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“The biggest surprise to me is the amount of people I see jogging or walking or going to the store by walking, even when it’s cold. It doesn’t change from summer to winter,” he says. “You have people who are eighty years old still out doing their normal walk.”
He’s one of dozens of key employees that have been attracted by the potential of green battery company Northvolt, one of Europe’s most well-funded private companies, to relocate to a former mining town more than 750km from the cosmopolitan luxuries of Stockholm.
On top of the 2,500 employees it has now, another 3,000 will be needed for a new gigafactory and R&D centre in Gothenburg, in southern Sweden, being built alongside Volvo. The company is hiring up to 150 people a month from about 1,500 applications — hiring faster than even Swedish fintech giant Klarna, according to Dealroom data.
With a growing number of people wanting to work at a company with a mission, companies like Northvolt have the upper hand. According to a 2021 Deloitte survey, nearly half of Gen Zs and 44% of millennials intend to choose their work based on their personal ethics — and climate change is a high priority.
“I think the main attraction has been that when we started, we were the first in Europe to want to build a completely green battery company. I believe it is still a major draw for people applying to join us. As well as being part of something from scratch,” Borstedt says.
Apart from the 38-person recruitment team at Northvolt scanning the world for talent, the company also benefits from the networks of its employees. Hence a mini-Tesla alumni network of about 40 people that has emerged.
“... Northvolt has to be that same piece of doing something new from scratch, it has a very supportive environment. Peter [Carlsson], is very open and fluid and he has that reach out that he’s approachable at all times.”
But Skellefteå, the city Gorelczenko moved from the US for and where 500 employees work at the factory, gets most of the PR. Traditionally a mining town, the Arctic Circle is barely 200km away.
Northvolt is by no means the largest employer in town. That crown still goes to Boliden Mining, with 1,500 employees. And with Northvolt building a factory in Skellefteå, others are following in its footsteps, like the South Korean company Dongjin Sweden, which plans to build a factory nearby, with the purpose of delivering carbon nanotube slurry, a material used in batteries, to Northvolt.
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