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WORKING IN NORWAY

NEW FIGURES: What do Norway’s most in-demand professions pay?

Norway needs tens of thousands of workers, with some professions in high demand. So how much do these jobs pay? 

Pictured are office workers.
Why movers to Switzerland always ask about wages. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash)

Employers in Norway are still faced with a shortage of workers across a number of sectors, the latest survey carried out by the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) shows. 

In total, Norway lacks around 53,000 workers, according to a survey of firms in Norway. One in four businesses told NAV that they were experiencing recruitment problems. 

READ ALSO: Which professions are most in need in 2023?

NAV pointed to a number of occupations which were particularly in demand. Some of these, such as teachers and healthcare workers, have long suffered staffing shortages. Meanwhile, NAV’s latest figures also showed growing demand for other lines of work, such as cooks. 

The jobs range from ones which require excellent knowledge of the Norwegian language and a degree or qualifications obtained in Norway to careers in which you don’t need a university education or fluency in Norwegian. 

The biggest labour shortfall was for health and care services, with a shortage of around 13,000 workers. In addition, some roles in the healthcare sector are hard to secure for foreign nationals as they typically require very high Norwegian proficiency and to have your qualifications approved before you are cleared to work in Norway. 

Figures from the national data agency Statistics Norway show that nurses in Norway made an average monthly salary of 51,020 kroner a month in 2022. Specialist Nurses made around 10 per cent more, taking home 56,940 kroner per month. 

Primary school teachers, who have also been featured in previous NAV reports on labour shortfalls, take home an average of 47,350 kroner each month. 

NAV’s figures also found that there is a shortage of cooks in Norway. Generally, working as a cook in Norway will require either a previous work history in kitchens or qualifications or a combination. 

Many kitchens may use English as the primary working language due to the number of foreigners working in the Norwegian hospitality sector. Figures show that cooks make an average of 37,990 kroner per month. However, this doesn’t include tips, which are commonly shared among all restaurant staff in Norway but are taxed. 

 Those with a craft are also in demand in Norway. Tradesmen in Norway, on average, earned a wage of 43,930 kroner each month. However, the salary available to craftsmen varied depending on their job. Electricians were the highest-earning craftsmen, making around 47,060 kroner on average. Painters were the lowest-paid craftsmen, earning around 41,000 kroner per month. 

Typically to work as a tradesman in Norway, you will need to have obtained qualifications comparable to the Norwegian equivalent. Trades involved in construction usually require a strong grasp of English; some jobs will also require Norwegian. 

Shop and sales workers were another industry in demand, according to NAV. Sales professionals in Norway made an average of 39,140 kroner per month in 2022. Those who worked in stores and ticket booths made a similar amount of money per month, while those who worked in markets made an average of 54,450 kroner per month. As the job involves dealing with the public, conversational Norwegian is typically required. 

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WORKING IN NORWAY

How rogue firms in Norway steal salaries, and what you can do

Some companies in Norway try to take advantage of foreign workers by skimming their wages or withholding benefits. Here's how wage theft works in Norway, how to spot it and what you can do. 

How rogue firms in Norway steal salaries, and what you can do

Norway is known worldwide for being a great place to work, with a particular focus on wages and work-life balance. 

However, there is a dark side to working in Norway, and there are plenty of ways in which workers, particularly those from overseas, can be taken advantage of. 

READ MORE: How foreign workers can be exploited in the Norwegian labour market

Despite several laws and countless employee organisations trying to keep things in check, there are still a few rogue firms out there finding ways to flout the rules. 

Wage theft is one-way workers in Norway can be taken advantage of. The concept is quite straightforward: wage theft is when an employer doesn’t fulfil its obligation to pay the employee salary, overtime, holiday pay or other remuneration they are entitled to. 

Typically, wage theft can come in three forms. The first is the most obvious because companies typically withhold wages. The other two tactics include paying the employee less than they are entitled to, and the third is paying the full salary and then demanding part of that wage to be repaid on illegal grounds. 

There are some legal grounds for withholding wages, such as if the work was not carried out. 

Typically, skimming wages and not paying things like overtime and holidays are the most common forms of wage theft. Project-oriented work, where some period of crunch time to meet a deadline is expected, is one area where the failure to pay overtime may occur. 

READ ALSO: What are the rules for overtime in Norway

How to spot wage theft 

For starters, employers cannot offer cash-in-hand work. This has been done to prevent wage theft. All salaries need to be paid via bank transfer to ensure there is a paper trail in the event of wrongdoing. 

Secondly, you must track your wages and ensure you receive a pay slip for every salary payment. You will then need to ensure that your wages line up with the salary you agreed on and the hours you are working. 

Thirdly, familiarise yourself with Norwegian labour laws. It may seem tedious, but it will help you with the harder-to-spot forms of wage theft regarding overtime and holiday pay. 

This is because when you raise issues, a rogue company may provide you with false information as to why you’ve not been paid, why your salary is lower than expected, or why you didn’t receive overtime or holiday pay. 

If you aren’t covered by a union – and potentially even more exposed to potential wage theft – you will need to check if a minimum wage applies to your industry. 

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is a great resource to use. It has an overview (in English) of a number of key working laws covering everything from working hours to holidays and pay. 

What you can do if you think you are the victim of wage theft

The first thing you should do is query the employer. It may be a genuine mistake on their part, and they may remunerate you. 

Although double-check that they are not providing you with false information if they refuse to pay you what you think you are owed. 

Then you should tip off the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority so it can inspect the situation further. 

When it comes to getting your money back, things may be more complicated. One option recommended by legal professionals is petitioning the employer for bankruptcy. 

After doing this, you can apply to NAV to have your wages and expenses covered. 

Once you’ve petitioned for bankruptcy, you can file a payment claim to recover the money. The letter should be sent and tracked. If the payment claim goes unpaid, then the debt collection process begins. 

This means that the matter can end up in court. 

One issue with this is a lawyer may be required to offer guidance, which can be expensive. 

Secondly, some companies move their assets and then close up shop to try and get around paying the claimant. 

Wage theft is a crime, so you should also contact the police to ensure the person responsible is punished. 

Is enough being done to stop wage theft? 

A wage theft law came into effect in 2022. However, just one employer has been convicted since the law’s introduction, and around 90 percent of cases are dropped. Depending on the severity, wage theft is punishable by up to two or six years in prison.

Criticism of the current law revolves around the victim being responsible for recovering the stolen wages. Many argue for the law to be changed so that the state is the one who collects the stolen salary on the employee’s behalf. 

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