Working in Norway
The job market
What are your chances of getting a job?
Norway has a strong economy and low levels of unemployment. However, standards of education are high and competition for jobs is strong. You’ll increase your chances of finding work if you can speak Norwegian and have got some work experience. If you don’t speak any Norwegian, your job options will be limited, typically to seasonal agriculture jobs or roles in hospitality. If you don’t already speak Norwegian, consider taking a language course either before you go or once you’re in Norway.
Networking and personal contacts are important ways of finding out about jobs, so it may difficult without Norwegian contacts to break into the job market. Make use of any friends or family you have in Norway and try to build up a network of professional contacts.
Popular areas of work for international workers include agriculture and farming, au pair work, education and teaching, IT, marketing and PR, tourism, customer service and healthcare. There’s a need for skilled workers in areas such as building and construction, certain areas of engineering, nursing and retail.
Where can you work?
- Major industries: petroleum and gas, fishing, shipping, shipbuilding, aquaculture, metals, chemicals, mining, wood pulp and paper products, food processing, timber, textiles.
- Recent growth areas: information technology and communications.
- Shortage occupations: retail, building and construction, nursing, engineering.
- Major companies: Aker Solutions (provider of services to the oil and gas industry), DNB (finance), ExxonMobil, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) (insurance), Norsk Hydro (aluminium and energy), Orkla (supplier of consumer goods), Statoil (oil and gas), Telenor (telecommunications), Storebrand (finance and insurance), Total E&P Norge (oil and gas), Yara International (chemicals).
What’s it like working in Norway?
- Average working hours: a maximum of nine hours per day and 40 hours per seven days.
- Holidays: holiday entitlement is 25 working days (four weeks and one day as there are six working days a week in Norway), plus public holidays.
- Tax rates: Norway has a dual tax base system for individuals comprising general income and personal income. General income is taxed at a flat rate of 24%. The personal income tax rate varies depending on how much you earn and ranges from 0.93% to 14.52% for the highest earners. Employees must also pay a social security contribution of 8.2% (11.4% if you’re self-employed). See PwC Tax Summaries Norway for full details on taxation. Don't forget to check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure that you are not losing any UK pension rights.
Applying for jobs
You can begin the application process from your home country but you'll probably need to be in Norway for the interview stage unless a company offers you a telephone interview. It can be useful to job hunt in Norway as you can network and build up a range of personal contacts.
Most vacancies are advertised in Norwegian and applications are usually made in Norwegian, although some companies accept applications in English.
The usual method of application is a CV (no more than two sides) and a short covering letter, followed by an interview. Employers are usually happy to receive speculative applications. Norwegian CVs should follow a similar format to a UK CV.
Make sure you provide details of your language skills in your application, giving your mother tongue as well as your levels of spoken and written Norwegian and any other languages you speak. You should also include details of your IT skills. You will usually need to provide between two and four references.
Interviews can be with between two and five people, usually with different roles within the organisation. Interviews usually last around 45-90 minutes. You’ll usually need to bring copies of letters of reference, qualification certificates and grade transcripts to your interview. For more information, see Work in Norway.
Further information on finding and applying for jobs, including examples of CVs, is available from the University of Oslo careers service.
Get more applications and CV advice.
Will your UK qualifications be recognised?
UK qualifications are generally well recognised around the world, but check with the employer or the relevant professional body prior to applying for work.
For certain professions you’ll need to get authorisation/recognition of your professional qualifications. For more information and a list of regulated professions, see the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT).
- EURES – European Job Mobility Portal – maintained by the European Commission, provides information about job vacancies, living and working conditions and labour markets in Norway, as well as a CV-posting service for jobseekers.
- Finn Jobb (in Norwegian)
- JobbDirekte (in Norwegian)
- Jobs.ac.uk - for academic and research jobs in the UK and abroad, including Norway.
- Work in Norway - information on finding a job and working in Norway. The jobs database is in Norwegian but you can search job adverts using the words “English”.
Work in Norway has links to a wide range of job websites.
Agencies are listed in the Norwegian Yellow Pages – search for ‘vikarbyrå’ and ‘vikarutleie’.
