Working in Oslo

Expats relocating to Oslo to take up a job can count themselves lucky, as the city boasts some of the highest earners in the whole of Norway. Furthermore, employers provide good incentives to retain staff and most people working in Oslo feel satisfied and secure in their job. The city's strong economy has helped create an environment of confidence and trust between workers.

However, new arrivals planning on working in Oslo should take steps to learn about the Norwegian work culture and what will be expected of them, if they want to make the most of the job opportunity. 


Job market in Oslo

The key industries in Oslo include shipping, oil and gas, energy and environmental affairs, information and communications technology (ICT) and life sciences.

Shipping is a prominent feature of Oslo's history, so there is a large pool of expertise in the area. Wilhelmsen Maritime, IMS and Fred. Olsen & Co are amongst the largest shipping companies in Oslo.

In the area of energy, there is a large focus on hydropower and renewable energies, along with the oil and gas industry and offshore petroleum development. The largest companies in this area include Norsk Hydro, REC, Statkraft and Aker Solutions – all Norwegian companies.

Oslo is at the forefront of biomedical research and discoveries. GE Healthcare and Applied Biosystems are two of the big players in this field. Growth in this industry is encouraged, and the diagnostics and imaging industry is highly developed.

In ICT, Oslo has a technologically advanced mobile market and internet infrastructure. Telenor, Telia, Opera Software, Microsoft and Accenture are among the most important players in this sector.

Oslo generally places a strong focus on research and development, regardless of industry. The city has a small but highly educated workforce. Research positions are always available and are often filled by foreigners pursuing advanced degrees.


Finding a job in Oslo

When looking for a job in Oslo, a candidate’s experience and education are highly regarded, as are personal connections. Oslo is a small place and networking is very important in terms of finding a job or doing business. Those who move in the same circles are likely to hire each other. This is in part because Norwegians can be suspicious of outsiders. Therefore, having experience in Norwegian business or having Norwegian contacts helps in finding a job.

While expats will find it easier to get a job if they have a basic knowledge of Norwegian, some companies use English as their primary language of business. In these cases, proficiency in English is sufficient.

For those just moving to Oslo or those who have lost a job, it is important to register at NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration), the national employment agency. They can help find jobs or recommend courses to help with the search process, which will improve a person's chances of employment considerably.


Business areas in Oslo

The main commercial and business centres are located downtown, as well as in Skøyen, Lysaker and Fornebu, a business park with newer, larger buildings for big multinational companies. Skøyen and Lysaker are within city limits, in the west. These areas can be reached by tram, train or bus within 20 minutes of downtown Oslo. Fornebu is further out but can also be reached by bus or train, and there are even direct buses specifically for business commuters.

Anna Maria Our Expat Expert

Based in Oslo, Norway, Anna Maria is an intercultural trainer and consultant. She focuses on supporting inpats, expats and repats through their transition periods. She has spent 25 years as an expat. She has lived and worked in 17 countries on five continents. Growing up she spent 4-5 years each in the Netherlands, the US, Peru, and Thailand. She travels extensively to keep up friendships, writes for expat online and print publications and is learning to ski to survive the dark winter.

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