Diversity and equality

Elkem is committed to equal opportunities for all our employees in an inclusive work culture. We appreciate and recognise that every individual is unique and valuable, and should be respected for his or her individual abilities. We do not accept any form of harassment or discrimination based on gender, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, cultural background, social group, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, age or political opinion.

Elkem is an international company with a presence on four continents. Having employees to match this global presence, with diverse cultural and individual backgrounds, is necessary for the company to succeed. Elkem is a local employer and aims to employ local management and staff wherever we are present.

Following up the principle of non-discrimination is the responsibility of each unit manager. Elkem has an internal notification service (whistle-blowing) that employees can use to note their concerns about possible breaches of Elkem’s ethical guidelines or other possible unethical or illegal actions. This can be used to alert management of instances of discrimination.

The #metoo campaign on sexual discrimination raised awareness and discussion on several Elkem locations through 2017, 2018 and 2019. A pilot project about diversity and inclusion was been developed in 2018, and the first workshops were held in 2019. The focus of the workshop has been different kinds of discrimination and possible ethical dilemmas in our work day. The pilot will be evaluated and considered for the organisation as a whole.

Incidents in 2019
There was one incident reported to corporate level in 2019 regarding diversity and equality, which was handled according to company procedures. The incident was partly due to cultural differences and was managed through coaching and training of the involved parties.

Female share

The process industry is generally male-dominated. Women are, however, increasingly expressing an interest in working in our industry as increased automation leads to less heavy manual work and a high focus on environment, health and safety gives a better working environment and more sustainable operations. Elkem values gender diversity and aims to achieve a better gender balance year on year.

Total female share

2016 2017 2018 2019
22% 21% 25% 25%

The percentage of female employees in Elkem has remained stable and low at 25% the last years. Elkem experienced an increase in female share of the company to 25% in 2018 and 2019, due to the integration of the Chinese plants of Elkem Xinghuo Silicones and Elkem Yongdeng Silicon Materials. In 2019, Europe, Middle-East and Asia was the region with the highest female share, with 34.2%. 

Elkem saw an increase in the share of female leadership goals in 2019. One concrete action to improve our share of female leaders is to actively encourage women to apply for management positions internally. At least 50% of participants invited to Elkem’s leadership training programmes are women. The female participation rate in the programme in 2018 was 32%, an increase from 25% in 2018.

59% of all Elkem employees are age 30-50. 

Age distribution of Employees in Elkem 2019
< 30 years 16%
30-50 years 59%
>50 years 25%


Board of directors and management

Elkem’s board of directors consists of 11 members from Germany,
France, China and Norway. The female share of the board is 36%.

Two of the eleven board members are in the age group 30–50
years old. The rest of the members are 51 years or older. The corporate management team of Elkem consists of nine people from France, Norway, Germany and Brazil. The management team consists of eight men and one woman. One of the members is in the age group of 30 to 50 years old and the rest are 51 years or older.


Turnover is an indication of attractiveness and how well Elkem manages to retain our employees. The turnover is the so called unwanted leavers, the number of people that left Elkem that does not included retirement and similar. Total turnover in the Elkem group was 7.7% in 2019, an increase from 5.4% in 2018.

Region 2017 2018 2019 Female share of turnover 2019
Americas 7% 8% 11% 2%
Europe, Middle-East and Africa 6% 8% 10% 3%
Asia 3 3% 5% 1%


New hires
Region 2017 2018 2019 Female share 2019
Americas 72 149 157 19%
Europe, Middle-East and Africa 253 241 327 34%
Asia 72 188 155 31%


The female share of new hires was over all 29.7% and the female share of leavers was 16.9%. The numbers indicate a positive effect of Elkem's efforts to attract and retain female employees. 

Collective bargaining agreements

Elkem fully endorses employees’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. These rights give employees the ability to create changes and find solutions with their employer and have a long tradition and strong standing in some of the countries where we operate, like Norway and France. Elkem is also present in regions where collective bargaining agreements and freedom of association is less prevalent. Our corporate CSR policy clearly states that all employees should receive information about the ability to organise and collectively bargain with management, to the extent that it is legally possible. This topic is of high importance to Elkem.

Elkem complies with local statutory requirements regarding freedom of association in all countries where we are present. Pursuant to the provisions of the Norwegian Companies Act, employees have two representatives and three observers on the board of Elkem ASA.

The level of organisation varies from country to country. In some countries the operators are organised under one collective bargaining agreement. In other countries there are no unions represented in Elkem’s entities. Elkem supports the right to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining and in general has good cooperation with the unions. This also includes our suppliers’ employees, were information about this is found in contractual agreements. Information about the number of employees covered collectively by bargaining agreements is currently not available.

Region 2019
Americas 77%
Europe, Middle-
East and Africa
Asia 50%
Total 61%