Before penning down your signature on the letter of offer accepting that job in Norway, it’s important to ask the right questions. For example, what would be an ideal salary range for you? Can the salary offer sustain your family if you have one? If you come from the US, you should know that life in Norway is more expensive, and taxes make it worse.
A monthly income starting from 45,000 NOK is considered a good salary in Norway. Annually, this translates to over 500,000 NOK. Anyone earning 35,000 NOK after-tax and above is considered above average.
Norway has remained one of the most attractive countries in Scandinavia for expatriates and students. It provides the highest quality of life in the region. Most immigrants come here in search of better employment opportunities that Norway promises. This article highlights what to expect regarding salaries and the cost of life that awaits you in Norway.
What salary is considered good in Norway?
In Norway, a monthly salary of above 45,000 NOK or 35,000 NOK (3,632 USD) post-tax is considered a reasonable amount. This will afford you rent in a less noisy neighborhood and meals out a few times in the week.
If you consider taking up a job in Norway, the salaries are worth it, and the good life will have you hooked. Despite the high taxation rate, the high salaries will sustain and offer you a relatively comfortable lifestyle.
If you can hunt down those tax incentives, it will make a big difference on your account, given that taxes are pretty high in Norway. Housing is also quite expensive, especially if you opt to stay in Oslo.
A 35,000 NOK salary will accord a single person a good life. A family must find ways to supplement the income and raise it to around 50,000 NOK monthly if they are to enjoy a decent life as a couple.
For a family of four to enjoy and live comfortably in Norway, they need a combined annual salary of not less than 600,000 NOK. That would mean having to cook at home and minimizing the out-of-town getaways. The amount is only enough to get by; life is expensive in Norway.
Example of a good salary in Norway
Assuming you have landed a good job in Norway, offering to pay you 46,000 NOK or 35,000 NOK (3,632 USD) per month after tax. It’s about 550,000 NOK in annual gross salary. What would your life look like? What would you be able to afford?
In Oslo, you can have a comfortable lifestyle as a single, spending the following:
|Item||Cost per month|
|Rent for a one-bedroom apartment||11,200 NOK|
|Total expenses||21,670 NOK (2,253 USD)|
Here are some examples of common expenses in Norway in 2022 (NOK):
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 190
- McMeal at McDonald’s: 120
- Beer: 90
- Cappuccino: 42
- Chicken fillets: 133
- Apples: 28
- Monthly transportation pass: 750
- Gym: 400
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: 10,500
- Average salary after tax: 32,220
Oslo is the most expensive city in Norway; hence, you can afford a better quality of life in other places.
With that said, education in public schools is almost free, from the lower levels to higher education, with the government handling a significant percentage of the fee amount. Higher education students are only expected to pay a minimal 600 NOK to cater to student welfare.
Healthcare is free after an annual deductible of 2,200 NOK is reached.
The young ones in Norway attend kindergarten, commonly referred to as “Barnehage”, and the parents part with a minimal amount capped at 3,000 NOK.
From our analysis, a single person receiving 45,000 NOK – 50,000 NOK per month can comfortably manage to save and travel at least once per year.
Taxes in Norway
Taxes in Norway are a pain in the neck as they are quite high compared to other places, but not as high as you might think.
Contrary to popular belief, income taxes are low in Norway compared to some countries in western Europe. The take-home salary for someone making 100,000 USD would be 69,000 USD.
The dual taxable income system is applicable in Norway. Employees are taxed at a 22% rate on their income tax and another flat-rate amount on capital gains and dividend income. In addition, higher earners pay the amount according to their bracket tax:
|Income between NOK 0 – 190,349||No additional tax|
|Income between NOK 190,350 – 267,899||1,7%|
|Income between NOK 267,900 – 643,799||4,0%|
|Income between NOK 643,800 – 969,199||13,4%|
|Income between NOK 969 200 – 1 999 999||16,4%|
|Income over NOK 2,000,000||17,4%|
The taxes pay for excellent welfare benefits, such as free healthcare (partially) and free education.
Note that all taxes in Norway is calculated individually, not family or couple. If the property is jointly owned, then the amount payable is doubled.
In addition to your salary tax, you are expected to remit tax if you rent your property.
Norwegians are also obliged to pay the wealth tax calculated annually as a percentage of the value you have left after deducting debts. It’s measured in the form of shares, property, cars, and other forms of wealth.
