Øystein works for NHO.
Photo: Studio NHO
Why did you choose to study economics?
I took economics classes in upper secondary school. At first I thought I would study political science, but when reading about economics in the study catalogue I got the impression that economics would be more applicable. I did well on my first exam and decided to stick with economics, but I actually went on to do a master’s degree in political science at LSE after graduating from Blindern.
What do you think were the most important factors for being offered the job?
I was headhunted. I think they were interested in me because I have a well-known name after 18 years as chief economist in DNB. I believe that my factors for success have been academic competence, dedication and effective dissemination.
What are your previous jobs?
I worked for seven years in the Ministry of Finance's finance department, interrupted by six months in the European Commission, three years in Sparebanken NOR and eighteen years in DNB. During these years, I worked mainly with business and market analysis. When I was still a student I had several internships at the Ministry of Finance, Statistics Norway and Norges Bank.
What does your job consist of?
I am head of NHO’s department of economics. I work with seven economists and two lawyers. The department is responsible for analyzing developments in the Norwegian and international economy, the labor market, wage formation, taxes and fees. I give talks, write articles, attend meetings in governing bodies and in the annual salary negotiations.
How do you make use of your education in your job?
I use it all the time.
I depend on a combination of the mindset from the study and the experience and insight that over 30 years of practical work provides. However, it’s been a while since I looked at the more theoretical parts of the syllabus.
What is the best thing about your job – and the most challenging?
The best part about my job is the great diversity when it comes to the types of tasks I get to work on and the different people and environments I encounter. The most challenging part is the same thing – the wide range of tasks means that I can’t always immerse myself in the matter as much as I would like.
What is your advice for students who want your type of job?
Most importantly: be serious about your studies. Use this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the subject. Secondly, keep an open and curious mind.
As economists our job is to find out why things are the way they are and convey this insight to the public, hoping to push the world in the right direction.
For instance, when trying to solve climate change, economic insight is very useful.
What do you think is the best thing about studying at UiO?
I think I have to say the study groups and working towards the common goal of gaining knowledge and insight.