"Harnessing the best local knowledge to deliver global career transition solutions"

The Labor Market in Norway

The labor market in Norway is characterized by a high employment level: eight out of ten men and seven out of ten women are employed. In recent years, Norway has had a low unemployment rate. However, over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the unemployment rate year by year. At the beginning of 2016, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. The gross unemployment rate over the last short-term period has increased mainly within engineering, IT, construction and the industrial market.

With the current situation, with a severe drop in oil investments, weak exchange rates and low interest rates, Norway is marked by an inequality in the labor market in different parts of the country. Western and southern parts of the country have experienced the largest increase in the gross unemployment rate, while the central parts as well as some of the mid- and northern parts have experienced a decrease in the gross unemployment rate the past few months.

Prognoses show that an additional 12,000 jobs will be lost in the oil and gas sector in the coming period up until 2018. In total, 50,000 jobs will be made obsolete in this sector in the period from 2014-2018.

Overall, the job market in Norway is tougher and job seekers are facing increased competition. Many job seekers will need to look at alternate career goals, and many will need to update personal competencies and skills. Many will have to reenter the workforce with a lower expectation with regards to salary and responsibility.

Outplacement Overview in Norway

Outplacement support is an established service offering in Norway and is increasingly recognized as a “best practice” when companies are facing transition and redundancies. Managers are recognizing the importance of treating their employees with respect and dignity in transitional phases, both due to reducing the risk of damaging the company’s brand, as well as recognizing the importance of creating a process that maintains employee satisfaction and stimulates productivity and motivation amongst employees. Our market research indicates that managers, when facing a downsizing process, identify three main pain points: the risk of expensive and time-consuming legal consequences, the risk of losing momentum for the business, and the risk of damaging the company brand. In addition, the concept of career guidance is gaining recognition as an effective means to creating new opportunities for their employees facing redundancy.

The type of outplacement services offered varies and is often marked by the company’s willingness to support their employees financially. It also varies with the employees’ role, responsibility, level and salary. In certain cases, the company will recompense a part of the outplacement package and expect the employee to cover the remaining cost.

There are no legal requirements with regards to providing outplacement services. However, there are a number of legal requirements that the organization is obligated to follow when facing downsizing processes. Additionally, when an organization is facing structural changes that may lead to redundancies, there are several processes that the company legally has to comply with.

Group activities are less common than individual processes in Norway. The length of the processes varies from 3-6 months, and in some cases 12 months for senior executives. The length of the program is often based on level, position and seniority.

Kristin Wahl and Barbro Mosseng, Karrierehuset/Sonans karriere and Career Star Group