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WORKING IN NORWAY

Five essential things to know for anyone working in Norway

We've picked out some useful information and advice for those working in Norway.

A man and woman are in a meeting.
Five things to know about working in Norway. Illustration Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Freelance workers – remember the admin!

If you are considering freelance work, it is essential to remember the administration side of your business. Managing your accounts and taxes can be overwhelming. Luckily, these modern times we are living in have given us some options.

Managing your accounts with an accounting programme is cheaper than hiring an accountant and a great way to keep a 24/7 overview of your business. Even if you are frightened by addition, the newest programmes have a reputation of being easy to learn and user friendly. 

Here is a list of the top accounting programmes recommended for small businesses in Norway. 

There is peace of mind in letting a professional handle your accounts, but you will have to pay for it. The average price for an accountant in Norway is around 500 kroner per hour plus VAT (value-added tax). 

If you choose to hire an accountant to manage your firm’s books, here is a list of what the average accounting services can cost you. 

 READ MORE: What you need to know about setting up as a freelancer in Norway

Tips from the experts for English teachers in Norway

“Avoid thinking of Norway as a country where you can use TEFL as a temporary way to earn and travel – there is not really a market for that here (as there is in many other parts of the world, South East Asia, for example)” says Rose. Adding, “You absolutely can succeed as an ESL teacher, but the ones who do are usually those with good qualifications and experience from before and who really want to make a career out of it.”

Rose also recommends looking for work with Folkeuniversitet, Berlitz, Lingu, universities, and schools.

“Do it!” says Buestad. “It is fun, and the students enjoy the subject for the most part. If you can work in Videregående, or “high school”, the subject is much bigger there, so you have more hours a week with your students.” 

Buestad also wants job seekers to know that it is normal to start with a substitute position. “When you first get a job, it’s most often substitute work, and then you go from there. You start with a small position, maybe 30-50 percent, and then it adds on when the school needs you more,” she says. 

“If you have worked for three years in a substitute position with the same employer, they have to give you a permanent position with that employer, and many teachers get their teaching job this way.”

READ MORE: How easy is it to be an English teacher in Norway?

What is the average wage in different sectors in Norway?

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.

READ MORE: What wages can you expect when working in Norway

Where are winter jobs in Norway located?

Winter sports jobs can be found almost all over Norway. Ski resorts are the biggest draws for both workers and tourists.

Trysil, Hemsedal, Geilo, Hafjell, Voss and Hovden are Norway’s most popular resorts for both Norwegians and tourists.

A lot of the resorts in Norway are near smaller towns and villages. For example, Hemsedal, home to Norway’s second-largest resort, only has a year-round population of around 2,000.

So don’t expect the hustle and bustle of a resort city like Innsbruck in Austria, which has a permanent population of 130,000 people.

This means a lot of the towns have a smaller, cosier feel, especially during the week. In addition to this, none of the bigger resorts can be found anywhere near airports or major cities, meaning long journeys may be required to get to the resort you are planning to work at.

If you want to keep up with the goings on in Norway’s job market then check out our new weekly job roundup here. 

READ MORE: How to find a winter sports job in Norway?

Two of the perks about working in Norway

Working in Norway will give you the security of excellent health insurance. If you are legally working or living in Norway, then you have automatically been enrolled in the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme.

Necessary health expenses that include services for primary and mental health, as well as hospital care and select prescription drugs, are covered from the first month of employment.

and then there’s parental leave….

Norway’s parental leave is both flexible and generous. If both the mother and the father have been in the workforce for at least 6 out of the 10 months leading up to the birth of their child, then they are both entitled to paid parental leave.

Parental leave provisions allow for the mother to choose between 15 weeks’ parental leave with 100 percent of their original wages or 19 weeks with 80 percent of their original wages.

The father is entitled to the same and can start his paternity leave after the newborn is 7 weeks old. In addition, there is a joint parental leave time that can be divided up between both mother and father under certain guidelines. 

