Statistics on gender balance and diversity

(Illustration: iStockphoto)

Are you interested in statistics on gender balance and diversity in higher education and in the research sector in Norway? This page contains statistics from Statistics Norway (SSB), which is responsible for statistics on the academic sector and the business sector. The statistics will be continuously updated.

Here you will find statistics on: 

Gender balance in scientific positions

Gender balance among docent and professor positions

  • 2022: 36,2 per cent female, 63,8 per cent male
  • 2021: 34,7 per cent female, 65,3 per cent male
  • 2020: 33,5 per cent female, 66,5 per cent male
  • 2019: 32,2 per cent female, 67,8 per cent male
  • 2018: 31,1 per cent female, 68,9 per cent male

Docent and professor positions include university college professor (1012), teaching-oriented docent (1483), docent (1532) and professor (1013, 1404). Professor II is not included.

The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (in Norwegian)

Diku – the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education: Status report for higher education 2022 (in Norwegian)
Gender balance among researchers in Norwegian academia (NIFU, Insight 2020:20)

The share of women 2013201620192022
Nord University18,723,625,831,1
Figure: A sample selected from the Status report for higher education 2023 (in Norwegian). The figure illustrates the women share of docent- og professor positions from 2013 til 2022. (Source: DBH)

See more at The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills: Figure V4.23 Women in docent- and professor positions 2013-22. (in Norwegian)

PhDs: key figures


  • 1612 persons defended their PhD-dissertation at Norwegian universities and university colleges in 2023.
  • Gender balance in 2023: 745 of the PhD graduates were men and 867 were women. 
  • Altogether the dispersion between women and men among PhD graduates has been completely balanced since 2012.
  • 2014 was the first year when more women than men graduated at doctorate level.

PhDs: subject field, gender and citizenship

  • Female PhD graduates are in majority in the subject fields agriculture and sciences and medical sciences. In medical sciences 68 per cent of the PhD graduates were female in 2023.
  • The share of men is particularly high within technology were male PhDs accounted for almost 70 per cent, but in mathematics and natural sciences female graduates accounted for 48 per cent in 2023.
  • 44 per cent of the PhD graduates were of foreign origin in 2023. 
  • In 2023 the share of PhDs with foreign citizenship is highest within technology and natural sciences.
  • In 2022 50 per cent of the foreign PhD graduates were from Europe and 30 per cent were from Asia. 

Sources: Diku – the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education:Status report for higher education 2023 (in Norwegian)
Database for statistics on Higher Education (DBH) (in Norwegian) Flere doktorgrader innenfor teknologi, matematikk og naturvitenskap i 2023 (In Norwegian only) (SSB)

Gender balance in the institute sector

  • Among the researchers and academic staff who participated in research and development in the institute sector in 2020, 45 per cent were women.
  • There are significant differences in the gender balance between different subject areas and institutes, where technology-oriented environments in particular have a lower proportion of women in the research staff compared with other institutes. 
  • Women are generally under-represented in top academic positions at research institutes, especially at technical-industrial institutes. 

Sources: Gender balance in the instiute sector (NIFU Insight 2021:13) (in Norwegian) 

Statistics on diversity

The statistics on diversity is the first extensive overview on the role of immigrants and descendents of immigrants in higher education and the research sector. So far, it has been compiled for the years 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2021 and 2022.

Previous editions were prepared in collaboration between Statistics Norway and NIFU, and published by NIFU. From 2023, Diversity in research will be prepared and published annually by Statistics Norway.

Diversity in research 2022:

  • Immigrants made up 34 per cent of researchers and academic personnel in academia.
  • Over 60 per cent of the researchers had their background from Europe, where Germany and Sweden were among the largest countries.
  • Descendants accounted for 0.7 per cent of researchers in 2022, compared with 0.5 per cent in 2018. 
  • Almost 50 per cent of the researchers in natural sciences and engineering had an immigration background. 
Figure: Number of researchers/academic personnel by immigration category and gender, by field of research and development in 2021. (Source: SSB, Research personnel)

More statistics from 2018:

