At Novo Nordisk, we believe that being a sustainable employer is at the heart of being a sustainable business. But what do we mean by sustainable employer? For us, it involves offering an inclusive and diverse working environment where everyone can bring their whole self to work. It’s essential - and no easy task. It involves a lot of hard work and many crucial conversations.

We 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 decision-making and stronger risk-management. And, it is simply the right thing to do.

These beliefs are core to who we are and an integrated part of our Novo Nordisk Way.


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 share of women in leadership positions has increased from 42% to 44% as of Q4 2022.
  • 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 39% during the same period.
  • The Inclusion Index increased +4%-p from 2021 to 2022. Of the 39,127 employees who completed the survey in 2022, 82% rated the inclusion statements favourable, compared to 78% in 2021. 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 questions.

If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. In Novo Nordisk, we expect all leaders to role model inclusive leadership by building diverse teams of complementary strengths, valuing diverse perspectives and creating psychologically safe spaces, where all employees can contribute fully and feel free to speak up. 

Continuing with our tradition of strong leadership development, we are investing resources in formal and on-the-job experiences to help our leaders grow to be inclusive leaders.

The practise of inclusive leadership starts with self-awareness, reflection and connection with the team, which is why we encourage all our leaders to start engaging in inclusive leadership dialogue sessions and courageous conversations.

To mitigate bias, we are continuously reviewing our processes and policies at every stage of the employee experience.

When we recruit, our leaders are expected to build teams of complementary strengths. To make this ambition a reality, we strive to ensure a diverse panel in our recruitment processes, as well as a diverse slate of candidates. We are continuously challenging ourselves regarding assumptions about what is needed for a position. This is an integrated part of creating an inclusive process, where everyone is evaluated equally and fairly, leading to more diverse hires.

In addition, we conduct yearly equal pay reviews and take mitigating actions in case of any identified pay gaps. Out of the 34,000 positions1 covered in the pay review in 2021, we identified 1% with an equal pay gap2 and have taken corrective action. Of the positions where an equal pay gap was identified, 152 are occupied by female employees and 131 are occupied by male employees, indicating that there is no structural gender bias in the way we pay. Further, we are ensuring a strong pipeline of diverse talents via succession management and talent programs to name a few.


1. Excluding some populations and locations due to local regulations such as in the US where a local process is in place
2. “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

We are investing resources in listening to understand how our employees and future employees define inclusion in the workplace. We will ensure minimum global standards for paid maternity leave and paid parental leave for non-birthing parents. In 2021, we announced a new global parental leave policy. From January 2022, we will offer a minimum of eight weeks 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. For more information see the video below.

We are enhancing our flexible working policies, which require us to recognise and support flexible approaches to working, making us more inclusive for current and future employees.

Since it’s the practise of inclusion that enables us to unlock the potential of diversity, it is essential to collect data. In 2021 we introduced our global “Inclusion Index” as part of our annual employee engagement survey. The index is a numerical indicator of how our employees rate the state of inclusion at Novo Nordisk. In 2021, 78% of employees rated the statements about inclusion favourably. The score is below average when benchmarked against other highly engaged organisations. As a result, we have encouraged all leaders to engage their employees in dialogue around how to improve local inclusion and to identify concrete actions.