Fewer jobs to hit young, unskilled

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Job vacancies in Norway have dropped significantly, with a 17 percent decline in the year to June according to new figures released on Wednesday. Unskilled workers and new graduates were expected to be hit hardest, while NAV said its figures showed unemployment continued to rise.

A new OECD report has shown Norway PHOTO: Kunnskapsdepartementet

New graduates are expected to be affected most by a 17 percent downturn in the number of job advertisements since last June. The number of unskilled positions has also dropped. PHOTO: Kunnskapsdepartementet

Rubrikk.no collates job advertisements from more than 420 websites, covering over 90 percent of all vacant positions in Norway, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “There is noticeably lower speed in the job market now than just a few months ago,” said manager and owner Adil Osmani. “The first thing that happens when businesses think about downsizing is that they stop employing new people. Sectors such as administration, finance, and building and construction are going to think twice before they announce new positions.”

The industries that suffered the biggest declines in the number of advertised positions included religion and interest organizations (61 percent), cleaning (60 percent), customer and personal service (53 percent), consultants (49 percent), and administration, office and HR (43 percent).

Osmani predicted new graduates competing with more experienced workers would struggle to break into the workforce, particularly in administration, accounting, sales and marketing. Government work and social welfare organization NAV had 6,666 office workers listed as fully unemployed, a 14 percent increase on June last year.

“It is quite clear that those who are setting out from management and finance studies will notice that the job market is considerably tougher now than just a year ago,” he said. “Graduates who want to enter the media industry are clearly the ones who have it hardest.”

Listings even fell in jobs typically in high demand in Norway. There were 20 percent fewer IT job advertisements, 23 percent fewer for engineers, and a 35 percent drop in maritime and on and offshore oil and gas.

There were some bright points – education and research jobs increased by 26 percent, and public service and administration vacancies were up from 924 last June to 1,358 this year. There were also more listings in art, culture, sport, music jobs, and in banking, finance, real estate and insurance.

Graduates can’t get a foot in the door
Darija Zivanovic knows first hand how tough it can be to get that first big break. The 27-year-old has a masters degree in mental health, and told NRK she can’t get a job without experience, but can’t get experience without a job. She has sent out up to 50 applications since the start of the year, and has started widening her search to unskilled work in clothing stores or similar.

“I am amazed, and I would like to hear why I have not gotten jobs,” she said. “Must I write the application or my CV better, that’s what I should like to know.” Zivanovic was not sure if her foreign name played a role in her continued rejection. “I do not think that’s the reason, I think a lack of experience is perhaps rather to blame. But clearly, when you get rejection after rejection, then you do have other thoughts as well.”

Mariann Eriksen who heads Zivanovic’s local NAV office in Skien said the job seeker had “followed the recipe” by getting an education, getting work experience while studying, using her networks and being mobile. “Finances are tight in the municipalities in the county,” Eriksen said. “That means that the public sector is not recruiting, but actually resigning. At the same time the private is a little hesitant. Therefore it can be important that people are willing to move.”

Unskilled jobs in demand
Meanwhile, a survey released on Tuesday by employers’ association Virke showed 16 percent of retail and service industry businesses were planning on reducing their staffing numbers. “It has become more difficult for unskilled workers to get jobs,” said Virke chief executive Vibeke Hammer Madsen. “The retail brands, people are spending less money, then they narrow down and competition becomes harder.”

NRK reported more than 295 people applied for a recent part-time cashier job at a Meny supermarket in Oslo, while more than 840 people applied for a shop assistant position at a Kiwi supermarket. Store manager Heidi Sand Ibenholt said the Byporten store usually receives about 500 applications every time a position is advertised.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate