For members


Should workers in Norway expect another real wage decrease this year? 

One of Norway's leading unions has said that it will push to prevent a real wage decrease in collective bargaining negotiations. But how likely is this to happen, and will workers be better off this year than last year? 

Pictured is a person opening a wallet.
One of Norway's leading unions has said that it will push for a real wage increase. Pictured is a person opening a wallet. Photo by Alicia Christin Gerald on Unsplash

Government figures released earlier this week show that wages rose by around 4.1 percent last year. However, inflation in Norway outgrew wages, with the consumer price index in Norway rising by 5.8 percent between the end of 2021 and the end of 2022.  

Overall, this means that workers in Norway saw their wages fall in real terms last year. The government’s figures say that real wages, after taxes were accounted for, decreased by one percent last year.

This year, the government expects inflation to be around 4.8 percent. There is uncertainty surrounding this forecast due to fluctuating prices, the war in Ukraine and how the krone performs. The estimate will be updated in mid-March. 

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), one of the largest union groups in the country, has said that it will push for a real wage increase and more purchasing power for its members in collective bargaining talks, business news publication E24 reports. 

Using the government’s forecasts would equate to a wage rise of almost five percent or more. LO will meet with the employer organisation, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), in a month for provisional talks over collective bargaining agreements. 

It will also push for public sector workers and other employees who have seen lower wage development in recent years to see the biggest increases. 

“They have been lagging behind others for the past three years. Therefore, I think they should get more than the front subject this year,” head of LO Peggy Hessen Følsvik told public broadcaster NRK

Still, the NHO has warned that using inflation as the basis for wage negotiations could be considered short-sighted as several companies under its umbrella expect weaker results, lower investment compared to the previous year, and increased job cuts. 

READ MORE: What is a Norwegian collective bargaining agreement?

“The future prospects are perceived as bad for many. The frontline model assumes that it is the companies’ ability to pay that should be the basis for the wage settlement – not the price increase,” Nina Melsom, director for working life and tariff agreements in the NHO, told NRK. 

Meanwhile, Norsk Industri, the largest group within the NHO, has told the Norwegian newspaper VG that the absolute limit it will be able to offer workers in 2023 would be a salary increase of up to 4.5 percent. Should the government forecasts be accurate, this would equate to a real wage decrease increase in 2023. 

Therefore, for a real wage rise to be achieved, it would require tough negotiations. Should negotiations fail to lead to an agreement, the unions can call strikes and industrial action to try and secure more favourable terms. 

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For members


EXPLAINED: How to boost your career chances in Norway

High wages and an excellent work-life balance attract many to Norway for a job. Once you've settled into your new role, you'll want to keep your career moving forwards.

EXPLAINED: How to boost your career chances in Norway

Upgrade your language skills

Plenty of jobs and careers can be done in Norway without strong Norwegian language skills.

However, to advance your career, including with firms where the working language is English, you will want to invest in learning the language.

Generally, the B1 and B2 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference should be enough to help you navigate working life in Norway. However, taking things to the next level and moving up to the C level could boost your job prospects. A C-level certificate helps demonstrate your Norwegian language proficiency and that you have invested in Norwegian.

The better your language skills, the more options you will have open to you. Not just this, conversing with Norwegian colleagues in their native language will also help you gel with your team more, which will prove beneficial if you wish to progress your career within one company.

Get to grips with Norwegian working culture

Like most other countries, Norway has a hierarchical structure in workplaces. However, great emphasis is placed on the belief that all employees can express their opinion on the best way to tackle the task at hand. Transparency and honesty are valued.

Workers in Norway are also expected to be able to take the initiative and work independently when required. This means many should be confident in making their voice heard constructively and getting to work rather than waiting for direct instructions or orders.

Due to the more laidback and informal office culture, workers are expected to, to varying degrees, socialise outside of work, either in the form of after-work drinks or team-building activities.

While every office or department has its own politics, coworkers should be seen much more as collaborators than competitors.

Building a rapport with your colleagues will ultimately play into your hands if you wish to progress your career. Furthermore, while the dress code is more informal than in other places, punctuality is seen as a form of respect – so you mustn’t take a relaxed attitude to turning up for meetings on time.

Make sure your CV is suitable for Norwegian recruiters

Ensuring your CV is adapted for Norwegian recruiters will also help you make that leg-up.

Consider a design with not too much information squeezed in. Key qualifications are a management summary of your skills, experience, qualifications and soft (or interpersonal) skills. Some information, such as hobbies and interests, helps the recruiter relate to the person behind the CV.

One thing to consider is that unless applying for a job in a competitive environment, you should make achievements and accomplishments less about yourself and more about the team you were a part of.

Additionally, when it comes to a CV, you should only submit one in Norwegian if you are confident and comfortable enough writing one in Norwegian. If you have someone translate your English CV into Norwegian but aren’t comfortable with the language, employers may feel you are trying to deceive them.

READ ALSO: The dos and don’ts of writing a killer CV to impress Norwegian recruiters


Having a robust professional network can bolster your career opportunities. LinkedIn is a very big deal in Norway, so it’s worth ensuring your profile is fully up to date and you create or share the odd post to highlight to recruiters doing some background that you are invested in your career and networking.

There are also typically a decent amount of industry or networking events held in person. Staying on your colleague’s good side will also pay off when it comes to networking. Personal recommendations from recruiters can go a long way. Therefore an ex-work friend putting in a word with your prospective employer because you left them with a good impression can help you get a boost in your career.

Getting your qualifications officially recognised in Norway

There are around 160 or so regulated professions in Norway, which means you will need some qualifications, training or education to qualify for the role.
If you have obtained qualifications abroad, you must have these officially verified and recognised by the relevant Norwegian authority to perform certain roles.

There are multiple agencies responsible for checking and verifying whether qualifications and training obtained outside of Norway are of the required standard.

For example, healthcare workers must assess their written and verbal Norwegian language proficiency and may be sent on additional courses to learn about the country’s health system. Applicants must cover the cost of additional language training.

Getting your qualifications verified confirms to Norwegian employers that your training equates to the corresponding Norwegian qualification.