For a list of newspapers, see Norske Aviser.
- Universities and colleges hold graduate job fairs and career events, where you can meet private and public sector employers.
- Use social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn to find jobs.
- Make use of your personal and professional networks to find out about opportunities.
- Sending targeted speculative applications is a common method of applying for jobs in Norway. Remember to make a follow-up call to the company after you have sent your application.
- If you’re visiting a company, remember to take your CV with references and transcripts and ask to speak to someone in personnel or management.
Getting work experience
Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020 and covers student exchange, work experience and volunteering opportunities. Both under and postgraduate students can study abroad for 3 to 12 months. Erasmus+ also provides opportunities for work experience students to learn new skills or languages, as well as volunteering in different countries for between 2 weeks and 12 months.
Work placements and internships
- There's the opportunity to participate in international internships in areas such as management, technology, education, and development through AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales).
- Atlantis organises cultural exchange programmes in Norway for 18- to 30-year-olds, offering au pair jobs and work within the farming and tourism industries.
- If you’re a science or engineering undergraduate you may be able to get a course-related placement through IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience).
To teach in a Norwegian school, you’ll need to speak Norwegian and have a teaching qualification. However, there may be opportunities to teach English in international schools and private language schools if you have a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification.
Opportunities are most likely to be in the larger cities, such as Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. Jobs are often advertised in Norwegian, so having basic Norwegian is helpful. You’re likely to be competing with Norwegians for English language jobs, so previous experience and a higher degree related to education may help you stand out. For a list of international schools in Norway, see Life in Norway.
Part-time and casual work is usually seasonal and is available in sectors such as forestry, hospitality, farming and agriculture. There are also opportunities in:
- warehouse work
- factory/production lines
- au pair work
- hotels and hostels.
You’re likely to find work with fisheries in the north of Norway, while the larger cities like Oslo and Bergen will have work in areas such as finance, business and creative industries.
Gap year and volunteering opportunities
Norway is an attractive place for a gap year (or as part of a gap year). Research and plan your year carefully. You may decide to travel or to combine travel with seasonal work, study or voluntary work.
Young people (17-30) can volunteer in a range of countries, including Norway, via the European Voluntary Service (EVS) on projects lasting from 2 weeks to 12 months.
Do you need a visa?
Although Norway isn’t in the European Union (EU), it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means EU/EEA nationals are entitled to work, study and live in Norway. If you’re planning to stay for more than three months, you need to register with the police, who will issue a registration certificate if you meet the requirements. Registration is free.
If you’re not a citizen of an EEA/EU country, you will usually need a visa to visit Norway. If you want to work in Norway, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit to work. Contact the Norwegian embassy in the country where you’re currently residing about how to obtain a residence permit. If you are living in the UK, go to the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
How do you become a permanent resident?
If you’re an EEA/EU citizen and have stayed in Norway for at least five years, you can apply for permanent right of residence. This gives you the right to stay and work in Norway indefinitely.
Members of non-EEA/EU countries who have held a residence permit for a continuous period of three years can apply for a permanent residence permit.
For full details on visas and resident permits, see the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.
Living in Norway
- Cost of living: the cost of living is high. Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe for goods and services. See Student Life – University of Oslo for a guide to living expenses.
- Internet domain: .no
- Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
- Health: the standard of health and healthcare is extremely high. The health service is mainly public with some private hospitals and practitioners. EEA citizens who are temporarily in Norway should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to be able to access the healthcare system. Also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Residents and those who are employed in Norway are entitled to health service benefits through the National Insurance Scheme – see New in Norway for more information.
- Type of government: constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
- Laws and customs: Drink-driving and drug laws are stricter than elsewhere in Europe. There is a policy of zero tolerance with regard to drug possession and penalties are high.
- Emergency numbers: 110 – fire department; 112 – police; 113 – ambulance. British citizens can get help in an emergency from the British Embassy Oslo.
- People: 94% Norwegian (including Sami). Other Europeans make up almost 4% of the population.
- Major religion: Christianity (predominantly Evangelical Lutheran).