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What wages can you expect when working in Norway?

In Norway, the open discussions locals have with each other about how much they are paid may come as a shock to newcomers.

What wages can you expect when working in Norway?
Photo: Aslak Raanes/Flickr

But why shouldn’t they? In Norway, the wages of most employees are made public online and can be viewed by anyone. In that spirit, here are a few key pieces of information to add to the openness.  

How Norway ranks to the rest of Europe in salaries

According to Eurostat, the hourly cost of labour in Norway is a substantial €50, considerably more than in neighbouring Sweden or Denmark – or any EU country for that matter.

Note that this figure does not separate wages from the overall labour cost – that data was not available in 2019, according to Eurostat.

What is the average wage in different sectors?

According to Statistics Norway, an average monthly wage for skilled agricultural and forestry, and fishery workers in 2019 was 35,170 kroner. 

For academic professionals the average monthly income was 54,240 kroner. 

Service and sales workers made an average of 35,150 kroner monthly and craft and trade related workers averaged 39,550 kroner.

The average monthly income in 2019 for construction workers was 44,570 kroner. 

Transportation and warehouse workers made an average of 46,720 kroner a month and people working in the arts and entertainment industries made 41,210 kroner. 

The national statistics agency has found that the average monthly salary for first-generation immigrants (without Norwegian heritage) is 44,180 kroner for full time workers.

Management positions

Managers in the financial sectors made a monthly average of 87,420 kroner last year, according to Statistics Norway.

Childcare service managers made 53,430 kroner and advertising and PR managers averaged 67,920 kroner.

The wages of politicians are somewhere in the middle of these samples of management wages, at 68,410. You can view more average salaries for a large range of management positions here.

The health professions 

The average monthly income in 2019 for nurses in Norway is 46,810 kroner. Dentists made an average of 64,900 kroner.

Dieticians and nutritionists averaged 50,650 kroner.

For GPs, the average wage is 70,410 kroner, while for specialist doctors that rises to 85,180 kroner.

Is there a gender pay gap in Norway? 

Unfortunately, yes. A 2017 Statistics Norway report shows the average monthly for women as 87 percent of that of men.

Occupations with the highest wage differentials in the men’s favour include financial managers and electrical mechanics. 

The two most gender balanced occupations were doctors and legal professionals. 

Data from 2019 shows the average monthly income for males as 50,080 kroner compared to 43,850 kroner for women, although the women’s average wage had increased by a higher percentage since the previous year.

While both women’s and men’s wages have increased since 2000, the annual increase for women is slightly higher than for men resulting in the pay gap decreasing by 3 percent since year 2000. 

The average yearly income of different households 

In 2018, the average yearly income (after tax)  for a single individual younger than 45 years was 303,800 kroner. 

Couples without children made a yearly average of 629,900 and couples with children (aged 0- 6 years) averaged 787,700 kroner.

Single parents with children (aged 0-17 years) averaged 421,200 kroner.

Protection of wages for foreign workers

There are a number of laws laws in place protecting foreign and seasonal workers, and their right to a fair wage and the same working conditions as Norwegian citizens. Many of these can be checked via the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet).

While there is no general average minimum wage in Norway, standards have been introduced to certain sectors including hospitality, cleaning and construction.

A foreign or seasonal worker is also entitled to the same working hours, breaks and overtime as their native colleagues. 

What about self-employment? 

In 2018, there were 321,509 self-employed people in Norway. The average annual gross income for a self-employed person was 680,300 kroner, translating to a personal income (wages, disability benefits and public pension) of 351,000 kroner.

If you run your own business, it is your responsibility to register your enterprise, pay tax, submit tax returns and receive tax assessment notice.

Did we leave out any professions you’d like to hear about? Any other topics on which you’d like us to delve into the data? Let us know — we’d be glad to hear your thoughts.

READ ALSO: How does income tax in Norway compare to the rest of the Nordics?

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NORWAY EXPLAINED

Five Norwegian social norms that make complete sense

Whether you've lived in Norway for some time or just decided to move to the country, it's always a good idea to (re)familiarise yourself with the widely accepted social norms- especially the ones that just make sense.

Five Norwegian social norms that make complete sense

As is the case with every other country, Norway has a particular set of social norms that most Norwegians are very familiar with.

Getting a better understanding of these norms and shared values can help international citizens moving to or living in the country make a smoother transition into Norway’s social life.