READ MORE: What are the perks of working in Norway?

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WORKING IN NORWAY

Why you should learn Norwegian even if you don’t need it for work

It's certainly possible to get a job in Norway without knowing the local language, but not making an effort with Norwegian could be holding you back at work and in your social life. 

Why you should learn Norwegian even if you don't need it for work

There are plenty of English-speaking roles in Norway, making it possible to get a job without learning the local language. 

“In Norway, many companies will accept English speaking candidates without any Norwegian skills. Examples are high-tech, and research companies, academia, hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and startups,” Karin Ellis, author and founder of Ellis Culture, which specialises in explaining the social norms and unwritten rules of the job market in Norway, told The Local. 

Now maybe is a better time than any to secure a job without language skills in Norway. Employers are struggling to attract qualified candidates and post job adverts in English to reach a bigger audience. 

READ MORE: Record job vacancies in Norway

However, not getting to grips with the local lingo can hold back foreigners in the long run, even if they secure a job that doesn’t require any Norwegian language skills. 

“It is very important that immigrant workers make an effort to learn Norwegian, even when they work for an English-speaking company. Until you speak the native language, you will never be fully accepted in the workplace or society,” Ellis said

The working life expert added that language-related conflicts could be common in workplaces, and even workers in highly-skilled companies may be reluctant to speak English. Additionally, not making an effort with the language, in the long run, could make it harder for you to gel with your coworkers. 

“Not making an effort to learn the language could negatively impact your relationships with your coworkers because they may reduce their contact with you. Even if they speak English with you in the workplace, it is quite likely that they will prefer to socialise with Norwegian speakers,” Ellis explained.  

Even if you only intend on working in Norway for a short while, it may be worth trying to get to grips with the language in case you have a change of heart and decide to stay in the country. 

“Immigrant workers who start on a temporary contract in an English-speaking workplace often stay in Norway much longer than originally planned. Then, several years later, when they decide to change jobs, they regret not learning Norwegian from the start. At that point, no employer will be impressed by the fact that they have not bothered to learn Norwegian,” Ellis said. 

On the flip side, learning Norwegian could help give your career in the country a welcome leg-up. 

“Learning Norwegian could boost your career because you will be able to communicate and collaborate with your colleagues on a deeper level and avoid misunderstandings. When employers select candidates, they emphasise people skills and the ability to collaborate,” the working life expert said. 

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

Even just being able to engage in small talk in the native language could help your career prospects and put you in contention for promotions, according to Ellis. This is because chit-chat can help highlight your ability to communicate and work well with others. 

“To be a good leader in Norway, you need to contribute to a good working environment by taking an interest in your colleagues, supporting and sharing information with them. All of this is easier if you speak the language, as you are then showing that you have taken the step to become part of the Norwegian community and understand the culture,” Ellis said. 

 Taking the time to sharpen your language skills can also help you outside of work and help you make more friends. 

“Learning Norwegian will make it easier for you to get Norwegian friends simply by speaking with them in their language and understanding their jokes. You will then start to share experiences, news and perspectives with Norwegians. This will give you more common topics and interests for conversation and discussion, whether it is during the lunch break at work or at a private party,” Ellis said. 

What do The Local’s readers think? 

In a previous survey, The Local’s readers were asked whether they thought that foreign residents could speak Norwegian was important. 

The majority, 60 percent, said they thought it was, while 40 percent said it wasn’t. 

“I am a native English speaker working in Norway for a large international company. However, all internal meetings and documentation are in Norwegian. This demands that even international companies require Norwegian knowledge,” one reader, Susan, told our survey. 

Susan wasn’t alone in sharing her thoughts that learning the language was crucial. 

“Well, in many industries these days, it doesn’t matter much anymore as the working language is English. However, socially it is better to learn and is also very much appreciated by the Norwegians,” Arjen told the survey. 

READ ALSO: Tips for finding an English-speaking job in Norway

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