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Working in Oslo

Working in Oslo offers great opportunities in a variety of industries, a strong economy, and much more. For instance, expats benefit from Norway’s social welfare system and a healthy work-life balance. Read our guide to working in Oslo for information on the economy, the job search, workplace etiquette, and more.
Oslo's seaport not only accommodated cargo ships but also passenger ships from Sweden or Germany.

At a Glance:

  • Oslo is the place to be for a good career, particularly in the fields of technology, as well as research and development.
  • Though lots of jobs in Oslo require Norwegian language abilities, there are many international companies with English-speaking positions available.

A Healthy and Growing Economy: Facts and Figures

Norway has a diverse economy with one of the highest regional GDPs in Europe and makes up a significant percentage of the total global GDP (0.3% according to the IMF World Economic Outlook). Oslo contributes roughly 17% of Norway’s national GDP, and in 2008 the capital city even had the highest GDP per capita in Europe, according to research undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Indeed, expatriates working in Oslo find themselves in the most densely populated municipality at the economic center of Norway.

More than 350,000 people are currently working in Oslo. All in all, about 1.3 million people live in Oslo’s urban region (Oslo and Akershus County). The local unemployment rate in this region was at 3.5% for Oslo and 2.7% for Akershus County in August 2016, and the entire region had about 5,000 job openings in February 2016.

Oslo County was also ranked among the top 20 in the fDi Magazine report on European Cities and Regions of the Future 2016/17 and comes in first place as the best large European city for human capital and local lifestyle.

Oslo’s Biggest Industries

Oslo is home to some of the most important business sectors in Norway. Not only is it a great location in terms of its close proximity to the sea, it also offers an excellent infrastructure. In this section, we would like to introduce you to some of the city’s most important sectors.

Maritime Industries

Norway’s history is intrinsically linked to its ports and the sea, and the country has great maritime expertise and potential. Oslo’s prime location and access to the sea make it a global player in the field of maritime knowledge and a very attractive European destination for those who wish to work in this industry.

The maritime industry is extremely lucrative for Oslo, with the whole Oslofjord region having an annual turnover of 155.2 million NOK (about 19 million USD) in 2015. Although this was a slight decrease from 2014’s 158 million NOK turnover, the maritime sector is still going strong and remains one of Oslo’s crowning jewels. In the greater Oslofjord region, there around 21,000 employees in the maritime industry (2015 figures). About 8,000 of them work in and around the capital city.

Some of the Oslofjord region’s prime maritime subsectors include: shipping companies, such as offshore and deep-sea shipping, drilling companies, financial and legal maritime services, technical services, trade and commerce, logistics, maritime equipment production, namely docks and shipbuilding.

The region is also home to the headquarters of many maritime companies — whether it comes to cargo, passenger tourist vessels, or smaller fishing organizations. Det Norske Veritas is just one example, located in Høvik, close to Oslo’s center. DNV is a major global company, providing — among other things — classification services in the shipping industry. Other important companies in the region, or further along the southern coast, include Fred. Olsen & Co, Wilhelmsen Maritime, and IMS

Of course, Oslo also has an important seaport, which is home to about 900 companies. The port greets an average of six million passengers per year travelling to Norway by boat. Large shipping companies, as well as insurance providers and ship brokers, are based here, too. Oslo Havn (Oslo Port Authority) accommodates cargo ships, local island-hopping ferries, and great passenger cruise ships from Denmark or Germany.

Research and Development

Oslo’s research and development sector mostly focuses on advancements in energy production. Due to Norway’s experience with hydropower and offshore petroleum development, this does not come as a surprise. The majority of research institutions are located in close proximity to the University of Oslo and focus on renewable energy and environmentally friendly petroleum-related development.

Other important institutions in the field of research and development are the Norwegian Geotechnical Research Institute, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. However, it is the Oslo Science Park which is the leading business incubator in the region. Located in the heart of Oslo’s academic scene, between Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo, it focuses on environmental technology and is home to over 250 companies and research organizations.

Technology and Communications

Norway is considered one of the world’s leading information societies and has a highly developed mobile market. The Oslo region is a key location in the development of new information and communication technology products, due to the strong R&D (research and development) environment and the unique expertise of Oslo’s workforce. Aside from new business start-ups which have settled in Oslo in recent years, many expats working in Oslo have found an occupation at international companies such as Google or Microsoft.

If you are curious about working in Oslo’s ICT sector, you will be happy to learn that there are quite a few companies which contribute to the growing industry in Oslo. Kongsberg Gruppen, for example, which provides — among other services — international sustainable ocean technology and software, and Nordic Semiconductor, producing ultra-low power wireless solutions, are just a few examples. Oslo is also home to the headquarters of Telenor, which is one of the fastest growing mobile communications services providers worldwide, and the most popular telecommunications provider in Norway.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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David Hicks

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

Amelie Barreau

"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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