Our business is built around our clear purpose: driving change to defeat chronic disease, built upon our heritage of diabetes. To fulfil our purpose, we apply our core capabilities to pioneer the discovery and development of innovative medicines. By making these accessible to patients throughout the world, we aim to lead in all the therapy areas in which we are present, with the ultimate aspiration to prevent and cure disease.

We fundamentally believe that diversity and inclusion drive value for Novo Nordisk by enabling a diverse line of thought, increasing innovation and leading to better and more nuanced decisions and stronger risk-management. In addition, being a strongly values driven organisation, it is simply the right thing to do. These beliefs are core to who we are and an integrated part of the Novo Nordisk Way. You can read more about this in our Diversity & Inclusion policy.

Sharing the data of this period shows our progress so far, as we commit to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Transparency in our D&I data and actions is part of that commitment, as we include key workforce data, actions and progress toward our aspirational targets.

Despite the significant progress we have made, we recognise that this is an ongoing journey, and we must continuously challenge ourselves because the more diverse and inclusive we are, the better we can achieve our purpose, to defeat serious chronic diseases, and, ultimately, drive change for good.

In August 2021, our Executive Management committed to a set of diversity and inclusion global aspirational targets for Novo Nordisk, with the belief that this will ensure leadership accountability and drive change. These global aspirational targets include:

  • Create an inclusive culture where all employees have a sense of belonging and equitable opportunities to realise their potential
  • Achieve a balanced gender representation across all managerial levels
  • Achieve a minimum of 45% women and a minimum of 45% men in senior leadership positions by end of 20251

For Novo Nordisk, gender balance is defined as the range between 45%-55% to leave up to 10% flexibility for women and men while also allowing for non-binary gender, recognizing that some employees may not wish to be categorised.

“To be clear, we are not happy with our current state. That is why we’ve introduced aspirational targets focused on creating an inclusive culture and achieving gender balance.” Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, President and CEO, Novo Nordisk.

Since we launched the D&I Aspirational Targets at the end of the second quarter of 2021 (Q2 2021) we can see the following progress:

  • The global “Inclusion Index” is a part of our annual employee engagement survey; it is a numerical indicator of how our employees rate the state of inclusion at Novo Nordisk based on four statements. Of the more than 47,000 employees who completed the survey in 2023, 82% rated the inclusion statements favourable.
  • The share of women in leadership positions has increased from 42% to 46% as of Q4 2023.
  • The percentage of women in senior leadership positions (defined in Novo Nordisk to include Vice Presidents, Corporate Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents and Executive Presidents) has grown from 35% to 41% as of Q4 2023.

All leaders are expected to serve as role models of inclusive leadership to cultivate workplaces where differences are not only allowed but valued.

To support those efforts, we launched our Inclusive Leadership Principles to provide a clear outline of what inclusive leadership looks like in Novo Nordisk. Those guiding principles apply to leaders, at all levels, meaning that wherever there is an opportunity to lead others, inspire others, or work with others, we have the responsibility for showing up as inclusive leaders.

The six Inclusive Leadership Principles are:

1.     Build diverse teams
2.     Value diverse perspectives
3.     Create psychological safety
4.     Show courageous commitment
5.     Mitigate your bias
6.     Demonstrate cultural awareness

Recognising that inclusive leadership starts with self-awareness, our R&D organisation, decided to take their senior leadership team through a holistic one-year D&I Learning Journey. This journey included training sessions, reverse mentoring, shadow coaching, and executive D&I coaching. Participants were invited to explore how bias, privilege, allyship and an inclusive mindset influence leadership and culture. This training journey led to each leader building their own D&I action plan, ensuring the transition from learning to implementation.

Throughout this journey, it has become clear that we cannot compromise on D&I. We can only be truly inclusive when D&I is embedded into everything we do. This requires us to adopt a hyper-awareness of inclusion. We must ensure that we are always working with our biases to avoid unconsciously excluding.” says Marcus Schindler, Executive vice president of Research & Early Development and chief scientific officer (CSO).

The program is now offered throughout the organisation to ensure that more senior leaders have the opportunity to participate.

We recognise that diversity does not work without inclusion. Inclusion unlocks the power of diversity. To track progress on the state of inclusion in Novo Nordisk, we have introduced our global “Inclusion Index” as part of our annual employee engagement survey. The inclusion index is a numerical indicator of how employees rate the state of inclusion in our organisation. It consists of four statements:

  • I feel free to speak my mind.
  • There is an equal opportunity for people to have a successful career at the company.
  • I feel like I really belong at our company.
  • My team has a climate in which diverse perspectives are valued.

Of the more than 47,000 employees who completed the survey in 2023, 82% rated the inclusion statements favorable, compared to 78% in 2021 and 82% in 2022.

To amplify the importance of inclusion locally, our commercial organisation hosted an “Inclusion Week” with the purpose of enabling employees to learn about inclusion in a psychologically safe space.

The week included various all-employee events and discussions, including a keynote speech on inclusion, as well as the experience of a senior vice president who shared his journey of overcoming bias, and how it shaped his career and impacted the outcome of his leadership.

The week also included an “Inclusion Hackathon” with participants brainstorming ideas that could foster greater inclusion. As a result of this initiative, about 100 suggestions were shared by the participants on how to improve inclusion showcasing a collective commitment to fostering a more inclusive work environment.

The week ended with the launch of a reverse mentoring initiative, promoting mutual growth between mentors and mentees.

