Multiculturalism taxes Norwegian oil companies / News / The Foreigner

Multiculturalism taxes Norwegian oil companies. High employee salaries and low lunch prices in Norwegian oil company canteens may seem like a financial Mecca, but not all that glitters is black gold. Problems often arise if employees do not speak Norwegian, according to Bjørg Sandal, Communications Director at Aibel. “Approximately 90 percent of our staff is Norwegian. We do send our foreign employees on courses organised by the University of Stavanger to learn the language and about the culture, but many who are here for just three to six months are not motivated to do this because it is too hard,” she tells The Foreigner.

multiculturaloilcompanies, language-barriers, naveures



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Multiculturalism taxes Norwegian oil companies

Published on Tuesday, 31st May, 2011 at 16:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 31st May 2011 at 22:21.

High employee salaries and low lunch prices in Norwegian oil company canteens may seem like a financial Mecca, but not all that glitters is black gold.

Cafeteria flags (illustration photo)
Cafeteria flags (illustration photo)
Photo: Natalie Maynor/Flickr


Problems often arise if employees do not speak Norwegian, according to Bjørg Sandal, Communications Director at Aibel.

“Approximately 90 percent of our staff is Norwegian. We do send our foreign employees on courses organised by the University of Stavanger to learn the language and about the culture, but many who are here for just three to six months are not motivated to do this because it is too hard,” she tells The Foreigner.

Stavanger Aftenblad reports Bodil Broch-Austvoll, advisor at the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s EURopean Employment Service (NAV EURES), thinks “you must be able to speak the language to become integrated here.”

“The language-barrier means highly qualified couples leave out of frustration if the spouse does not get a job,” she continues.

According to Marco Valenta, postdoctoral fellow in sociology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), different languages and cultures can also lead to fractionalisation in the workplace and social isolation.

“For example, it could be that people who speak the same language sit together in groups at lunchtime. There can also be a very high through-flow of people from all over the world, with little stability.”

Moreover, Dr Valenta believes different working-practices can also divide the foreigners from the Norwegians, using a company where many Germans work as an example.

“They look down upon the Norwegian work ethic and are used to working more and longer hours, and couldn’t understand why their Norwegian colleagues left early on a Friday to travel to their cabins,” he tells Stavanger Aftenblad.

Aibel’s Bjørg Sandal says the company does its best to cater for its 22-or-so different nationalities.

“We are very aware that some employees have a higher threshold for bringing up problems, for example. We talk about this internally and run courses where we continually focus on this issue.”




Published on Tuesday, 31st May, 2011 at 16:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 31st May 2011 at 22:21.

This post has the following tags: multiculturaloilcompanies, language-barriers, naveures.


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