Advice and Tips
Bachelor’s degree vs. Master’s degree: Difference in monthly salary may exceed NOK 20,000
How much more does an engineer with a Master’s degree (MSc) earn than one with a Bachelor’s (BSc)?
Have you decided to become an engineer, but are wondering how many years you’ll have to study? Or maybe you’re working as an engineer with a BSc and thinking about going back to school?
If salary’s important to you, there’s no reason for to hesitate: NHO’s salary statistics show that there can be a big difference in pay between having a BSc and an MSc.
Information on this topic is based on data from the Educational Attainment of the Population (BHU) in Statistics Norway (SSB).
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Large differences that’ll keep growing over time
Based on 2020 figures, an engineer with a Master's degree (MSc) can expect to earn an average gross monthly salary of NOK 82,020, while an engineer (BSc) can expect to earn NOK 66,890 for the same time period.
Of course, these calculations might include extra payments made to the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund and lost income for the extra time it’ll take you to finish your MSc; but in the long run, your salary will quickly make up for this income loss.
Tekna advisor Katrine Olsson thinks the large pay gap between these two educational levels is to be expected.
– Competency pays off, and the value of Tekna members’ competency is sought after in the market.
– It means a lot for a company’s productivity level and, even more so, its ability to grow over time, she says.
Pay gap may be more than NOK 20,000
The statistics show two groups of engineers – one group working in the oil industry and the other working in other industries – when comparing employees’ ages and salaries.
For instance, a 26-year-old engineer with a Bachelor’s degree working in the oil industry earned on average NOK 46,930 per month in 2020, while a 26-year-old engineer with a Master’s degree earned NOK 47,570 during the same time period.
Outside of the oil industry, an engineer with a Bachelor’s degree earns on average NOK 45,810 per month, while an engineer with a Master’s degree earns on average NOK 47,460 per month.
A look at senior-level engineers shows that this pay gap grows even larger over time.
For instance, in 2020, a 63-year-old engineer with a Bachelor’s degree working in the oil industry earned on average NOK 91,370 per month, while a 63-year-old engineer with a Master’s degree earned on average NOK 112,220 for the same time period.
Outside of the oil industry, a 63-year-old engineer with a Bachelor’s degree earned on average NOK 74,160 per month, while a 63-year-old engineer with a Master’s degree earned on average NOK 95,480 per month.
In other words, the numbers show that as far as salary goes, it pays to get a Master’s degree and work as long as possible.
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