Immigration pushed up employment
Labour market and earnings;Immigration and immigrants
innvregsys, Employment among immigrants, register-based, immigrant background, country background, period of residence, employees, occupational groups, self-employed, industries (for example manufacturing, public administration, restaurants)Employment , Labour market and earnings, Labour market and earnings, Immigration and immigrants



Employment among immigrants, register-based2013, 4th quarter


Immigration pushed up employment

The number of employed people in Norway increased by 30 000 from the 4th quarter of 2012 to the 4th quarter of 2013. Of these, 24 450 were immigrants. Hence, immigrants contributed to more than 80 per cent of the employment growth. Immigrants from the EEA countries contributed to most of this growth.

Employed total population and employed immigrants by world region. Absolute figures and in per cent of persons aged 15-74 years in each group. 4th quarter
2013 Change last twelve months
Absolute figures Per cent 2012 - 2013
Absolute figures Percentage points
Population in total 2 619 000 68.6 30 000 -0.1
Non-immigrant population 2 260 579 69.5 5 551 -0.2
Immigrants, total 358 421 63.1 24 449 0.3
The Nordic Countries 47 824 76.3 1 145 0.2
Western Europe except the Nordic Countries and Turkey 41 390 70.7 2 101 0.7
EU members in Eastern Europe 102 846 72.9 11 550 0.1
Eastern Europe outside of EU 30 079 62.8 1 607 0.7
North America and Oceania 6 621 66.0 120 -0.4
Asia 91 173 55.2 5 255 0.6
Africa 26 794 41.9 2 091 -0.6
South and Central America 11 694 63.1 580 -0.1

The number of employed immigrants from the EU countries in Eastern Europe increased by 11 550, and many of them were settled in Norway during 2013. If we also add immigrants from the other EEA countries, there was a total growth of almost 14 800 employed within these groups. Among the other immigrant groups, Asians had the strongest increase of 5 255 employed.

Only small growth in the employment rate among immigrants

In spite of the strong growth in numbers of employed immigrants during the last year, the employment rate among immigrants only increased by 0.3 percentage points, from 62.8 per cent in 2012 to 63.1 in 2013 (employed immigrants as a percentage of the immigrant population aged 15-74 years). This is due to a growth in the immigrant population, which was almost as strong as the growth among the employed immigrants. Within the whole Norwegian population (at the same age), the employment rate was 68.6 per cent, which was 0.1 percentage points below the level of 2012. This small decrease is due to the growth within the population aged 67-74 years.

Limitation of age groups has influenced differences in employment

In other words, there is a disparity of 5.5 percentage points in the employment rate between immigrants and the whole Norwegian population within the age group 15-74 years. When looking at the most occupationally active age groups, larger differences emerge, for instance 11.6 percentage points (25-39 years) and 13.3 percentage points (40-54 years). The majority population has a much higher share of people aged 67-74 years than immigrants. This age group has a very low employment rate and thus reduces the average within the whole population aged 15-74 years.

Largest gender disparities among immigrants

Among immigrants (15-74 years), 67.9 per cent of the men and 57.7 per cent of the women were employed in the 4th quarter, i.e. a difference of 10.2 percentage points. In the whole population, this gender difference was smaller. A total of 71.4 per cent of the men and 65.6 per cent of the women were employed, which gives a difference of 5.8 percentage points. From these figures it also follows that there is a larger gap to the whole population among the immigrant women than among the immigrant men.

Large differences among immigrants

Immigrants from the EEA countries, who mainly consist of labour immigrants, have considerably higher rates than other immigrants. The employment rates among these groups in the 4th quarter of 2013 were as follows: 76.3 per cent (the Nordic countries), 72.9 per cent (EU countries in Eastern Europe) and 70.7 per cent (Western Europe). Next, we find immigrants from North America and Oceania with a share of employed at 66 per cent, while immigrants from South and Central America and Eastern Europe outside the EU both had rates of about 63 per cent. The rate for the Asian group is somewhat lower, at. 55.2 per cent, while immigrants from Africa are lower still, at 41.9 per cent employed.

These disparities have been quite stable irrespective of economic cycles. Immigrants from Asia and Africa have larger shares of refugees with a shorter time of residence in Norway than other groups, especially those from Africa. With a longer time of residence, the employment level ascends within most of the immigrant groups, but the differences among the groups do not level out. Even among those with 10 years or more of residence in Norway, African immigrants have the lowest employment rate far below the immigrants’ average.

In addition we find very low employment rates among many African and Asian women (irrespective of time of residence), which pulls down the average within these groups. This phenomenon applies to both established groups such as the Pakistanis and the Turkish, and more recently arrived immigrants from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.