To support leaders in role modeling inclusive leadership, the global HR organisation has focused on the unique role of the HR Business Partners (HRBPs) as D&I advisors, since the collaboration of leaders working with D&I and HRBPs who understand people and the organisation is key to business success.

“Diversity and inclusion is a prerequisite for realising our growth potential,” says Mille Borchorst, Senior vice president of P&O Business Partnering. “It must be visible daily – from how we approach strategy execution to how we welcome new colleagues –and throughout their Novo Nordisk careers.”

To put it into practice, D&I is now an integrated part of the HRBP model.

A key aspect of embedding D&I in the employee life cycle, is the integration of D&I in recruitment. While this is important for all positions, it is critical when it comes to hiring for leadership positions to achieve our company’s aspirational targets on gender diversity in senior leadership positions1. This is why we implemented the global D&I recruitment guidelines providing the following recommendations:

  • All leadership positions should be posted openly, both internally and externally
  • Ensure a minimum of two members of underrepresented groups included in shortlists for all eligible leadership positions4
  • Ensure a minimum of two members of underrepresented groups included on interview panels in leadership recruitments

In our local organisation in Region LATAM, ExpaNNding Horizons, an initiative targeted at undergraduate students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, was launched.

Through rotations and mentorship, the trainees connect with local colleagues and internal leaders, gaining valuable insights and experiences. They are encouraged to share their unique life perspectives within the context of the business, providing Novo Nordisk with fresh ideas and perspectives. After completing the program, the trainees become part of the LATAM Talent Review and are considered for roles within the region, reinforcing Novo Nordisk's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and talent development.

This program benefits the students by increasing their competencies and employability, but it also brings significant value to Novo Nordisk through the diverse perspectives they offer making the programme a mutually beneficial “two-way street” of learning and growth.

At Novo Nordisk, we aspire to build an inclusive and diverse working environment by driving gender equality and equal rights for all our employees.

Parental leave is an integral part of the employee life cycle. As a company, we offer policies and procedures for employees to take time off from work to care for their newborn or newly adopted child, providing them with the necessary support and flexibility to balance their personal and professional responsibilities effectively.

In early 2022, we launched a global parental leave policy offering a minimum of eight weeks of paid leave within the first year of becoming a parent to all non-birthing parents globally, regardless of gender.

Our ambition is that recognition of the non-birthing parents' right to leave will result in greater inclusion and equality for parents – both at work and at home.

Learn about our enhanced gender-neutral parental leave for non-birthing parents

At Novo Nordisk, we believe that being a sustainable employer is at the heart of driving change for generations. Our contribution to being a sustainable employer is offering a sustainable, equitable and transparent rewards proposition that ensures everyone feels respected, valued, included and proud to work for Novo Nordisk. That’s why we are committed to creating transparent rewards structures, pay equity, inclusive benefits and living wage globally. We do this by ensuring:

  • Transparency around rewards principles, elements, and processes to ensure confidence in pay decisions.
  • Equitable pay for work of equal value.
  • Benefits that support employees through key life events and addresses the needs of a diverse workforce.
  • Pay that is sufficient to sustain a decent standard of living.

Did you know?

  • In 2023, out of the 49,450 positions covered in the pay review, 285 (0.6%) were identified to have an equal pay gap3. 39% of these cases are planned to be fixed in the next salary adjustment review and the remaining 61% are under the corrective action process.
  • Novo Nordisk has been part of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) since 2022. Led by the International Labour Organization, UN Women, and the OECD, EPIC’s goal is to achieve equal pay for women and men everywhere. By bringing together a diverse set of actors with different areas of focus and expertise, EPIC supports governments, employers, workers, and their organisations to make concrete and coordinated progress towards this goal. EPIC is currently the only multi-stakeholder partnership working to reduce the gender pay gap at the global, regional, and national levels.
  • Sustainable Rewards needs the support of senior leaders to move in the right direction and be aligned with leadership ambitions. Therefore, a group of senior leaders was invited to join the new Sustainable Rewards Council in Novo Nordisk. The purpose of the council is twofold: to give advice and feedback on our sustainable rewards initiatives, and to act as change ambassadors both internally and externally. The Sustainable Rewards Council is co-chaired by Executive Vice president, People & Organisation Tania Sabroe and the Corporate Vice President, Total Rewards & Mobility and includes 6 members representing different geographies and organisational areas.
  • Recently, pay insights have become accessible to all leaders via the Sustainable Rewards Dashboard. The dashboard highlights potential biases and prevents potential pay gaps during key P&O processes, such as salary review and compensation offers, while also shortening the reaction time to any identified biased pay gaps5.

For a number of years, Novo Nordisk’s Danish headquarters has supported a project that looks at talent in a new way - striving to include those who slip through the net of ordinary recruitment processes.

See how we are redefining talent

Senior leadership positions are defined as employees in the global job levels Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Executive Vice President (EVP), Senior Vice President (SVP), Corporate Vice President (CVP) and Vice President (VP).

2 Share of employees rating inclusion statements in employee survey favourable.

3 "Equal Pay gap" is defined as the employee's pay being significantly above or below the expected pay given the employee's job level, tenure, job family and other parameters.

4 Eligible positions are competitive positions that are posted both internally and externally. Internal-only postings and bulk recruitments are out of scope.

5 Any pay gap that cannot be justified by pay principles that are consistently applied.