Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, commonly known as the Nordic countries, have been leaders in the development of modern family and gender policy, and the explicit promotion of gender equality at home, at work, and in public life. Today, on many measures, they boast some of the most gender-equal labour markets in the OECD.This report shows that improvements in gender equality have contributed considerably to economic growth in the Nordic countries. Increases in female employment alone are estimated to account for anywhere between roughly 0.05 and 0.40 percentage points to average annual GDP per capita growth – equivalent to 3 to 20% of total GDP per capita growth over the past 50 years or so, depending on the country.The Nordic countries are closer than most to achieving gender equality in the labour market. But the last mile may well prove to be the longest one. To make further progress, a continued assessment of the effectiveness of existing public policies and workplace practices is needed. Only with resolve and a continued focus can Nordic countries ensure that men and women contribute to their economies and societies in gender equal measure.
The present report on Norway is part of the series on 'Investing in Youth' which builds on the expertise of the OECD on youth employment, social support and skills. This series covers both OECD countries and countries in the process of accession to the OECD, as well as some emerging economies. The report provides a detailed diagnosis of youth policies in the areas of education, training, social and employment policies. Its main focus is on young people who are not in employment, education or training (the 'NEETs'). Earlier reviews in the same series have looked at youth policies in Brazil (2014), Latvia and Tunisia (2015), Australia, Lithuania and Sweden (2016), Japan (2017).
This report provides an overview of the substantial ageing and employment policy initiatives already implemented in Norway over the past decade and identifies areas where more should be done, covering both supply-side and demand-side aspects. To give better incentives to carry on working, the report recommends further reforms in the second-pillar pension schemes, particularly for public sector employees. On the side of employers, it is important to progress towards more age-neutral hiring decisions and to review of age limits for mandatory retirement. To improve the employability of older workers, the focus should be to promote job-related training with a particular focus on mid-career workers and to encourage initiatives based on a full-time culture and good working conditions for all.
Gains in female education attainment have contributed to a worldwide increase in women’s participation in the labour force, but considerable gaps remain in working hours, conditions of employment and earnings. More specific data for Norway are available in this country note.
Governments should invest more money on children in the first six years of their lives to reduce social inequality and help all children, especially the most vulnerable, have happier lives, according to the OECD’s first ever report on child well-being in its 30 member countries.