Jobs news in Norway: Labour shortages and the gender pay gap

In this weeks working life roundup we take a look at the gender pay gap and labour shortages in Norway.
In this weeks working life roundup we take a look at the gender pay gap and labour shortages in Norway. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Every week The Local brings you a roundup of the latest jobs news and talking points related to working life in Norway. This week we’re looking at severe staff shortages and the gender pay gap. 

Record demand for labour 

The Confederation for Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) reports a record-high number of vacancies, and the proportion of companies lacking qualified labour is at its highest level for 13 years. 

The confederation says that this massive labour shortage could affect Norway’s economic recovery from the pandemic. 

“We say that this is something that can slow down the recovery, the prospect of companies not getting the manpower they need,” chief economist for the NHO, Øystein Dørum, told financial media DN.

Dørum said there were two possible explanations for the lack of labour. Firstly, those unemployed or laid-off due to the pandemic have moved into different careers and secondly, the lack of access to foreign workers due to Norway’s strict entry restrictions. 

“What happens when the jobs are gone over a longer period is that people find other jobs and they start studying. In a good number of places, I think this is about entry restrictions,” Dørum said. 

Hotels facing staff shortages

On the topic of labour shortages, hotels and catering are the worst affected by a lack of qualified workers. 

In a recent survey carried out by NHO, eight out of ten businesses in the industry said they were struggling for staff. 

Other industries hit hard by staff shortages include the construction and cultural sectors.

How many companies have a gender pay gap? 

Around three out of ten of the 100 largest companies in Norway pay men more than women, according to auditing and consulting firm PwC. 

Due to strict gender equality law in Norway, companies with more than 50 employees and all public enterprises must report differences in pay between men and women every two years. 

In 2019 women in Norway earned, on average, around 87.6 percent of what men did, according to Statistics Norway. The gender pay gap in Norway is shrinking according to the data collection firm, with the gap decreasing 2.3 percentage points between 2017 and 2019. 

Union demands SAS re-hire laid-off staff 

One of Norway’s most prominent unions, LO, has demanded that airline SAS re-hire staff that it laid off during the pandemic. 

The union also alleged that SAS restructuring is being done to circumvent any obligation to re-employ staff. 

LO argues it leaves laid-off staff no choice but to reapply for their old jobs on worse terms. 

“Very many SAS employees have been unemployed for over 1.5 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They have taken the biggest blow for all of us. Now the LO community stands with them,” LO leader Peggy Hessen Følsvik said. 

Despite receiving large amounts of financial support from Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the airline laid off almost half of its workforce during the pandemic. 

“It is very disappointing that such an important company as SAS, with long Scandinavian traditions, now challenges decent practices in aviation. At the same time, we notice that there are new players in the market who want to build on the Norwegian working model,” Are Tomasgard from LO Aviation said. 

Did you know? 

Employers are more or less unable to demand that workers get tested for Covid-19 unless it poses a risk to life for customers and other staff members. 

This is because Covid-19 testing is classed as being related to health. There are therefore a number of legal mechanisms in place to protect the privacy of employees. 

Essentially this means that testing can only be demanded in exceptional cases where lives could be put at risk. This is balanced against the employee’s right to privacy and any contractual or collective agreements that may be in place. 

Employers can instead ask workers to get tested, with it being up to the staff member to decide for themselves.

READ MORE: Can your boss in Norway make you take a Covid-19 test?

Useful links

Below you’ll find a couple of helpful articles, guides and resources put together by The Local, which cover key aspects of working life in Norway.

How to get a work permit in Norway

Salaries in Norway: Which jobs have seen wages rise (and fall) the most?

Is this useful?

Please get in touch with me at [email protected] to let me know if this weekly feature is useful and any suggestions you have for jobs related articles on The Local Norway.

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