, etc.).
- If there are any significant gaps in your resume, be ready to explain what you did or what you were working on during this period.
- Prepare your own questions to ask the interviewer at the end.
- On the day of your interview, be on time and come dressed professionally.
- Shake hands firmly and make eye contact whenever you meet or are introduced to someone.
- Expect for your interview to last between 45 to 90 minutes. You may be required to undergo a personality test.
- Following the interview, be sure to send a thank-you e-mail. If you have not heard back within a couple of weeks, feel free to follow-up on the status of your application.
Common Interview Questions
- Why did you apply for this job?
- Tell us about your professional experience.
- Why did you leave your previous job?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- What tasks do you enjoy the most/least?
- Do you prefer independent or teamwork?
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you bring to this role?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Tell us about your family (civil status).
Required References and Qualifications
In your CV, you can conclude by explaining that your references and any diplomas necessary are available upon request. References can be professors, people who have trained you, and colleagues. Certificates and other qualifications may be required for your new potential employer. If so, always send copies, never originals.
If you need your qualifications recognized in Norway, such as foreign vocational education and training certificates and diplomas, contact the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in education (NOKUT). Currently, they are able to accept applications for recognition from the following countries:
They will accept for the following jobs:
- cabinet maker
- cook, institutional cook
- industrial machinery mechanic
- industrial concrete worker
- meat cutter
- motor vehicle mechanic, light and/or heavy vehicles
- retail butcher
- sausage maker
- wood products carpenter
They plan to gradually add more countries to this. Presently, if you are from a country not mentioned above and need your qualifications recognized, you will need to undergo Norwegian vocational education and training to receive an equivalent craft and journeyman’s certificate.
Check out online groups, such as InterNations, to find out about local events where you can meet like-minded professionals. You should also do research on potential trade meetings, conferences, industry events, business festivals, and coworking space events that you can attend.
When networking, Norwegians prefer you to talk and share your experiences, not your business card. As Norwegians are not big on hierarchy in the workplace, be open to talking to everyone regardless of what their position or “title” is.
As you will learn in our Business Culture section below, Norwegians do not care for small talk. It is best to get straight to the point: find some common and mutual interests with the people with whom you interact and begin discussing business ideas and projects.
Connecting online via social media and other professional networks is a good way to connect, but do not underestimate the power of in-person conversation and interaction. This makes you much more memorable. You may also want to consider networking over a meal.
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Minimum Wage and Average Salary
What is a good salary in Norway? The annual average salary (gross) in Norway is 636,688 NOK (69,151 USD). Minimum wage varies depending on your skill level, experience, age, and even industry. Minimum wages per hour per industries are as follows:
- qualified employees—209.70 NOK (23 USD)
- unqualified employees—188.40 NOK (20 USD)
- unqualified employees with at least one year of experience—196.50 NOK (21 USD)
- workers under 18 years old—126.50 NOK (14 USD)
- workers hired by private company—187.66 NOK (20 USD)
- employees under 18 years old—139.62 NOK (15 USD)
Hotel and Food Industry
- employees who are at least 20—167.90 NOK (18 USD)
- 18 year-olds without experience—134.09 NOK (15 USD)
- 17 year-olds—119.83 NOK (13 USD)
- 16 year-olds—110.33 NOK (12 USD)
- people with vast experience—178.55 NOK (19 USD)
- specialists—170.53 NOK (19 USD)
- assistants with no experience—162.60 NOK (18 USD)
Gardening and Agriculture
- temporary workers under 18 years old—103.15 NOK (11 USD)
- employees who are at least 18 years old, working less than 12 weeks—123.15 NOK (13 USD)
- employees who are at least 18 years old, working 12–24 weeks—128.65 NOK (14 USD)
- workers working more than 24 weeks with no qualifications—143.05 NOK (16 USD)
- permanent workers under 18 years old—112.65 NOK (12 USD)
Fishing and Fish Processing
- qualified employees—195.20 NOK (21 USD)
- production employees—183.70 NOK (20 USD)
- qualified employees—217.63 NOK (24 USD)
- other workers—189.52 NOK (21 USD)
- driver transporting commodities—175.95 NOK (19 USD)
- driver transporting people—158.37 NOK (126 USD)
The Most In-Demand Jobs and How Much They Pay
The following are the average annual salaries for top jobs in Norway:
- nurse—501,381 NOK (54,096 USD)
- doctor—1,692,563 NOK (182,699 USD)
- pharmacist—742,569 NOK (80,154 USD)
- construction worker—474,030 NOK (51,168 USD)
- HVAC engineer—626,117 NOK (67,584 USD)
- railway engineer—579,795 NOK (62,584 USD)
- teacher—499,919 NOK (53,962 USD)
- hotel receptionist—459,673 NOK (49,618 USD)
- IT professional—627,610 NOK (67,745 USD)
- chef—543,724 NOK (58,663 USD)
- waiter—391,359 NOK (42,224 USD)
- plumber—381,517 NOK (41,162 USD)
- electrician—405,392 NOK (43,738 USD)
- mechanic—401,494 NOK (43,317 USD)
- metalworker—349,943 NOK (37,756 USD)
- bus driver—374,988 NOK (40,458 USD)
- hauler—400,910 NOK (43,254 USD)
- factory worker—418,873 NOK (45,202 USD)
- accountant—449,927 NOK (48,491 USD)
- software engineer—614,081 NOK (66,156 USD)
- architect—574,176 NOK (61,857 USD)
- marketing manager—1,133,588 NOK (122,123 USD)
- web developer—581,631 NOK (62,660 USD)
- UX designer—550,040 NOK (59,257 USD)
Working in Norway as a Foreigner
The best way to get a job in Norway as a foreigner is to first start by searching online. There are a few job search websites with legitimate postings that will help you get a feel for what is available. You may also want to consider brushing up on your Norwegian. Knowing the local language will certainly give you an advantage among a sea of other expats.
