Human resources

At Arion Bank we strive to create a positive working environment, where employees feel comfortable and can strike a healthy balance between their family responsibilities and their professional duties. Lean management is applied to enhance efficiency and there is a culture of constant improvement throughout the Bank. Equality is a fundamental value and this is reflected in the diverse team of employees we have at Arion Bank. The Bank has established an equal pay policy to ensure equal terms for equally valuable jobs, and the Bank was awarded the equal pay symbol by the Ministry of Welfare in the autumn of 2018.


Diverse team of employees

Arion Bank employs a diverse team of people with wide-ranging experience and varied educational backgrounds. In 2018 the average number of full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) was 820, compared with 830 at the end of 2017. FTEs therefore decreased by 10 on average between years, and at the end of 2018 FTEs numbered 794.

Gender ratio - management
Age of employees

The average age of Arion Bank employees is 41.8. The average length of employment at the Bank is 10.4 years, but many people have worked at the Bank and its predecessors for much longer, some up to 45 years.

Gender ratio - employees

Education, professional development and welfare

Arion Bank aims to develop and maintain the professional expertise of its employees and to ensure that they have the knowledge required by their work and by law. Arion Bank endeavours to provide a wide range of education and training through diverse channels, including an ambitious program of courses, digital education, leadership training, service training, and conferences at home and abroad. We try to ensure that our employees receive the appropriate training at the right time, using methods best suited to their particular needs. Employees are encouraged to ensure they have the required knowledge and skills and show initiative in seeking out the appropriate education and training. We place great importance on giving employees the opportunity to grow and develop in their work.

The average amount of training received was 6.8 hours per employee in 2018.

Employee training – by gender
Average number of hours
Management and employees
Average number of hours

During the year we set out to improve the Bank’s service culture by introducing a new service strategy that we call A Plus Service. We build upon the lean management techniques which have been implemented across the Bank in recent years. We aim to create a culture of learning and improvement, seeking to do better today than we did yesterday. As we roll out A Plus Service, it is especially important that our employees receive training on our products and services, and to do this we take full advantage of the broad knowledge base within the Bank and also bring in outside instructors to hold courses.

  • Developing the leadership skills of management continues to be a priority. We began this in 2014 and since then a total of 83 employees have completed leadership training. 78% of these 83 employees are still at Arion Bank.

  • At the end of 2018 there were 133 employees at Arion Bank who had gained a qualification in stockbroking. Currently 11 employees are studying for this qualification.

  • Since 2012 the Icelandic Financial Services Association has been offering specialized courses for financial advisers with the aim of improving customer service. A total of 76 Arion Bank employees have now completed this course, 83% of whom still work at the Bank. 

  • The average cost of acquired services for educating and training employees in 2018 was ISK 103,000 per employee.

  • During the year 87 educational events were organized, a total of 200 hours, and 47 new digital lectures were broadcast.

Every month a digital survey is sent to employees, which includes questions on their well-being and opportunities to develop in their jobs. The response rate is generally good, and on a scale from 1-5 the average score in 2018 was 4.36.

Arion Bank is committed to providing its employees with a safe and healthy working environment. The Bank does its utmost to look after the well-being of its employees and pays for health checks, eye examinations, ergonomics workplace assessments, sports grants and a company doctor service for its employees.

Human Resources policy

By creating a positive working environment we can retain and attract the best employees. Together we aspire to understand and meet the needs and expectations of our customers because their experience is the heart of Arion Bank.

The Human Resources policy was updated at the end of 2018 and a core principle is to ensure that the hiring process is professional and that every position is occupied by the right person. We aspire to create a working environment where employees feel comfortable and satisfied in their jobs. We encourage employees to maintain and add to their knowledge and skills, and we provide opportunities for professional development. We maximize our human resources by having a diverse team of employees and guaranteeing equal opportunities and conditions. We have a team of dedicated managers with a clear vision for the future and we strive hard to develop their leadership skills. We aspire to provide good quality service and to carry out our work attentively. We seek to inspire confidence and act professionally in all our dealings, while exceeding the expectations of our colleagues and customers.

The Human Resources Policy on the Bank's website


We make a difference

We say what we mean

We get things done


Further on Arion Bank's Cornerstones

Equal Opportunities

Arion Bank has a clear policy to ensure equal opportunities and conditions for all employees, irrespective of their gender, sexuality, origin, nationality, race, age, disability or religion, or other factor. Any kind of sexual discrimination is contrary to the Bank’s equal opportunities policy and equal opportunities legislation. The CEO is responsible for implementing equal opportunities at the Bank and he is represented by an equal opportunities committee comprising Bank employees.

Arion Bank adheres to an equal opportunities action plan, which was reviewed in 2018. The objective of the plan is to ensure equality and equal opportunities for all employees, irrespective of their gender. The plan covers a wide range of topics, including the right to work, terms of employment, professional development and positions on committees and in working groups. The tasks of the equal opportunities committee are divided into eight categories: Equal pay; equality in committees; vacant positions; working groups; professional training and further education; instruction on equal opportunities; coordinating work and family life; combatting bullying and sexual harassment. 

Since 2014 the Bank has supported the UN Women/UN Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles. 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.

Arion Bank becomes first Icelandic bank to receive Ministry of Welfare’s equal pay symbol.

Three years ago the Bank acquired equal pay certification which confirms that salaries are decided on the basis of objective criteria and not according to an employee’s gender. Arion Bank complies with the equal wage management system standard ÍST 85 and in 2018 was awarded the Ministry of Welfare’s equal pay symbol. We are delighted to have reached this latest milestone on the journey towards equality.

Communication at the work place should be characterized by mutual respect, and we have zero tolerance for any inappropriate behaviour. The Bank has a policy on countering bullying, harassment and violence, and one of our cornerstone values is to say what we mean. It should be the concern of all employees if they experience inappropriate behaviour towards their colleagues and they should notify the management of any inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

An anti-bullying team oversees the Bank’s policy against bullying, harassment and violence. A process has been set up for receiving complaints from employees about inappropriate behaviour. A formal assessment process is then carried out by an independent body and this is backed up by an action plan to combat inappropriate behaviour.

Arion Bank’s focus on equality supports the UN’s fifth sustainable development goal which concerns gender equality.

Arion Bank respects human rights and operates in accordance with Icelandic law and international obligations.

At the end of 2016 Arion Bank became a signatory to the UN Global Compact initiative on corporate sustainability. By doing this the Bank has committed itself to working in accordance with the UN’s 10 principles on sustainability, including human rights.

Equal pay policy

Arion Bank complies with the Gender Equality Act No. 10/2008, with subsequent amendments, and all other legislation and rules designed to ensure that women and men are not discriminated against and that people receive equal pay for equal work.

In support of the equal pay policy Arion Bank complies with Icelandic standard ÍST 85:2012 on equal wage management systems. According to the standard, pay levels should be predetermined and should not allow for any direct or indirect sexual discrimination or discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion or nationality. The policy applies to all employees.