The European Employment Services (EURES) is a closely-knit web that provide services for the benefit of workers and employers as well as any citizen wishing to benefit from the principle of the free movement of persons. In Norway and around Europe 629 consultants are eager to show the gateways to Norwegian employment.
The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation (NAV) was a result of a massive welfare reform in 2006 including the former Norwegian National Employment Service. NAV is also a part of the EURES network.
Berit Alfsen heads up the Norwegian division of EURES, and she wants to help prospective employees as much as possible to avoid the hurdles related to entering the Norwegian labour market. Although she is aware that there is a tremendous need for foreign hands in Norwegian industry, she would like employers to be more proactive about hiring skilled professionals from the international arena.
“I would like to see the employers be more enthusiastic about hiring, but some find the processes to be tedious and complicated,” Alfsen says. “Therefore it is also a challenge to recruit candidates to job and recruiting fairs as well.”
However, knowing that foreign workers are on demand, Alfsen and her team of consultants love to find perfect matches between Norwegian companies and prospective employees. It’s really not that difficult to get an overview of the Norwegian labour market.
First Step to a New Job
“Your first step is to contact a EURES adviser in your region who will get you in touch with one of the EURES advisers in Norway,” explains Alfsen, adding that the EURES consultants will always have up-to-date information about shortages and surpluses in the Norwegian labour market.
Health personnel and engineers are in special demand, but there is also a need for help in a great variety of professions, and there are numerous EURES consultants specializing in languages and the specifics of what’s needed in the Norwegian labour market.
Kirvil Schultz (left) and Eli Skaug
Syvertsen are Norwegian EURES
labour consultants eager to assist
finding perfect matches between
Norwegian employers and international
Norwegian companies also view EURES as an important resource, and although some businesses could be more proactive in the recruiting process, National Oilwell Norway is an example of a company that has taken full advantage of the possibilities through EURES.
“We don’t have enough skilled people in Norway to fill our vacancies,” says Mari Bjelland, personnel adviser with National Oilwell. “EURES makes the first round of selections and sends us interesting CVs,” she says, and hopes that other Norwegian companies will take advantage of EURES’ knowledge and networks.
Because of the cooperation with EURES, National Oilwell has filled its need for engineers. “Many engineers are interested in working in Norway, and at the moment we need personnel for technical support,” Bjelland says.
National Oilwell Norway is an international company with 15 nations represented. The largest number of the company’s international employees come from Poland and Portugal, something National Oilwell is very happy about because of the flexible and hard-working qualities of the Portuguese engineers. “However, even if we are happy about Portuguese workers, the most important thing is that our workers are skilled in their areas and possess a good command of English,” the personnel adviser says.
For companies it is vital to have contact with the right persons in EURES, and Bjelland found National Oilwell’s perfect recruiting agent in EURES consultant Eli Skaug Syvertsen, a Norwegian who speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently in addition to English.
“We would not have been able to recruit our candidates without Skaug Syvertsen,” Bjelland says.
Skaug Syvertsen is a woman who loves her job. She spends much of her time at job fairs in Spain and Portugal, and she warmly recommends skilled professionals in these countries to take employment in Norway.
In her job, Skaug Syvertsen has appeared on Spanish and Portuguese national television several times. “I’ve received thousands of CVs and enquiries. One reason could be that there is great unemployment in these countries, and engineers have salaries from ^1,000 –2,000 per month there.”
Portuguese Want to Emigrate
The unemployment rate in Portugal is now at 7.5 percent. Industrial production has moved to low-cost countries like China. “Portuguese workers want to emigrate despite living in a wonderful country. However, living expenses are very high and the prices of apartments and houses are sky high,” Skaug Syvertsen says.
Two of the Portuguese engineers recruited
to work at National Oilwell Norway through
the help of NAV/EURES. The company is
very satisfied with the quality and flexibility
of the recruits.
Although Norway has significantly higher salaries than Portugal and Spain, Skaug Syvertsen has discovered that the money is not necessarily the primary motivation to move to Norway. “I’ve had surprisingly few questions about these matters,” she says. “However, the United Nations has voted Norway as the best country to live in for the sixth consecutive year, and Norway is seen as an exotic country to gain international experience.”
In addition to recruiting people who have completed their education, Skaug Syvertsen has also initiated cooperation between three colleges in Norway and colleges in Portugal and Spain. “There are 13,000 engineering students in Porto alone, and we want to have more exchange of professors and master’s degree students,” she says.
Dealing with Norwegian companies, Skaug Syvertsen encounters some leaders who think they can recruit the necessary skilled workforce from the Scandinavian countries. However, the EURES consultant encourages Norwegian companies to look south in Europe and all over the world to attract the needed competence and perfect matches between employers and employees.
And Skaug Syvertsen also wants to get in touch with skilled engineers from around the globe. “If you want to work in Norway as an engineer, send an e-mail with your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you,” she promises.
For detailed information about work opportunities in Norway, please visit