Everything you need to know about finding a job in Norway as a foreigner.
Without doubt the most common question we receive is how to find a job in Norway. The biggest barrier for most is one of language, closely followed by qualifications and experience.
Not only is the Norwegian labour market highly-skilled in English, it is also highly qualified. A large proportion of the population holding a master’s degree. Unemployment is also low relative to most other countries, meaning vacancies can be few and far between.
The language hurdle
It’s a fact that Norwegian employers favour those who can speak Norwegian natively or to fluency, even for jobs where fluency in English is an advantage. It comes down to fitting in with the office culture. If there are two people with similar skills and experience, but one has native ability in Norwegian whereas the other is still learning, the job will almost always go to the native speaker.
Having said that, there are English-speaking jobs in Norway and there are opportunities for foreigners to become employed. On this page, we’ve gathered together information about the careers that we’re asked about most often. You can also search for job vacancies.
The Nordic region is known for its tech startups. Spotify, Unity, Klarna and iZettle were all born in the region. While none of these are from Norway, the Nordic love of startups is starting to filter down into the country. The world of digital technology is fast and exciting, and employees can expect a fast-paced youthful working environment, with great opportunities to make an impact. More about startup jobs in Norway.
Au Pairs & Nannys
While these aren’t long-term careers, working as an au pair offers a taste of Norwegian culture and lifestyle, and the chance to improve your language skills. In return for accommodation, meals and a small income, you will provide childcare and do light housework for the host family. While employment law applies to au pairs and you are entitled to a salary and holiday pay, do your research first. More about au pair jobs in Norway.
The academic field is one of the top areas of employment for international workers. Norway’s public universities hire experts in areas such as energy, ocean sciences and ICT. Salaries and working conditions are good, but the competition for the vacancies is fierce. Many of the opportunities are funded directly or indirectly by the Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet), which operates large-scale funding programmes in key research areas. Read more about working as a researcher in Norway.
Hotels & Hospitality
Another common area in which foreigners are employed is the hotel and hospitality industry. They are among the few jobs in Norway where Norwegian is not necessarily required, but the work is seasonal and the pay can be very low. Many new immigrants to Norway can get jobs as cleaners, in housekeeping, or in the kitchens at Norwegian hotels. Although fluent Norwegian isn’t required to get started, you will need language skills to progress beyond basic work and for client-facing roles such as reception work. Read more about working in hotels and hospitality in Norway.
Norway’s international schools hire English-speaking teachers in various subjects, and those with experience of the US and UK teaching methods have an advantage. To get a job in regular Norwegian schools, language fluency and a lengthy teaching degree are the minimum standards expected. Positions teaching English are much less common than in many countries because all Norwegian students learn English to fluency before they leave the public school system. Read more about teaching jobs in Norway.
As a relatively small country, Norway has a shortage of qualified professionals in some industries. Healthcare is one of those. As the country’s population continues to grow and people live ever longer lives, this need looks set to continue. Foreign nurses are welcome to apply for authorisation to work as a nurse in Norway, but the biggest stumbling block is that your education must equal Norwegian standards. Read more about nursing jobs in Norway.
The country’s infrastructure is under constant improvement, with new roads, bridges, tunnels, rail lines, schools, hospitals and housing all under construction. According to industry figures, an additional 10,000 construction workers will be needed every year in Norway until 2020. Qualified labour in manual trades can be hard to find among Norway’s small population, so many firms look to foreigners for the required skills, typically EU citizens who are much easier for them to hire. Self-employment is commonplace. Read more about construction work in Norway.
Of course, there are many vocations not listed above, and we’re in the process of adding more as fast we can. Check back soon for articles on working in the oil and gas industry, and in bars, restaurants and cafes. In the meantime, you can check out our job vacancies page or read this article all about the hard truths of finding work in Norway.