  • The majority of the immigrant researchers, about 80 per cent, are internationally mobile researchers, who come to Norway with a higher education degree, and several also with a PhD degree.
  • Of the 190 descendants of immigrants among the researchers in 2018, about 40 were employed in permanent positions (tenure), including physicians who participate in R&D at the health trusts and researchers in the institute sector. The other 150 were employed in temporary research positions or recruitment positions.
  • There has been a major change in where the postdocs are recruited from: The number of male postdocs from Asia, Turkey, Africa, Latin America, Europe (excl. EU/EFTA), Oceania (excl. Australia and New Zealand) has more than tripled between 2007 and 2018, and the number of women from these regions is more than four times as high.
  • Women accounted for 44 per cent of the researchers with an immigrant or descendent of immigrant background in 2018. Among other researchers, the female share was 50 per cent.
  • The highest share of immigrants and descendants of immigrants were in postdocs in the higher education sector (59 per cent), postdocs in the institute sector and research fellows in the higher education sector (42 per cent).
  • Nearly half of the researchers in temporary positons have an immigrant background (48 per cent). 
  • Medical and health sciences, technology and engineering and natural sciences had the highest number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants amongtheir researchers and academic staff in 2018.
  • The proportion of immigrants and descendants of immigrants among women has been significantly higher than the equivalent for men in natural sciences in the last years.  

Read: Being a foreigner is no advantage. Career paths and barriers for immigrants in Norwegian academia
Study conducted by NIFU in collaboration with the Work Research Institute (AFI) (2016)

Statistics Norway (SSB, 2023)
Statistics on Diversity in Research: Statistics on immigrants and descendants of immigrants in Norwegian research and higher education institutions (NIFU)
The proportion of immigrants in Norwegian academia continues to grow (NIFU Insight 2020:19)

Researchers and social background

In March 2024, Statistics Norway published statistics on class divides in the research sector for the years 2012–2022 for the first time:

  • In 2022, 66 per cent of researchers had parents with higher education, a higher proportion than similar figures for students (60 per cent) and the general population (32 per cent).
  • Age: The youngest researchers have the highest proportion of parents with higher education.
Proportion of researchers with parents with higher education, divided by age. The statistics are for the years 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2022 (Source: SSB, Research personnel).
  • For the institute sector, the proportion of researchers with parents with a higher education is somewhat higher than in the university and university college sector, with 68 per cent and 65 per cent respectively in 2022.
  • Gender: The proportion of researchers with parents with higher education was similar to both genders, about 66 per cent in 2022. By comparison, this applied in 2012 to 55 per cent men and 59 per cent women.
  • Researchers in medicine and health sciences have parents with the highest education.
  • Institution: There are major differences between educational institutions: The highest level of education for parents is found at the university hospitals and the University of Oslo with 76 per cent, and lowest at Nord University with 51 per cent.

Higher education

  • In 2022 the total number of students enrolled in higher education in Norway was 298 000, a decrease of 7000 students from the year before.
  • 40 per cent male and 60 per cent female completed higher education in 2022.
  • While there is a high share of immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), there is a low share of immigrants represented in the teacher educations in Norway.

Proportion of students in the age group 19-34 years with different backgrounds:

  • 27 per cent of Norwegian-born men with immigrant parents and 37 per cent of women were in higher education.
  • For the rest of the population, the figures show that 17 per cent of men attended a university or college in 2021, while almost 26 per cent of women studied.
  • Among those who have immigrated themselves, 10 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women studied at a university or university college.

Credits and graduations from higher education


  • Women take more credits than men. 
  • Women accounted for just over 60 per cent of the completed programmes at bachelor level.
  • Among those who completed education at master's level, the female share was 58.5 per cent.
  • The proportion of women with a long education is approaching the proportion of men with a long education.

Sources: Statistics Norway:
Students in higher education
Credits and graduations from higher education
Completion rates of students in higher education

Diku – the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education: Status report for higher education 2023 (in Norwegian)


More statistics

Statistics Norway (SSB) develops and presents statistics from the higher education and research sector. You can find more statistics on their web site.

See also: 

International statistics

See She Figures 2021

Publications by the KIF Committee

Check out policy briefs and reports in English: The KIF Committee's publications.