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Norway's labour shortage: Which professions are most in need in 2023?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Norway's labour shortage: Which professions are most in need in 2023?
According to a new survey, approximately one in four businesses in Norway reported facing difficulties with recruitment, with 26 percent indicating that they had encountered challenges in acquiring labour within the last three months. Photo by Marianna Krzakiewicz on Unsplash

While the shortage of workers in Norway has decreased from 2022 to 2023, the country's economy still needs tens of thousands of workers – especially in some professions.


Businesses in Norway are still faced with a shortage of workers. According to the latest survey among companies carried out by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), some 53,000 workers are needed.

The shortage is most significant in health and care services, but there are also far too few craft and industrial workers.

"Although the estimated shortage of qualified labour is significantly lower this year, it is still very high. With the exception of 2022 and 2019, we have to go back to 2008 to find a higher level," NAV chief Hans Christian Holte said on Monday.

The shortage of workers has decreased throughout the country compared to last year, with the exception of Troms og Finnmark.

Measured in absolute numbers, the labour shortage is greatest in Oslo, followed by Øst-Viken.

One in four businesses said they experience recruitment problems - 26 percent responded that they had had problems getting labour in the last three months.

Furthermore, many companies replied that they could not hire anyone, while others ended up hiring workers with lower or different formal skills than they were looking for.

In-demand professions in 2023

According to the NAV survey, the occupational groups with the most significant labour shortage include:

  • Nurses, health professionals, social workers, and other health workers
  • Store and sales staff
  • Cooks
  • Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians
  • Primary school teachers

The greatest labour shortage is present within health and care services, where employers report a shortage of around 13,000 workers.

While the shortage of labour in the construction industry has fallen sharply, from 13,700 people last year to 7,600 people in 2023, it is still the industry with the second largest labour shortage in Norway, the NAV points out.


Lower optimism when it comes to new hires

On the other hand, the optimism related to new hires and expansion among Norwegian companies in the year ahead is also weaker than last year.

This year, the net share of businesses that expect growth in employment in the coming year is 13 percent - a decrease from 22 percent last year and the lowest level since 2016.

Some 25 percent of Norwegian businesses expect to increase staffing in the coming year, while 11 percent expect a reduction.

At the same time, 64 percent think the staffing situation will remain the same.

The decline in expected new hires is greatest in accommodation, construction, and information and communication services.


Demand for qualified labour to increase

According to the NAV's new global analysis, the need for qualified labour will continue to increase in the coming years.

The analysis also highlights global uncertainty and the risk of increased income differences.

"Considering the great need for skilled workers, greater provision must be made for workers to receive the training they need in the workplace. The education sector, the NAV, and employers must work together to find good solutions," Holte said.

The NAV business survey was conducted from January 30th to March 17th among a representative sample of all the country's public and private enterprises.

Almost 11,000 businesses took part in this year's survey.


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