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Expats with a job lined up in Norway can count themselves lucky as the country is consistently identified as one of the best countries in the world in which to work.
The majority of Norwegians are said to feel satisfied and secure in their job, while most workers believe they could find another job if they wanted to. A strong, mixed economy and the welfare state have created an environment of trust, confidence and optimism within the labour force.
Norway’s work culture is generally supportive of employees and puts a strong emphasis on balancing the demands of one's work and home life. A Norwegian boss may even be concerned that an employee is working too hard or too much.
Job market in Norway
Norway has a mixed economy, meaning the government is a significant employer alongside private enterprises. Some of the largest employers in Norway include Norsk Hydro, Telenor, Orkla, Aker Solutions and Equinor. Important industries in Norway are petroleum and natural gas, mining and shipbuilding, as well as fishing.
As such, Norway’s robust economy offers many opportunities for expats, particularly in these fields, as well as engineering, IT, research, finance and teaching. Just as oil and gas is a major sector, Norway is also investing in clean energies, including hydroelectric power, and the development of green technologies is a growing field.
Many expats consider self-employment or freelancing and can find a job in fields ranging from freelance writing to web design. Foreigners considering self-employment opportunities in Norway must apply for the appropriate visa and work permit, though.
Norway's economy has remained relatively stable and has come out strong in the face of global financial crises. Average earnings are high across all professions, whether it's as a teacher, accountant, architect or receptionist.
Finding a job in Norway
With a low overall unemployment rate of around four percent, there are often many open positions in Norway. However, being a small market, it may be a challenge to find a job that perfectly fits an individual's background and profile.
Multinational firms are known to hire expats, even if they don’t speak Norwegian. Otherwise, the general feeling is that expatriate employees should be able to speak the language and have some experience in the Norwegian market. Expats with specific qualifications should find out if these are recognised in the country and, if not, may need to undergo some vocational training after arriving.
Expats have the option of going through a recruitment agency to secure a job. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration is one of the best places to start the search as it provides tips for job seekers and guidance on how to find job vacancies. Alternatively, there are listings of jobs available online via portals such as FINN.no and Manpower Norge, while having a strong LinkedIn profile is also advised.
Work culture in Norway
The work culture reflects Norwegian society at large in that it's egalitarian and there is no real hierarchy. Any employee can comment on a project while top-down communication channels are not as specific as in other countries.
Doing business in Norway is rated as easy, and while employees work hard, typical working hours are shorter than in many other destinations. Employees also benefit from the wide scope of social benefits and great working conditions, which contribute to a happy work-life balance.
►Doing Business in Norway provides more information on the work culture in the country
►For essential info on the capital city, read Working in Oslo
"Norway in general, and Oslo in particular, has a very dynamic and healthy economic climate." For more on the economic climate, read our interview with Gisèle.
"Stavanger is thriving thanks to a busy oil and gas industry and tourism in the summer months. Plenty of foreign skilled workers want to take advantage of this so the competition can be quite competitive. While speaking Norwegian is not a requirement, it often helps people get their foot in the door for those positions." Find out more in this interview with Jay.
Are you an expat living in Norway?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Norway. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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