With low unemployment, a high standard of living and one of the best welfare systems in the world discover what job opportunities are on offer in Norway…

Norway’s population of 5million enjoy a strong economy, good working conditions and a low unemployment rate – currently standing at 3.4% it is one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.

This all sounds pretty positive but foreign graduates may find it difficult to break into the job market, as Norwegian workers generally have an edge – owing to the fact that networking and personal recommendations go a long way to landing a job in Norway.

However, if you have your heart set on working in the country don’t be discouraged. Foreign workers can increase their chances of finding work by building up a network of Norwegian contacts, (perhaps through temporary or part time work to begin with), and by learning the Scandinavian lingo.

Job market in Norway

The demand for labour varies throughout the country. Fisheries dominate the North whereas the cities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim are largely concerned with financial and business services. Other prominent industries across the country include:

  • building and construction;
  • tourism;
  • petroleum;
  • shipbuilding.

Due to skills shortages and gaps in the workforce Norway is keen to recruit highly skilled workers in a range of sectors, these include:

  • building and construction;
  • engineering;
  • nursing;
  • retail.

Currently oil, information technology and communications and the medical and service industries are the biggest employers of internationals.

Seasonal work and casual jobs in hospitality are also an accessible option for foreign workers.

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is probably the most accessible job commonly held by foreign English speakers. You don’t need to be fluent in Norwegian to do this, as it is preferable to create a strictly English-speaking classroom environment, but it will be highly beneficial if you have a teaching qualification.

Job vacancies

Most Norwegian job vacancies are advertised online, either on job boards or company websites and many newspapers advertise vacancies. The method of application is usually via a CV and short covering letter. Speculative applications are welcomed.

For jobs in Norway, search:

Work experience and internships in Norway

For work in the farming and tourism industries, as well as au-pair jobs, visit Atlantis Youth Exchange. You can be a ‘working guest’ or, if you are enrolled at an Atlantis-partnered university, a ‘trainee’.

Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:

  • AIESEC UK – for students and recent graduates;
  • IAESTE UK – for science, engineering and applied arts students.

Volunteering in Norway

Voluntary work is a great way to build your skill-set and learn a new language. It will help to have some money saved before you set off as the vast majority of voluntary positions are unpaid. Volunteer positions look great on your CV and give you the chance to network and build contacts.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS), funded by the European Commission (EC), is a scheme aimed at people aged 18 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.

Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focused on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.

Make sure you thoroughly research all volunteering opportunities and always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to a scheme.

Language requirements

Many well-educated Norwegians have a strong grasp of English and can speak the language fluently.

The majority, but not all, of jobs in Norway will require knowledge of Norwegian. Learning the language will dramatically increase the number of opportunities available to you and will help you secure a job more easily, and may lead to a better salary.

Developing your spoken and written skills will stand you in good stead, so it is worth learning some before you go.

There are Norwegian language courses in the UK and many good websites exist to help you learn a language or improve your skills. To get the ball rolling and learn the basics visit BBC Languages.

Norwegian visas and immigration

As Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) European Union (EU) citizens can live and work in Norway for up to three months. After this time period you must register, registration is free and requires you to have a job in Norway. For more information visit the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

According to the EC, EU citizens have the right to:

  • move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
  • stay in the country even after employment has finished.

For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see: