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Which jobs in Norway are left behind when it comes to pay rises?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Which jobs in Norway are left behind when it comes to pay rises?
The wages of teachers, nurses, shop assistants, tradesmen, and those who work in construction have not kept up with the general wage development. Photo by Ryno Marais on Unsplash

While wages in Norway have, generally speaking, notably increased in the past year, some jobs have been lagging behind when it comes to wage growth.


Salaries in Norway increased by 6.4 percent in the third quarter of 2023, according to the most recent figures from national data agency Statistics Norway (SSB).

Knut Håkon Grini, senior adviser at Statistics Norway, told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) that those working in oil extraction and accommodation and service occupations had the best wage development in the year's third quarter.

However, while wages in Norway have increased sharply in the past year, over the past few decades, some professions have started to lag behind others when it comes to the dynamics of pay rises in the country.

A wage growth gap has developed over the past 25 years

According to Statistics Norway, which keeps track of people's monthly wages in Norway, differences in wages increased from 1997 to 2014 because salary developments were greater in the best-paid jobs compared to the others.

The latest figures from Statistics Norway, which go up to August 2023, show that the trend is continuing.

"There has been a slight increase in differences, but it is not the distance between the low-paid and the high-paid that is increasing, but rather the distance between those in the middle and the high-paid," Grini said.


The jobs that are being left behind in terms of wage growth

The wages of teachers, nurses, shop assistants, tradesmen (such as carpenters), and those who work in construction have not kept up with the general wage development.

"If we look at people in the sales and service profession, we see that their salary increase is in line with, and slightly above, the total increase. They have kept pace with wage growth in general," Grini said.

The low-wage earners in Norway have, thus, kept up better with the wage development of the high-wage earners.


Increasing wages – and prices

Prices in Norway rose by 3.3 percent between October 2022 and October 2023. Compared to last year, this is 1.5 percentage points lower than the twelve-month growth in August.

Although price growth fell slightly last year, prices have increased in recent years. In July, food prices had increased by 13.7 per cent since July last year.

In April this year, the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet) and Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) celebrated what they called a "historically good wage settlement."

"There has been a long period of rising prices, but now the wage level has also improved a little," Grini said.

Previous figures showed that real term wages in Norway had stagnated since 2015. 


Wages in the third quarter of 2023

The wages in the public sector increased strongly compared to the private sector. The private sector has often led wage growth in Norway, but that wasn't the case in the last quarter.

"The municipalities are making great strides because of the special situation for the teachers. The teachers had the longest teachers' strike of all time in 2022 before it was called off," Grini said.

In 2022, the top managers increased their salary more than the employees, with a reported a salary increase of 6.9 percent. At the same time, regular employees had a pay rise of 4.6 percent.

"Managers are generally a bit behind the overall wage growth, but the top managers have slightly higher wage growth than the other managers," Grini said.

Managing directors have had a salary increase of 5.5 percent in the third quarter of this year.


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