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Working in Norway: Do foreigners get paid less than Norwegians?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Working in Norway: Do foreigners get paid less than Norwegians?
Figures show that immigrants in Norway make less money than their Norwegian colleagues. Pictured are crowds in central Oslo Photo by Svein Sund on Unsplash

Norwegians typically earn higher average and median wages than their foreign counterparts, with some professional fields having large discrepancies.


One of the biggest factors drawing people to Norway is the lure of high wages, good working conditions, and an excellent work-life balance.

Last year, more than 16,790 nationals from the EEA registered moving to Norway for work reasons, while 10,698 non-EEA nationals applied for work permits.

The average monthly wage in Norway is 53,150 kroner (4,750 euros, 4090 pounds and 5,200 dollars). The very highest earners pull up average wages. The median income is closer to 45,000 kroner per month.

As many will be aware, though, there are always discrepancies in what people make based on factors such as their gender or where they come from.

For example, while Norway is considered a world leader in gender equality, a gender pay gap still exists. Norway has a gender parity of 84.5 percent.

This means that men earn 15.5 percent more than women do in Norway. While this figure will disappoint many, only Iceland (90.8 percent) and Finland (86 percent) have a higher gender parity than Norway.

READ ALSO: Is there a gender wage gap in Norway?

Unfortunately for the tens of thousands of immigrants who move to Norway for work, they can typically expect to earn less than their local counterparts.

The average wage of an immigrant in Norway was 47,390 kroner per month in 2022 compared to 54,850 kroner for other residents, figures from national data agency Statistics Norway show. In more basic terms, it means that on average, immigrants can expect to make 14 percent less than other residents.


One of the largest discrepancies in earnings is for managers. Norwegians with managerial positions make, on average, 79,000 kroner per month. Comparatively, immigrants with management roles make 70,000 kroner per month.

However, there are some instances where immigrants earn a slightly higher monthly wage. Immigrants classed as professionals in Norway take home 61,790 kroner, while other residents make 59,640 kroner.

Out of the nine occupational groups listed by Statistics Norway, only immigrants classed as professionals made more than Norwegians.

The other occupational groups included in the figures are technicians and associate professionals and armed forces, clerical support workers, service and sales workers, skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers, craft and related trades workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers and elementary occupations.


Across these various occupations, immigrants could expect to earn between five and 10 percent less on average.

When it comes to the median, immigrants in Norway take home 42,060 kroner compared to 49,400 for other residents. In median terms, the pay gap between foreigners and Norwegians is essentially the same as the average wage.

A gender wage gap exists between both foreign-born men and women and Norwegian men and immigrant women.

Men and women from immigrant backgrounds had a higher wage parity (91 percent) than all men and women combined (84.5 percent). Although, the gender wage gap between Norwegian men and foreign women was higher, with a parity gap of 16.6 percent.

The figures from Statistics Norway also show that Norwegian women earn 11 percent more than foreign women. Men from other countries make 17 percent less than men from Norway.


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