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Working in Norway?

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David Hicks

Living in Norway, from Australia

"Thanks to my network on InterNations, I already had some contact persons to ask for support on coming to Oslo. "

Amelie Barreau

Living in Norway, from France

"Enjoying the great spirit of our InterNations’ Oslo Community for the last few months, I am absolutely convinced of the vision to bring people from different nations together."

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Norway at a Glance

Working in Norway

A career in Norway offers lots of business opportunities, particularly in the fields of oil and gas production. The competition from within the country is fierce, but our guide is full of useful advice for expats set on working in Norway. Read on for info on the job search, social security, and more.

Exporting Petroleum and Supporting the European Economy

Expats in Norway experience an economy in which welfare capitalism and a combination of free government activity and government intervention play a significant role. Natural resources, such as petroleum, hydropower or minerals, are mostly responsible for providing jobs to the overall population. However, the petroleum sector is the biggest contributor to Norway’s economy, being responsible for most exports and 30% of state revenue.

Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it contributes significantly to the European economy. As it belongs to the European Economic Area, it plays an important role in the EU budget and many European expats find opportunities on the Norwegian job market. Norway has begun to save income of the petroleum sector in a sovereign fund in order to deal with the expected decline in oil and gas productions.

Norway’s Energy Resources

After hydrocarbon deposits had been discovered off the shore of Norway in the 1960s, Norway emerged as a major oil and gas producer in the 1970s. Thus, a career in Norway is an attractive opportunity for expats seeking an occupation in this field. Since then, the petroleum sector has grown and contributed significantly to Norway’s economy.

Norway is considered the ninth-largest oil exporter in the world and the third-largest gas exporter in Europe. Indeed, the country provides many Western European countries with crude oil and gas. In addition to revenues from the export of oil and gas products, the offshore production has triggered economic activities onshore. Expats in Norway benefit greatly from the country’s thriving economy and the high quality of life, stimulated by growth through the petroleum sector.

The Growing Job Market

After a declinein unemployment rates between 2010 and 2014, the number of unemployed people is rising and is now at about 4.1%. All in all, more jobs have become available since 2010. The industries, civil engineering as well as information and communication technologies have seen the biggest decline in unemployment in recent years. Tourism and transportation is another sector which offers employment opportunities to both locals and expats.

While Norway’s economy is on the rise and more and more jobs are available, the number of well-trained job applicants from inside and outside the country is also increasing. This is not only due to the many expats who are looking for a job in Norway but also because of the excellent education system which produces well-trained employees. At the same time, public sectors, particularly in healthcare, nursing and teaching, have a significant shortage in occupation. This is not to say, however, that your plan of finding work in Norway is a dead end. Particularly companies in the northern provinces of Finnmark and Nordland often struggle to find suitable employees.

Work Weeks, Holidays and Maternity Leave

Expatriates in Norway benefit from generally good working conditions. While the details of your employment should, of course, always be listed in your job contract, there are also lots of general rules that apply to all people in Norway. A minimum gross wage per hour for skilled and unskilled laborers is only one of them.

An average employee should not have more than a 40-hour work week. In many companies, a 37.5-hour week is also common. If you have to work shifts or put in additional hours, you are legally entitled to overtime compensation. Unfortunately, this does not apply to people in managing positions.

Norway has nine paid public holidays per year, and everyone can take 21 additional days of paid leave. Many employers will even offer you 25 days in your contract. Working parents are allowed to dedicate 10.5 to 13 months to parental leave, at 80-100% of their full salary. 10 weeks of this time are exclusively reserved for fathers in order to support gender equality and to encourage dads to spend more time with their little ones.


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InterNations Expat Magazine