With InterNations GO!’s Language Training, we will sign you up for appropriate group classes or arrange private tutoring for you and your family, depending on your preference. We understand that learning the local language is an essential part of successful integration. Whether you need to brush up on work-related vocabulary or start with the basics, we have you covered. Contact us today.
Job Opportunities in Norway for Foreigners
- teaching English
- jobs in tourism
- work in fisheries
- jobs in the oil and gas industries
- seasonal/agricultural work (e.g., strawberry picking)
Norwegian self-employment is possible with the correct skilled worker visa. You will need to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for one, such as meeting particular education requirements. You must have a detailed business plan and your company must make a certain amount of profit each year. To learn more about this, read our Self-Employment Visas section.
How to Be Self-Employed in Norway
To successfully be self-employed in Norway, you will need to do your market research and make sure there is space in the marketplace for the product or service your business will offer.
If you need to apply for a loan or raise funds to get your start-up going, your financial and business plans need to be sound and you must have a realistic budget of what you expect to borrow/raise. All of these details will go a long way with possible investors. You may also want to think about getting trademarks and any patents on your products early.
There are a few avenues you can take when it comes to registering you and your business under self-employment in this country. The most common forms are:
- sole proprietorship;
- private limited company;
- general partnership;
- Norwegian branch of a foreign country.
This is the simplest way to register as a self-employed person in Norway. You will personally be liable for your enterprise’s finances and obligations. You, as the owner, cannot be employed in the company, but you can hire employees.
Private Limited Company
To set up a private limited company in Norway, you need to have a share capital of at least 30,000 NOK (3,253 USD). This will act as collateral for the company’s creditors. The main authority over a private limited company is the general assembly which must be held once a year.
This option must involve at least two people. There are two types of general partnerships:
- general partnership with shared liability
- general partnership with joint and several liability
Norwegian Branch of a Foreign Country
This applies if you have a company abroad and want to do business in the Nordic country. You will need to obtain a Norwegian organization number. To do this, you will need to set up a separate Norwegian company or a Norwegian branch. You will also need to register with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises (Foretaksregisteret).
There is an entirely different way to be “self-employed” in this country (so to speak) without having to run your own enterprise and that is by freelancing. But there is a distinction made in this country between a freelancer and a self-employed person. Unlike a “self-employed person,” as a freelancer, you will not need to have an organization number or a responsibility to keep accounts. You are also not liable to VAT and you submit your tax return as a typical salaried employee/recipient.
Top Self-Employed Jobs in Norway
- Uber driver
- freelance writing
- virtual assistant
- landscaping services
- selling items online (e.g., eBay)
- elder care
- pet walking/sitting
- web design
- repair work
- career/life coaching
- voice-over specialist
- resume writer
- graphic design
- cleaning services
Self-Employed Benefits in Norway
You are eligible for certain tax deductions as a self-employed person in Norway. For detailed information on what these are, see our Self-Employed Taxes section. You are also entitled to sickness cash benefits. They correspond to 65% of the income from the 17th day of sickness for a period of 248 days. If they voluntarily pay higher in social security contributions, self-employed people are entitled to either 100% of the income starting from the first day of sickness, 100% from the 17th day or 65% of the income starting on the first day of sickness.
Self-employed pregnant women are given a cash pregnancy benefit which entitles them to paid leave from the time they stop working, but only if they need to due to hazardous or dangerous conditions.
