Equality and Diversity

Teamwork and Trust

At Norðurál, we do not discriminate on the basis of gender, origin, religion or sexual orientation. Diversity makes us stronger and helps us in our pursuit of excellence. We’re committed to equal opportunity in our hiring and career development practices, and to equal compensation and benefits for comparable contribution to our operations. Norðurál conducts its business activities in a framework of respect for human rights and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations on equal rights and protections.

Aluminum production has tended to be a male-dominated field – “a man’s job” – but we see no good reason for this to continue into the future. We work hard to increase the number of women working in every department of our company. In some areas this is admittedly somewhat slow going, not least because of shortages of female applicants for vacancies, but in others we are well on our way to achieve equal representation. We’re proud of our progress so far, and Norðurál is far from being a workplace where women are in a supporting role to a workforce dominated by men. We work as a team, on a basis of equality and mutual respect.

Experience and Stability

We value the fact that several of our employees have been with the company almost from its first day of operation, in 1998. We have managed to keep employee turnover at modest levels with ambitious programs of compensation and benefits, workplace safety and comfort and opportunities for career development and growth. The average length of employment at Norðurál is 7.6 years.


The Right Age

We suspect that, at 37.5 years, the average age of our workforce is a fraction on the high side compared to many other large workplaces in Iceland. Much of our work and procedures requires specialized training and specific skills, and it is invaluable to the company that every shift is manned by teams combining highly experienced employees with beginners. Our newest employees bring freshness to the workplace while learning the ropes from our older hands.


The Largest Workplace in the West of Iceland

Norðurál is of key importance to the local economy, in particular, the town of Akranes and it surroundings. Out of a workforce of approx. 650, four hundred live in or around Akranes, a town of 7,400 people. The residence of our employees has varied somewhat over the years, and seems to be influenced by a variety of external factors, from housing costs to the general state of the economy. Local residency at the end of 2020 by about 70% of the workforce is historically fairly high.

Equal Pay Certification

Norðurál implemented the Equal Pay Standard ÍST85:2012 and has received Certification with the PwC Gold standard. The certification verifies that Norðurál employees are paid salaries according to responsibility, expertise and work contribution, not gender or origin.

A Persistent Male Majority

We work constantly to improve our male/female ratio, but our employees are still around 75% male. As one would expect, the proportion of males is highest in the manufacturing section of the company, where four out of every five employees are men. One-third of our managers and specialists is female and at top level management the genders are represented 50/50. Norðurál is has an Equal Pay Certification and a detailed Workplace Equality Program.


Class of ‘20

The year 2020 saw 51 new hires for permanent positions at Norðurál. In addition, 69 youngsters gained valuable work experience in our immensely popular summer program. At year’s end 2020 the total number of permanent employees (including part-time staff) was 651, making Norðurál the largest workplace in the Western region, and one of the largest workplaces in Iceland.