This article considers the income of non-Western graduates in the Norwegian labour market
during the period 1993–1998. In different varieties, unequal job competence is repeated as the
main reason as to why non-Western minorities earn significantly less than the ethnic majority. I
claim that this explanation is not an entirely satisfactory account of the situation of immigrants
in the Norwegian labour market. If job competence is a decisive criterion for compensating
work effort, equally qualified people would receive similar earnings regardless of their ethnicity.
On the contrary, in this study it is documented that graduates from Norwegian universities with
a non-Western background earn less than comparable members of the majority. Even when
they have long residency, or are second-generation immigrants, with equal grades within the
same subjects, they receive less economic reward for their competence and skills. Whether this
is due to differential earnings in the same job positions or to unequal access to job positions is
uncertain. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that there is some form of discrimination of non-
Western people in the labour market, especially in the case of graduates with an African
descent. Since the figures in this study show that the earnings of non-Western graduates
increase more rapidly with labour market experience than the earnings of comparable members
of the majority, it is reasonable to interpret this variant of differential treatment as statistical discrimination.

The possibility of lost future revenues for the company, or the business, gives the
employer an incentive to use proxies on the productivity level of prospective workers. According
to such proxies, non-Western graduates would then be less favoured and would be considered
independently of their academic achievements. After participating in the labour market,
more reliable information on the actual productivity level is accumulated. This strengthens the
bargaining position of the non-Western graduate, which in turn affects his/her access to job
positions and level of income.

Suksess i arbeidsmarkedet blant høyt utdannete innvandrere
Lenke til fulltekst –

Utgitt år – 2006

Utgiver – Sosiologisk Tidsskrift 2006; 14(3):276-297

Språk – Engelsk

Undertittel – Betydningen av jobbkompetanse, sosiale nettverk og diskriminering for inntekt

Antall sider – 23

Dokumenttype – artikkel