Self-employed fishermen are entitled to benefits with respect to accidents at work and occupational diseases.
If you are a “freelancer” you are entitled to the minimum standard deduction as a salary recipient. Under certain conditions, freelancers are entitled to unemployment benefits.
Your social security contributions to the National Insurance Scheme in Norway as a self-employed person depends on the income you make. The contribution rate for self-employed workers is 11%. If you fall ill, your daily cash benefit is also calculated based on your income.
Norway’s business culture values equality. Therefore, you will find very little hierarchy or formality. Instead, there are flat structures within organizations and informal communication. Norwegians are not so easily impressed by titles and symbols of power like some other countries. However, they do respect confident, self-assured businesspeople.
Norway’s working culture places importance on cooperation and is based on trust. The workforce is seen as productive, motivated, and competent. Norwegians are great time managers, detail-oriented, and do not require face-to-face contact in order to do business so long as they trust you. They are direct speakers and do not make much small talk. They are also not so emotive when they talk and do not use a lot of body language.
Much like the business culture, Norway’s workplace culture dress code can be rather informal. Business casual attire is acceptable in a lot of companies. In some sectors, you may even see people in jeans and a t-shirt.
If you need an appointment with someone at work, make sure you schedule one in advance and be punctual to your meeting. This is appreciated and indicates your trustworthiness/reliability. Even if you are only going to be late five minutes, it is best to notify.
Social Security and Benefits
If you are working and paying taxes in Norway, you are automatically part of the National Insurance Scheme which is sustained through social security contributions. Contribution rates are determined by the state. When you arrive in Norway, you will either get a Norwegian social security number or a D-number (temporary number)—which one you get depends on the amount of time you plan on staying in the Nordic country.
What is a Social Security Number in Norway?
This is a personal identification number which identifies you via an 11-digit number. The first six digits are your date of birth. This number is used to prove your identity to public authorities and other official parties in Norway. D-numbers are also 11 digits.
You need to have a social security or D-number in order to access certain services in this country including opening a bank account.
Can a Foreigner Get a Social Security Number?
Yes. Anyone settling in Norway (i.e., staying for more than six months) can be assigned a social security number. If you are staying temporarily for less than six months you will be assigned a D-number. It should take between two to six weeks after you have met with police about your residence card.
How to Get a Social Security Number in Norway
Applying for a social security number in Norway is done in conjunction when you apply for a residence permit. Two to six weeks after you receive your residence permit you will receive your social security number in a letter from the Tax Administration.
If you are from the EU/EEA, you will be issued your number after you have registered with the police.
Social Security Benefits in Norway
Social security benefits in this country include:
- family benefits;
- child benefit
- cash benefit for families with small children
- transitional benefit
- benefits for pregnancy, birth, and adoption (see following section);
- parental benefit
- lump-sum grant
- care services;
- care in a private home or place in a nursing home
- attendance benefit
- health care services;
- acute illness/injury (admission to hospital)
- medicines on prescription
- regular GP
- dental health
- sickness benefits;
- attendance allowance
- occupational injury and illness benefit;
- occupational injury insurance
- disability benefit;
- work assessment allowance;
- benefits for survivors;
- survivor’s pension
- children’s pension
- funeral grant
- retirement pension;
- old retirement pension
- basic pension
- supplementary pension
- minimum pension level
- new retirement pension
- guarantee pension
- earnings-related pension
- financial assistance and supplementary allowance;
- unemployment benefit.
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Maternity and Paternity Leave
Maternity leave allows for mothers to take up to twelve months of leave in connection to a child’s birth and after birth. They are paid either their full salary for a total of 49 weeks or 80% of their salary for 59 weeks.
How Long is Maternity Leave in Norway?
Maternity leave in Norway includes a mother’s right to leave for twelve weeks leading up to the birth and six weeks following the birth. They must apply to the employer for leave no later than three months before the start date.
Maternity Benefits in Norway
In addition to the twelve months, a new mom is entitled to, she is allowed an extra year of leave for each birth. Everyone entitled to maternity leave is usually entitled to a parental benefit which is financial assistance to help parents after giving birth or adopting a child. You are eligible for this benefit if you have been employed for at least six of the ten months prior to the benefits start date. What you will receive is usually calculated based on your income.
Along with this, when you have a baby, you are automatically granted a child benefit. Later, a cash-for-care benefit is given to parents with toddlers between the ages of one and two.
Paternity Leave and Benefits
In Norway, fathers are entitled to the same length of leave as the mother along with the same additional year after each birth, a parental benefit, child benefit, and cash-for-care benefit.
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