Human resources

Arion Bank’s Human Resources Policy aims to create a positive and motivational work environment and to support our employees in their work and private lives. There is a strong emphasis on attracting and retaining outstanding employees and helping them develop professionally and personally. We create equal opportunities and place importance on improving people’s skills in a performance-driven culture. Together we aspire to understand and meet the needs and expectations of our customers because their experience is the heart of Arion Bank.

Human Resources Policy

Arion Bank's Remuneration Policy

Arion Bank’s AGM annually approves a remuneration policy for the company, which outlines the main objectives and goals to guide the Bank’s Board of Directors and Executive Management when it comes to employee remuneration.

According to the remuneration policy approved by the Bank’s AGM in 2021, Arion Bank strives to offer competitive salaries so that the Bank can attract and retain outstanding employees and that jobs at the Bank are sought after by qualified individuals.
When implementing the policy, it must be ensured that excessive risk taking is not encourage but rather supports the Bank's long-term goals and its healthy operation. The remuneration policy is an integral part of the Bank's strategy to protect the long-term interests of the Bank's owners, its employees, customers, and other stakeholders in an organized and transparent manner.

Implementation of Arion Bank’s Remuneration Policy in 2021

Moving forward through a year of change

The year 2021 was a year of change for Arion Bank. A new strategy was introduced at the beginning of the year and a new cornerstone value was added to those which have guided our business over the last few years. The latest addition, “we find solutions” emphasizes the solution-oriented mindset that we want to characterize our employees.

Covid-19 continued to leave its mark on our working environment, and yet again our employees surpassed all expectations and showed what they are made of. The Bank’s results last year underlined how much we achieved in partnership with our customers. The Bank established a policy on working from home in order to meet employees’ calls for a more varied working environment and greater flexibility. It is vital that our employees are happy at work and that there is a healthy work-life balance. The results of surveys amongst our employees on the balance between their work and private lives were much better than last year, and we believe that more flexibility and variety played a key role in this respect.

In mid-year it was announced that Arion Bank and Vörður would bring their partnership to the next level, and this resulted in various changes for the employees of both companies. Vörður moved into the Bank’s headquarters at Borgartún 19 and the building had to be adapted to accommodate the increase in numbers. While the integration of the financial and insurance businesses has been a complex and time-consuming task, it has been rewarding to see the dynamism and ambition shown by our personnel. During the autumn we also made changes to the Bank’s organization, established a new division called Customer Experience and welcomed two new members to the executive committee. We warmly welcome our new colleagues and look forward to the journey ahead.

During the year we adopted a new equality and human rights policy, as well as a 3-year equality action plan. One of the Bank’s aims is to achieve equal gender ratios in committees, departments and job families and also to encourage people to take parental leave irrespective of gender. In support of this aim, the Bank guaranteed that employees will receive close to 80% of their salaries during parental leave for six months. We are optimistic that this measure will enable more fathers to take paternity leave and bring more women into management in the future. We also introduced a new policy on retirement. The aim of this policy is to give employees some flexibility and to accommodate their wishes as retirement approaches.

While 2021 was undeniably a challenging year, we managed to complete a number of highly important projects. The Arion Index indicates that job satisfaction is high and that people are proud to work for Arion Bank. We enter the new year full of optimism and look forward to dealing with the challenges which come our way.

Helga Halldórsdóttir, Head of Human Resources

Diversity and equal opportunities

Arion Bank employs a dedicated team of employees from a diverse range of backgrounds. The average age of employees is 42 and the average length of employment at Arion Bank is approximately 11 years. The Group had 619 full-time equivalent positions at the end of the year compared with 648 at the end of 2020.

Employees are free to choose whether to join a trade union and which union they wish to join and most are members of the Confederation of Icelandic Bank and Finance Employees (SSF). The vast majority are also members of the Bank’s employees’ association, Skjöldur.

Gender ratio
Age of employees


Arion Bank has adopted a clear policy on equality and human rights and the CEO is responsible for implementing this policy area at the Bank. The CEO serves on the Equality Committee with representatives of the employees. During the year a new equality and human rights policy was adopted, as well as a 3-year equality action plan. The objective of the policy and action plan is to create an environment where people of similar education, work experience and responsibility have equal opportunities and terms, irrespective of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, origin, nationality, skin colour, age, disability or religion or other factor. The Bank’s new action plan places greater emphasis on balancing gender ratios at the Bank, not just at management level but throughout different job families, committees and business units.