Below are the wealth brackets and rates payable:
|Amount (NOK)||Tax rate|
|0 – 1,700,000||0%|
|1,700,000 – 20,000,000||0.25%|
Bonuses, holiday pay and remuneration packages
Employees below 60 years are given a holiday package of 10.2% annually of their salary amount, while those above 60 years enjoy a 12,5% rate.
The holiday duration in Norway is four weeks and a day across the board. The holiday pay is taxable, but the tax is paid when remitting annual tax returns, so the employer would not deduct the tax when disbursing the pay.
Bonuses and any extra commissions are calculated and added to the holiday pay separately from your pay and taxes.
Salaries in Norway
In Norway, the average monthly salary ranges between 48,700 NOK and 51,600 NOK. The disparity comes in between the genders. Men in Norway receive a higher pay compared to their women counterparts.
The man gets 51,600 NOK, and the woman receives 48,700 NOK. However, these figures aren’t cast in stone and will vary from one industry to another.
Of course, salary is also affected by more than just what profession you have. Factors such as how old you are, how much experience you have, how much you work, and your level of education, industry and sector all play a role.
For instance, a waiter in a restaurant receives approximately 28,000 NOK, while a consultant at a financial institution could get paid over 90,000 NOK. The education background matters a lot in determining your entry point in Norway.
Here is the range for average monthly wages across popular jobs:
|Average||Median||Lower end||Upper end|
|Primary school teachers||48,700||49,160||45,260||52,910|
|Lawyers and attorneys||73,850||66,670||53,010||86,250|
See official statistics about salaries in Norway.
Minimum wage in Norway in 2022
Norway doesn’t have a legal minimum wage. The scale under which laborers are paid is agreed upon between the employers and employees. However, the remuneration must fall within the agreed scale between local government and employers in 2014.
Minimum salary for the residence and work permit
To apply for a residence and work permit in Norway, skilled workers will need a job offer, and the self-employed must meet certain income criteria. There is no minimum requirement for salaries and incomes for workers, but it must be no less than ordinary wages in Norway.
Self-employed must generate a profit through their business of at least 246,246 NOK (27,025 USD) annually before taxes.
Furthermore, to bring family members as a skilled worker, one needs to earn at least 306,700 NOK (33,650 USD) per year.
If you have completed higher education, you qualify for a skilled worker residence permit, and the same goes for those who have attained any vocational training.
Since Norway doesn’t have a legal minimum salary but instead operates under the collective bargaining agreements, the rates vary from one industry to another.
Here is how the minimum rates are spread across different industries:
|Industry||Rate/hr for above 18 years (NOK)||Rate/hr for those below 18 years (NOK)|
|Unskilled construction worker||206||132|
|Agriculture unskilled labor||149||118|
The figures may vary depending from employer to the employer and the shift schedule they have. For instance, you may agree with an employer to supplement your income for a two-day shift at an agreeable rate per hour.
Age is a major consideration when arriving at the salary payable.
Across all sectors, those below 18 years are paid less than their counterparts above 18 years. The reasoning behind this is the experience. The older ones are deemed to be more experienced and require minimal training.
Lastly, to get a residence and work permit, you pay a fee of 5,400 NOK (589 USD). The amount is the same for skilled workers and those looking for self-employment opportunities.
Average monthly salary in Norway
The average monthly salary in Norway has been on a steady rise. In 2021, the second quarter, the monthly average wage shot to 50,700 NOK compared to the first quarter, which averaged 49,900 NOK per month.
It’s approximately 610,000 NOK annually. However, over 60% of workers have lower wages than the average.
Moreover, in 2021, the median monthly salary was 45,830 NOK for a full-time worker. It’s almost 5,000 NOK lower than the average salary. Multiplied by 12, it’s about 550,000 NOK in an annual salary.
According to Statista, the average monthly salary varies from one industry to another. The top three sectors with the highest average wages in 2021 included:
|Industry||Monthly salary (gross)|
|Mining and quarrying||76,000 NOK|
|Finance and insurance||73,600 NOK|
|Electricity and gas||67,700 NOK|
For example, financial brokers earn about 104,330 NOK per month on average.
The worst performing industries in terms of average monthly salaries included:
- Accommodation and food service – 34,300 NOK
- Support and administrative services – 42,000 NOK
- Extraterritorial organizations – 38,700 NOK
From the data, it’s easy to understand that skilled and highly educated labor rips the most benefits in terms of average monthly salary. Norway is known for high salaries, evident in the different industries.
Even the lowest paying industry, accommodation, offers way above what is considered a decent salary of 30,000 NOK.
All numbers are before tax.
