Oilman Engineer Becomes Milkman as Norway's Best Jobs Disappear

(Bloomberg) -- When Joergen Langaunet started as a project planner at offshore engineer Aker Solutions ASA in 2012, he worked a lot of overtime. Norway’s oil industry, so rich it spawned the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, was booming.
Then last year, he realized he was spending most of his time in the lunch room: His services weren’t needed. In September, as crude prices were on their way to the biggest plunge since 2008, Langaunet lost his job. Today he’s a regional manager for Tine SA, Norway’s biggest dairy producer.
“Our office went through two rounds of downsizing, so you start to see the picture when people have to leave and no matter how many people leave, there’s still less and less work to do,” the 29-year-old said by phone from Trondheim, Norway.
Norwegian companies including Statoil ASA and global behemoths with Norwegian units, such as ConocoPhillips, are gearing up for the biggest investment cuts the Nordic nation has seen since 2000. As many as 40,000 jobs could disappear out of about 250,000 nationwide. Oil workers made on average almost 60 percent more than other industrial workers, and a survey from recruitment firm Hays Inc. showed salaries in the industry were in the top two worldwide over the past five years.
The 50 percent slump in oil prices since June is threatening projects worldwide. Spending cuts will reach 20 percent this year and 10 percent in 2016, Danske Bank A/S says.