One of the measures announced was to guarantee employees close to 80% of their salaries during parental leave. The Bank also encourages parents to exercise their right to parental leave to the full. In the long term the aim is to increase the number of fathers taking paternity leave, further reduce the gender pay gap and achieve gender balance at management level and in different job families.

Gender ratio – management

Since 2015 the Bank has had an equal pay system and equal pay certification. The aim is to eliminate the gender pay gap and promote equality. In 2018 we became the first Icelandic bank to get the Ministry of Welfare’s equal pay symbol, and a pay equity analysis indicated that the unexplained gender pay gap was 2.4%. In 2021 the Bank underwent an audit which showed that the gender pay gap was 0.1% in respect of total salaries. Our target is for this figure to be below 1% and we are therefore extremely proud of what has been achieved in this area. In addition, the Bank has set the target that the median value of total salary payments to men compared with the median value of total salary payments to women will fall to below 1.3 over the next three years. In 2021 the median value of total salary payments to men compared with total salary payments to women was 1.43 The main opportunity to balance the median total compensation is to improve gender equality in different job families.

Arion Bank is a signatory to UN Women and UN Global Compact. These are international declarations and treaties under the auspices of the United Nations which companies and institutions can use as guidelines when implementing responsible working practices, irrespective of geographic location or sector, and primarily concern advancing gender equality. The Bank is also a signatory to the UN Global Compact initiative on corporate sustainability and is committed to working in accordance with the UN’s 10 principles on sustainability, including human rights. Arion Bank’s focus on equality supports the UN’s fifth sustainable development goal which concerns gender equality.

The Bank has also signed a declaration of intent concerning the Equality Scale, an initiative created by the Association of Icelandic Businesswomen (FKA). This year Arion Bank was awarded the Equality Scale for the second successive year. Organizations awarded the Equality Scale have all achieved gender balance at the top level of management, and the goal is to have a gender balance of 40/60 at this level.

Arion Bank’s equality and human rights policy

Employee welfare and satisfaction

Employees are regularly sent a survey called the Arion Index. The purpose of the Arion Index is threefold:

  • To measure how employees feel about their own work, working environment and well-being at work
  • To serve as the voice of employees to communicate ideas quickly and easily
  • To identify opportunities for improvements and to respond to problems quickly and securely

The results of the Arion Index tell us that employees of the Bank are generally happy at work and satisfied with their working environment. The average score in the Arion Index in 2021 was 4.46, compared with 4.39 in 2020 (on a scale from 1-5). One of the Bank’s key performance indicators is for the employee net promoter score (eNPS) to show an upward trend. This indicator states whether employees would recommend the Bank as a place of work to their friends and family on a scale of -100 to 100.

Employee Net Promoter Score

Zero tolerance of bullying

Communication at the work place should be based on mutual respect and it should be ensured that employees feel comfortable. There is zero tolerance of bullying, gender-based or sexual harassment or other types of violence. Every year surveys are conducted among employees to investigate whether incidents have occurred of bullying, gender-based or sexual harassment or violence, and results of surveys conducted in 2021 show that all such incidents were well below the average value in the benchmark database. The Bank has an anti-bullying team which is responsible for overseeing the Bank’s policy, procedures and training in connection with tackling bullying, gender-based or sexual harassment or violence. Training on this policy area was available to all employees during the year.

A healthy workplace

We endeavour to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. Permanent employees are given the opportunity to undergo regular health checks, get the annual flu jab and the Bank also works with professionals who can advise employees on how to improve their health. Another way in which the Bank promotes good health is to provide grants, such as sports grants, grants for spectacles and for seeing a psychologist.

The Bank has adopted a health and safety policy, the goal of which is to improve the quality of life and the working environment of employees and to ensure full compliance with health and safety legislation.

Health and safety policy 


Arion Health Index


of employees used the transport allowance


of people invited to a health check accepted the offer


of employees
used the sports grant

Training and professional development

We continued to offer a diverse programme of training and professional development despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Our training and education programme is divided into three topics: professional skills, laws and regulations, and personal skills. The majority of courses were held via Teams with good results and the employees are generally satisfied with this arrangement. Three company-wide meetings were held during the year, where the management provided updates on the Bank’s strategy, key performance indicators, main targets and focuses.

In addition there are weekly meetings for all employees at which key current events are discussed, presentations of the Bank’s financial results and company days. Employees are also encouraged to attended conferences, courses and lectures outside the Bank.

Education and Training Policy


Training and educational events for employees available during the year


Digital lectures in the Bank’s training and education programme


Number of training and educational events each employee attended an average 


Number of digital lectures each employee listened to on average