How much do Norwegians earn? We take a look at the minimum wages payable in selected industries.
It’s widely known that Norway has some of the best salaries and best working conditions in the world. While that’s absolutely true, there is a slightly complex situation when it comes to how much people actually earn.
Salaries in Norway are much higher than in many European countries. This is especially true at the lower end of the market, such as for cleaners, restaurant workers and manual labourers.
However, at the higher end such as for senior management, salaries can often not be as competitive as some other countries. But how much does the average Norwegian earn? And why are salaries so high for relatively low-skilled jobs?
Norwegian minimum wage
Contrary to popular belief, there is no national minimum wage written into Norwegian law. Despite this, almost everyone receives a fair living wage. Why? Because Norway is heavily unionised and the vast majority of employees belong to a trade union.
These unions come to collective agreements on salaries and working conditions with companies, which are then applied to all workers, not just union members. This general application of the collective agreements is in place partly to help prevent foreign workers from being taken advantage of.
Norway minimum wages by industry
Generally collective agreements feature one fixed hourly rate for everyone over the age of 18. There are often different rates to distinguish skilled from unskilled work, for overtime, and for younger workers.
For example, in the construction industry, skilled workers earn a minimum of NOK 197.90 per hour, while unskilled workers with no experience earn at least NOK 177.80 per hour. That rises to NOK 185.50 after one year’s experience. Young worked under the age of 18 must earn at least NOK 119.30.
People employed as cleaners must earn a minimum of NOK 177.63 if they are over 18, and NOK 129.59 if not. There is also a guaranteed pay supplement of at least NOK 26 per hour for work between 9pm and 6am, which is agreed on an individual basis.
In the hospitality industry (that’s people working in hotels, restaurants and catering), workers over 20 years of age and those 18 years old and above with at least four months of work experience must earn at least NOK 157.18 per hour. There are lower rates for younger workers.
There are also stated deductions from gross income for lodgings provided by the enterprise. These are 531.55 per month for a single room and NOK 345.73 per month if you are sharing a double/twin room.
Salaries in other sectors
There is no national minimum wage, and some sectors don’t have collective agreements. In this case, salaries are negotiated between the employer and employee, although there are typically published scales of pay grades so you should know what to expect.
The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority ensures these rules on salaries and working conditions are complied with. If the rules are violated, they can impose injunctions and fines, and report the matter to the police. The Labour Inspection Authority also checks that companies are in compliance with the sometimes complicated rules on holiday entitlements and holiday pay.