The pay gap is steadily increasing in Norway. According to Statistics Norway, those who earn the most are typically men in their 50s who work in the private sector.

The pay gap in Norway is getting bigger and bigger

The gap between the highest-paid jobs and the lowest-paid jobs has significantly increased over 25 years. Bonuses are one of the drivers of the pay differences.

While the top 10 per cent highest-paid jobs in 1997 paid 2.8 times more than the bottom 10 per cent lowest-paid jobs, the difference was 3.8 times larger in 2022, according to figures from Statistics Norway.

“When we look at the wage distribution in Norway in 2022, compared to 1997, we see that jobs with the highest wages have taken an increasingly larger share of the pie compared to all other groups with lower wages,” senior adviser Knut Håkon Grini says.

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    The report Monthly earnings and inequality through 25 years shows that the bottom 10 per cent lowest-paid jobs in Norway in 2022 had an average monthly wage of NOK 27,920 (2,542 USD) per month, while the top 10 per cent highest-paid jobs had NOK 107,110 (9,748 USD) per month.

    Earned NOK 200,000 per month

    Among the top 10 per cent highest wages, there are also significant differences, where the percentage that earns the most earned an average of around NOK 200,000 (18,207 USD) per month last year.

    Statistics Norway points to bonus schemes as one of the drivers of these wage differences. Of all bonuses paid to full-time employees without apprentices in 2022, 70 per cent of bonus payments went to the top 10 per cent with the highest-paid jobs.

    The highest percentage received 35 per cent of all bonuses, which on average amounted to about NOK 34,300 (3,121 USD) per month. Among the percentage with the highest earnings, bonuses make up 16 per cent of their earnings.

    Small differences in a global perspective

    Compared to other countries, Norway has long been a country with low wage inequality. In the OECD's international overview of the gap between the 10 per cent highest and lowest wages, Norway ranks near the bottom of the list. Only Sweden ranks lower.

    “Despite Norway being one of the countries with the least wage disparity, the gap between high and low incomes has been on the rise in Norway, whereas in several other European countries, it was decreasing from 2005 to 2021,” Grini points out.

    The oil industry earns the most

    Among the top 10 per cent highest-paid full-time jobs, 28 per cent are in finance and insurance, and 39 per cent in mining and extraction.

    Mining and extraction are dominated by the oil and gas extraction industry and services related to the extraction of oil and gas.

    On the opposite end, among the bottom 10 per cent lowest-paid, 55 per cent of full-time jobs are in accommodation and food services.


    Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.

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