Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Jobs in Norway: To Seek or not to Seek

Update: I recently logged in to my LinkedIn account and tried a search there for jobs in Norway. I found that it's actually a rather good place to look for the latest job openings and I think people are more inclined to open up there as it is a professional social network. Try registering yourself in and start joining groups relevant to your industry. You may also search for professionals in your field and ask to add them to your network. Perhaps you may even ask humbly for advice and networking tips within your industry. Good luck!

Recently I've received queries about the things people need to settle down in Norway and find jobs. I understand where they are coming from, because when I first tried looking for websites that give more information about the first steps to take, I get a lot of complicated information from various government agencies (mostly in Norwegian).

I know, I know, Norwegians don't make it easy for the foreigners do they?

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert here, as I'm still learning. However this is an attempt to organise all the information I know so far.

Common questions expats/jobseekers from overseas ask:

What are the most common jobs available in Norway?

This is according to my job search experience, not a formal survey. However taking a snapshot of jobs available Wed 4.11pm, 31.03.2010 on, here are the results:

Areas (Område)

Most job prospects found in: 

1. Oslo (2367), capital of Norway
2. Rogaland (1427), centre of Norwegian oil industry
3. Hordaland (1214), where Bergen is situated

*NB: Legend for colours:
Pink - Hottest job-spot
Orange - Boiling hot job-spot
Yellow - Global-warming hot job-spot
Green - Lukewarm job-spot

Categories (Kategori)

Hottest job categories:
1. Sales / Marketing (1136)
2. Engineer positions (1110)
3. Oil / Gas / Off- and on-shore / Maritime (1058) - I made a small mistake with the colours, but not much difference between second and third place.
4. IT / Telecommunications / Internet (920)

*Interesting nuggets about Norway:
2. Norway's greatest resource is the oil and gas industry
3. Norwegians believe in equality for both sexes.
4. It's common belief that Norwegians are more "wild" and rustic than other Scandinavian countries. 
5. Norwegians treasure humility and like to downplay boasting, even if they are millionaires.
6. Most Norwegians love sports and the outdoors. They practically grew up on skis too.

Sector (Sektor)

Largest job sector:
1. Private (6678)
2. Public / Offentlig (1213)

Q: So do I need to speak Norwegian in order to work in Norway?

Yes, it is quite essential. I haven't been here for long, but from my job application experience, even though most locals know English, employers expect you to have a fluent grasp of Norwegian unless it's a MNC (multi-national corporation).
Norwegian for me, an English speaker, is harder to pronounce than to learn. Perhaps from the job examples you can tell that some words are pretty similar to English, but some not.

However although words look similar, the Norwegians are more precise and particular about pronouncing each syllable, except maybe for the "g"s at the end of some words like "offentlig". Vocabulary can be built quite rapidly, grammer is pretty similar to English (more like Shakespearean English actually) and they use all the same Roman letters with three additional ones - å, æ and ø.

Q: Has it been easy for you to find a job then?
If you have an engineering, advertising or marketing background, it would be easier for you than me to find jobs here. I am looking for jobs in the TV industry because of my background and it is really hard so far. I'm still optimistic though that things will work out.

Q: Describe your daily life in Norway
Well, other than drawing when inspiration hits, I scour through job sites everyday for something new. Buy groceries, keep the house neat, that kind of thing.

A pull factor for English-speaking expats to come to Norway is probably that there isn't much of a problem to buy groceries, arrange rent etc, because most locals speak English. In fact, I discovered that there are quite a lot of British who have settled here and after ten years, speak perfect Norwegian. So there's hope yet.

Q: Job sites in Norway? (click on "English" on top right corner) (in Norwegian :( ) (in Norwegian) (Norwegian) (Norwegian) (for tv jobs in NRK) (The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration; in Norwegian, English and other languages) (English) (Norwegian)

Useful websites to know: (register and look for Norwegian expats to give you more advice) (learn Norwegian there, and read more about the culture and lifestyle) (translate all the websites you don't understand to English :)

In my next post, I'm going to give more information on permits and stuff like that. Such is too long to include here...

:) Pixy

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