Jobs for all!

Jobs for all!

It is a goal that as many people as possible should work. Norway has a relatively low unemployment rate.
See Statistics Norway’s web page on Unemployment.

The Norwegian state devotes a great deal of resources to measures to create or maintain jobs each year. Examples of such measures include:

  • The state can grant financial support to enterprises experiencing a difficult period so that the business does not have to close or downsize its workforce.
  • The authorities can influence people’s income through wage negotiations and the interest rate policy.
  • The state can reduce the direct and indirect taxes that businesses pay.
  • The public authorities can influence employment in the public sector. Today, about 750,000 people work in the public sector.
  • It is possible to reduce working hours or lower the retirement age.

The public sector spends a lot of money on labour market courses organised by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (Nav). These courses are intended to help to qualify participants for work. In addition, course participants receive unemployment benefit or individual benefits. Nav can pay wage subsidies to employers. That means that Nav and the employer share the wage costs for a period if this can help a jobseeker to find permanent or temporary employment.

Nav cooperates with many employers through the Cooperation Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (the IW Agreement). The idea behind this agreement is that:

  • the authorities and employers should make it easier for people to return to work after long-term sickness absence
  • the authorities and employers should help to make it easier for disabled people to work
  • it should be possible for older employees to remain in employment for longer

All newly arrived refugees in Norway are offered an introduction programme organised by the municipality where they live. People who participate in the introduction programme receive free tuition in the Norwegian language and social studies. Many people take language skills training or do work experience placements in different businesses as part of the programme. The purpose of the introduction programme is to qualify participants for work or further education. The introduction programme is usually a full-time programme lasting for two years, and participants receive introduction benefit for taking part.

People who have been unemployed for a long time and depend on social security benefits can be offered a chance to take part in a qualification programme through Nav. The intention behind the qualification programme is to give each participant adapted education and work training to make it easier for them to find work. The qualification programme is usually a full-time programme lasting for up to a year, and participants receive qualification benefit for taking part.

Businesses can be granted financial support to organise courses for employees who need more training in reading, writing, arithmetic, IT and the Norwegian or Sami language. Such courses can qualify employees to keep the job they already have or to apply for other jobs.