In this article, we cover some of the prevailing norms – such as making the most out of Norway’s fantastic nature and looking for solutions that benefit the collective – that make complete sense.

Spending time outdoors – regardless of the weather

Norway is well-known for its unique landscapes and untamed nature.

From its deep fjords to its glorious mountains, the country offers its inhabitants innumerable – and accessible – opportunities for hikes, long walks, camping, and enjoying the wilderness.

As the weather in Norway can be pretty fickle, most Norwegians tend to opt for a proactive approach to enjoying nature – they stock up on warm, water-resistant clothing (woollen clothes are a must!) and head into nature at every chance they get (even on rainy and windy days).

In western Norway, especially Bergen, there are two common sayings perfectly reflecting this attitude: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and “If you wait for nice weather, you’ll stay inside all the time.”

Weekends, in particular, are reserved for trips with friends and family to the mountains, forests, or parks – whether it’s camping, picking berries and mushrooms, barbequing or swimming, muster the courage to leave your comfort zone and the cosiness of your home, and join Norwegians in the simple pleasure of roaming the outdoors.

Obeying the rules – even if no one’s watching

Norwegians tend to share a particular type of patriotism that entails following the rules (both formal and informal) based on the shared understanding that adhering to common rules contributes to the functioning of society.

Crossing the street at a red light when there are no cars to be seen? Nope. Not paying in unsupervised venues that enable consumers to freely pick up a hot dog or coffee and pay via card? Not an option.

Norwegians believe that the system is there to protect and serve them, so they generally don’t look for a way to exploit it to their benefit. You’ll commonly hear phrases like, “Why would I try to pay less in taxes? It’s like stealing from myself.”

The entire framework is built on trust – Norwegians have extremely high levels of trust when it comes to social institutions and the political system. As Norway routinely scores at the top of lists when it comes to the happiness of its inhabitants, democratic values, and other indicators of a well-functioning society, consider buying into Norwegians’ shared values even if you’re somewhat sceptical of the model.

It’s not naivety if it works.

Putting the collective before the individual

Norway is a small but very wealthy country, and it has set up a welfare state to make sure that its inhabitants are well-protected from ending up on the fringes of society.

It has numerous systems in place that promote the quality of life among the population based on a widespread social norm of equality.

Individualism is often frowned upon, and the well-being and functioning of society as a whole are given paramount importance.

Hierarchies – especially in the workplace – tend to be more flat compared to other countries. The emphasis is on developing team players, and there is a shared belief that society and the economy can only prosper based on collective action.

So, put your altruistic foot forward, and you might just find that there are countries (and political systems) that take care of their people.

The ideals of self-sufficiency and not imposing

Norwegians place a high value on self-sufficiency and not imposing on others. This norm extends so far that it might come across as “coldness,” as Norwegians prize not disturbing other people highly – especially in public.

Minding your own business is the rule, so don’t expect a casual conversation with strangers on the bus. Foreigners are often amazed at the (pleasant) silence on public transport, the quiet and respectful way in which Norwegians queue up without people cutting the line, or the absence of car-honking in traffic.

All of these phenomena stem from the ingrained respect for others – and concern that one’s behaviour might cause discomfort to others.

Alcohol at parties

Norway has a habit of making anything it considers a vice expensive and, at times, hard to get. Nothing illustrates this approach better than alcohol.

Alcohol is costly in the country, and its sale is highly regulated. If you want to get anything stronger than a light beer, you’ll need to visit Vinmonopolet, the state-run chain of alcohol stores (in Norway, the state has a monopoly on selling drinks above the 4.75% alcohol threshold).

With that in mind, it is no surprise that the social rules surrounding alcohol at parties and get-togethers are somewhat different from what you might be used to.

First of all, people are expected to bring their own drinks to parties. Not only that, Norwegians will often take the leftover alcohol they brought home with them after the evening’s over.

In a country where a small beer in a bar will easily cost you 120 kroner, it makes sense to avoid your hosts going bankrupt trying to secure alcohol for all the guests.

Bring your own drink of choice, don’t impose on the host, and you’ll be off to a great (Norwegian) start to the party!

Pssst! Norwegians shy away from drinking on weekdays. However, they have quite a reputation for becoming party animals on the weekends – don’t be surprised to see office colleagues engage in some hard-core drinking at company events!

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