Highest paying jobs in Norway
Executives are among the high earner in Norway, with an average salary of 71,270 NOK per month. Top managers in public administration (state organizations) have a monthly income of 98,950 NOK on average. Lastly, CEOs make around 83,030 NOK on average.
Hotel, restaurant, and retail managers are among the lowest-paid jobs with a leadership role. For example, a hotel manager earns 47,210 NOK, and a retail manager’s salary is 51,360 NOK.
Moreover, the highest paying jobs in Norway are:
- Workers in the oil and gas industry, including miners
- Finance consultants
- Insurance workers
- Electricity and gas engineers
- Telecommunication workers
- Real estate dealers
- Workers in manufacturing
- Professionals in education
These industries have the best remuneration packages in that order. Your skills and experience level influence the entry-level remuneration.
Among these are the top three best-paid jobs in Norway and the monthly salary before tax:
- Trade and shipbrokers: 122,030 NOK
- Managers in oil and gas extraction: 108,230 NOK
- Top managers in public administration: 98,950 NOK
Highest paying jobs without a university degree:
- Electricians: 43,220 NOK
- Service electronics: 43,150 NOK
- Physiotherapists: 43,120 NOK
Special skills will attract extra perks, and the acceleration on the salary scale is faster for those with unique skills.
Lowest paying jobs in Norway
- Fast food and cafe staff: 28,640 NOK
- Interviewers: 28,000 NOK
- Auxiliary workers in livestock production: 26,500 NOK
What is a good salary in Oslo?
A decent salary for Oslo starts at 600,000 NOK (62,274 USD), and a salary of 800,000 NOK (83,032 USD) is an excellent income for the Norwegian capital.
600,000 NOK gives you about 50,000 NOK per month gross. The latter translates to about 66,600 NOK monthly before taxes. At the same time, for an individual in Oslo, an absolute minimum starts at 30,000 NOK gross per month. It’s a salary of a service worker, e.g., waiters.
Consequently, a salary of 50,000 NOK will allow you to cover all essential expenses and save a decent amount while working in Oslo. This income gives you about 39,000 NOK (4,054 USD) after tax per month.
Oslo is the major city in Norway, with a population above a million. That makes life in Oslo expensive, given the high population scrambling for limited resources.
Some aspects that make life in Oslo expensive include housing, renting or buying, transportation, and food.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oslo averages around 12,000 NOK, which is way above what an ordinary person can manage. For that reason, many people live in the suburbs or commute from the nearest towns.
Oslo remains one of the major attractions for international students and expats. As such, a good salary is critical to evaluate.
When evaluating a good salary, you should look into your lifestyle and the number of dependents under your care.
Being single in Oslo, your essential monthly expenses will look like:
|Item||Cost per month|
|Rent for a one-bedroom apartment||12,000 NOK|
|Total expenses||21,600 NOK (2,245 USD)|
Recommended cost of living for a single in Oslo is about 27,500 NOK (2,859 USD) per month. This number rises to 51,704 NOK (5,375) for a family of four. Assuming you are paid 39,000 NOK net (50,000 NOK gross), you’ll have a sustainable, comfortable lifestyle with extra money for drinks and savings.
The salary breakdown favors a single person who isn’t living with the dependants. If it were for two grown-ups, the costs would be higher, and the 50,000 NOK might not be enough.
Cost of living in Norway
Generally, the majority of people can live a comfortable life in Norway on about 26,000 NOK (2,666 USD) per month.
Rent will eat up more than 30% of your income in Norway. Housing in Oslo is particularly expensive. Here are the average prices:
- Shared room in an apartment: around 500 USD
- 1-bedroom apartment: between 1,100 – 1,350 USD
- 2-bedroom apartment: between 1,500 – 1,700 USD
Utilities come to around 120 – 250 USD per month, plus 50 USD for the internet.
Eating out in restaurants is particularly expensive in Norway. Consequently, Norwegians eat out far less than many other Europeans.
Expect to pay from 1,000 NOK (100 USD) for a two-course meal for two with a drink in a reasonable restaurant.
When it comes to groceries, you should budget about 500 USD per month.
Healthcare isn’t free in Norway. Instead, everyone is paying a fixed deductible of 2,200 NOK a year (230 USD). After you have reached the limit, the medical services and prescriptions will be free for the rest of the year.
Thus, your healthcare costs are about 230 USD per annual. However, you can also sign for private insurance, which will give you additional benefits; Cigna Global is the most recommended provider.
It’s worth noting that healthcare is free for people below 16. Nursing mothers and pregnant women also enjoy free health services in Norway.
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