Finding a job in Norway as an English speaker: What you need to know

If you’re thinking about working in Norway, you may be wondering what it’s like as an English speaker, What kind of jobs might be available? and if you have to learn Norwegian?

Getting a job in Norway as an English speaker is absolutely possible. In fact, there are only a few jobs out of reach. Norwegians are fluent English speakers and there are hundreds of thousands of non-Norwegian speakers living and working in Norway.

But in order to make your employment path as smooth as possible, there are a few things you need to know. Here we’re going to cover some of the important points you should consider when looking for an English-speaking job in Norway.

Can you get a job as an English speaker in Norway?

Yes! There are lots of jobs available for English speakers. Throughout Norway, and in most sectors, it is possible to get a job without speaking Norwegian.

A lot of jobs are never advertised, so it is important to start building a network even before you arrive in the country.

If you work in a specialized or international industry, you should already have contacts you can start with. If not, do some research, find the big names in your industry, and start trying to make contact.

Most Norwegians are fluent English speakers and a lot like to practice their English skills. So not speaking the language isn’t a big hindrance for most jobs. But, because most people speak English fluently, your native English skills don’t really give you an advantage either. You’ll need to impress your potential employer with other skills if you want to land a job.

The easiest place to look for jobs is This is a Norwegian online marketplace with most of the available work. Although the site is in Norwegian, if you search for ‘jobs in English’ or similar, you will find numerous English-language adverts.

Another useful starting point is agencies. There are numerous recruitment agencies in Norway, such as Randstad, Adecco, Manpower, and Kelly Services. Although their sites may be in Norwegian, a little searching (and an email or two) will get you all sorts of opportunities in English.

What types of jobs are available for English speakers?

The types of jobs available are almost unlimited. And you can find skilled and unskilled work in almost every sector.

Norway is a big player in the oil and gas and offshore industry, and this is one of the biggest private-sector employment segments in the country. Specialist workers, engineers, marine crew, even offshore caterers, and cleaning crew are always needed and there is a steady stream of non-Norwegians both on and offshore. But be warned, this is a highly competitive sector, and each job can have hundreds of applicants.

Oslo is Norway’s financial capital as well as the physical and there are lots of English-speaking jobs available for financial workers. Not speaking Norwegian is no hindrance, as finance is an international business and English is the working language. Economists, traders, IT wizards, and anyone good with numbers is welcome.

The Norwegian tourism industries require a great deal of English-speaking workers. Hotels, travel companies, restaurants, bars, and experience provides all require a constant supply of workers, and each year there are thousands of jobs available. Norway attracts tourists from all over the world, so if  

you can speak another language as well as English, you will be even more attractive.

There is quite a large seasonal workforce that comes to Norway each year to help with agriculture. In particular, fruit farmers require help to bring in the harvest and hundreds of foreign workers arrive to pick crops. This is hard work, but unskilled and can be your first introduction to Norway.

Another sector always looking for skilled and unskilled labor is the construction and trades industries. Not speaking Norwegian is quite common for many construction sites and if you have a trade and are willing to work hard, there is steady work in both house building and commercial construction.

Where is it difficult to get a job as an English speaker?

While it is generally not a hindrance to only speak English, there are some jobs that will be harder to get.

Basically, it is common sense that will tell where you where it will be most difficult to find a job in Norway if you don’t speak the language. If they expect you to speak to the young or the old, Norwegian will be more of a focus. So, in nurseries and old people’s homes, some level of Norwegian will be necessary.

For most healthcare workers, it is necessary with at least a basic level of Norwegian. Norway expects care home assistants and auxiliary workers to communicate with patients in Norwegian.

Nurses and doctors (apart from some special cases) would be expected to be fluent. For most healthcare positions, a documented level of Norwegian will be required, with tests taken at an approved location.

For a lot of government positions, Norwegian would be expected, and again with documented tests to prove your level. And this will be the case anywhere an understanding of Norwegian is necessary, such as the law or teaching.

What salary can you expect in Norway?

As a general rule, Norwegian salaries reflect the cost of living in Norway. According to the official statistics, the average salary in 2020 was 48,750kr (approx. 5600 USD) per month. And that is a pretty good average wage even in a country with a cost of living as high as Norway.

But if we break it down a little more, the average wage for the accommodation and food services industry (a very common English-speaking sector) is only 33,340kr (3850 USD).

That is significantly below average. So, it would be wise to do a little research on rental prices for the area you’re looking at (Oslo around 12,000 NOK/month, Bergen/Trondheim/Stavanger 9-10,000 NOK/month) and do a little math to evaluate the standard of living you could expect.

Should you learn Norwegian even if it is not required?

Although it is not necessary to speak Norwegian, we would always recommend trying to learn the language. Your experiences in Norway will be more fulfilling and immersive if you can speak a little Norwegian.

At work, learning the language will give you an advantage and allow you to get to know customers and colleagues better. You will find yourself included in work-life and may even get that promotion faster.

The longer you live in Norway the more you’ll miss out on if you don’t speak the language. Learning Norwegian isn’t as hard as people think and it opens up a rich cultural tapestry. Give it a go!

Start looking for that job today, and you could be moving to Norway tomorrow. Don’t let your language worries get in the way as Norway is a country of fluent English speakers. And it’s always easier to learn a language when you live in the country. Good luck!

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Erik is the creator and editor of Planet Norway. Born in Trondheim and currently living in Oslo, Erik knows the ins and outs of Norwegian History, society, and culture. His idea for starting planet Norway came about when helping his foreign fiance to settle in Norway.