Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city and is home to one of the country’s biggest ports. Thanks to the city's picturesque mountains and fjords, Bergen's local economy is as diverse as its natural landscape. Expats working in Bergen are in for an exciting and multi-faceted experience, with a high quality of life to boot.
Newcomers from non-EU and -EEA countries will need to apply for a Norwegian resident permit for work. This can take up to eight weeks, so expats are encouraged to get the process started as early as possible.
Job market in Bergen
The oil and gas and renewable energy sectors are the biggest employers in Bergen, since the city is the main landing port for North Sea oil and gas. With the Royal Norwegian Navy base a mere 10 miles (34km) from Bergen, shipping is another major player in the city’s economy.
Bergen’s geography makes the city a perfect location for aquaculture and the use of subsea technology, so expats with engineering and marine science qualifications will be well-placed to find employment in Bergen.
Bergen is home to six higher education institutions sprinkled across the city, making education a key contributor to the city’s job market. Tourism, media and finance are other important players in Bergen’s economy.
Work culture in Bergen
As a university city with cross-cultural influences, Bergen is one of Norway’s most open-minded cities. Still, some aspects of Norwegian work culture remain ubiquitous.
Egalitarianism and objectivity are essential in Bergen – this means that every employee’s voice matters. Rather than a system of hierarchies, workplaces are run with equality in mind. Expats should also be aware that this egalitarian quality means that self-representation in Bergen is typically pared down as Norwegian culture frowns on boastfulness.
Family is highly valued by Norwegians, so a good work-life balance is considered essential.
►Work Permits For Norway provides detailed information on applying for residence permits for work
►Find out more about local business culture with Doing Business in Norway
"Working in Bergen is a lot more about using your job to earn money to enjoy life rather than having a job which takes over your life. People here work to live and don’t live to work."
Check out our interview with British expat Selina to learn more about living in Bergen.
Are you an expat living in Bergen?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bergen. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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