Earnings and Wages

Wage growth slowing

In 2021 the average annual earnings for a full-time employee was 614 300 NOK, an increase of 3.5% from 2020. With consumer prices also increasing by 3.5% there was no real wage growth in 2021. Over the past decade, wage growth has slowed, and the average annual wage growth from 2016-2021 was 2.8%, compared to 3.6% from 2010-2015.

Coordinated wage bargaining

A key characteristic of the Norwegian model for wage bargaining is the high degree of coordination between the different negotiating areas, with the manufacturing sector facing international competition setting a norm for the other sectors to follow. The model is aimed at ensuring the annual wage growth is not higher than what international exposed companies can live with over time.

The differences in the average wage growth across the main negotiating areas over the past years illustrates the high degree of coordination in the Norwegian model.

High wage levels in Norway compared to other countries

According to the OECD, Norway has one of the highest wage levels of all industrialised countries. Note that comparisons of wage levels between countries is difficult, so the numbers should be interpreted with caution.

Data from the OECD also show that wages in Norway from 2000-2007 grew at a faster rate than most other countries (3.2% compared to an OECD-average of 1.2%). However, from 2007-2020 wage growth in Norway has been more aligned with other countries (1.1% compared to an OECD-average of 0.6%).

Earnings by occupation

Statistics Norway publishes data on monthly earnings for almost 400 occupational groups. Employees' occupation are classified based on the actual job content, and not their educational level, type of employment contract, wage or sector.

The searchable table below contains data for all available occupational groups for 2021. Trade brokers where the highest earning occupational group, followed by mining managers and securities and finance dealers and brokers.

Note that montly earnings refered to in the visualisations below comprise agreed monthly earnings, includning bonuses and irregular supplements, but excluding over-time pay.

Earnings by occupation and sector

Statistic Norway also publishes earnings data for the same type of occupation in different sectors of the economy. For relevant occupational groups, this allows for comparisons on what similar occupations earn in the public and private sector.

Differences in earnings between women and men

There are several ways of measuring earnings differences between women and men. The graph below shows the differences in average monthly earnings and median monthly earnings, both for all employees and for full-time employees.

Women work part time to a larger extent than men, and to a lesser degree than men have high wages. Even accounting for such factors by looking at full-time employees and median earnings, women earn less than men. Over the past five years the differences have decreased minimally.

Differences between women and men by occupation

The table below shows women's earnings as share of men's in different occupations. Women earn less than men in all but 40 occupations. Trade brokers have the largest difference in favour of men, with women earning 70% of mens wage. The largest difference, in favour of women, are for client information workers, with women earning 108% of men.

Earnings and educational level

Data from Statistics Norway shows that earnings tend to increase with educational level in all industries.

Comparing earnings by similar educational level across industries, financial insurance activities have the highest earnings for those with primary and lower secondary as their highest educational level. For upper secondary and higher education, mining and quarrying has the highest earnings level.

Earnings by municipality

Earnings differences between municipalities can be compared by looking at the earnings of either those who live or work in the respective region. Measured by median monthly earnings, Sola had the highest earnings level looking at those who work in the region, while Bærum had the highest if we look at those who reside in the region.

Women had lower earnings than men in all but 35 municipalities in 2021.

About the data and terms of use

Data on earnings and wages are from Statistics Norway. Data on wage growth by negotiation area are from The Norwegian Technical Calculation Committee for Wage Settlement.

International data on earnings and wages are from OECDs Employment Outlook 2021 ("Annex A, Table N).

Link to our terms of use.