Human Resources and Equality

Job satisfaction measured high in 2020, despite the many challenges posed by Covid-19 and the fact that the majority of employees suddenly had to work from home.

Support for the team during a pandemic

Our human resource management was put to the test by Covid-19 in 2020. We needed to take health precautions for employees while ensuring reliable operation and good service. Measures to prevent infection were put in place as early as February, in line with guidelines from the Civil Protection Authority. In late March, most of the team usually stationed in down-town Reykjavík had begun working at home. Front-line employees in branches and other units, who, due to the nature of their work cannot work at home, were divided into groups that did not interact. Within a very short time, around 550 employees were working at home through remote equipment. Work, performance and efficiency surpassed expectations, and the team spirit was not dampened by these difficulties.

We placed a great deal of emphasis on open communication of information to the team and ensured continued, albeit remote, contact. To support our employees’ psycho-social needs, we boosted the supply of educational material and advice on the home-office reality on Workplace, our internal communication channel. Various social events were streamed on Workplace and instruction, advice and encouragement to engage in training and outdoor activity posted. A survey of our employees in October 2020 showed that employee pride and satisfaction has never been higher, indicating the success of our actions. Around 92% of employees deemed Landsbankinn's response appropriate.

The full consequences and impact of Covid-19 have yet to be fully felt and understood. What we do know is that the experiences of 2020 have taught us many lessons about home-office work that will undoubtedly lead to permanent changes. Employees now expect to be able to continue to work from home, at least in part. Over half of our employees say that they would be interested in continuing to work at home in part and consider this a realistic scenario. It will be interesting to watch these developments in Iceland. In many cases it has become clear that jobs previously thought intrinsically linked to the workplace can in fact be performed elsewhere.

The figures in this chapter apply to Landsbankinn only and do not include subsidiaries.

The Bank’s HR policy

We employee a team of exceptional individuals with a varied background. The Bank’s HR policy emphasises job satisfaction, a positive work environment and effective job development.

Morale never better

Each year, we carry out a detailed workplace audit in the first half of the year and a second, less comprehensive review in fall. The latter, dubbed the "health check" is intended to follow up on the goals for improvement set in the wake of the workplace audit. Together, these two surveys provide important indication of employee feelings and views on the workplace. The outcome in 2020 showed that job satisfaction and pride is high and has never scored higher. The same can be said for morale, which has never been as good, according to the surveys.

Growing importance of sustainability

Every year, Landsbankinn measures employees’ attitude towards the Bank’s sustainability platform with a survey that includes a question about its importance to the Bank’s operation. In the past three years, sustainability has been gaining in importance. In 2020, the importance of sustainability is ranked 4.5 out of 5.

A wider view on equality

In the past, we have focused on the different aspects of equality issues. We have sharpened our focus in recent years, introducing programmes such as the Equality Indicator, and we have worked systematically to foster a good and healthy workplace culture.

We consider equality, human rights and the diversity of the human spectrum at various levels of our operation, including in the hiring process, in ensuring equal job opportunities, collaborations and in deciding who represents the Bank.

Equality in strategy development and wage decisions

Landsbankinn has a clear equality policy. Emphasis is placed on ensuring equal job opportunities and that no jobs are earmarked by gender. It is important to ensure equal pay for equally valuable work. Our aim is to achieve a 40/60 gender balance in all levels of the work hierarchy, and we have been successful in all areas save at the level of heads of department.


Balance between work and home

We are focused on ensuring well-being in the workplace and that employees can balance work and home life. We think that job flexibility will increase even further with the experience gained in the pandemic.

Equal pay certification

Equal pay certification entered formally into effect in March 2019. We monitor these developments closely and information about any pay gap is reported to the Executive Board monthly. Prior to gaining legally required equal pay certification, the Bank had twice been awarded the golden seal of PwC's Equal Pay Audit, initially in 2015, first of the domestic banks. Regression analysis of December 2020 wages reveals a 1.2% gender-based wage difference. Efforts to close the wage gap are on-going and our aim is to reduce it to zero. Each and every wage decision has regard for impact on the wage gap.

Gender equality

Sustainable development goal No. 5 - gender equality - is one of the UN’s three SDGs we work systematically to attain.

Equality Indicator

Our participation in the Equality Indicator dates back to 2018 and we set goals to 2022. All employees participated in this wide-reaching project, analysing the status of equality at the Bank. We will continue on this journey under the Equality Indicator, assessing progress and examining goals.

Goals for 2022 set based on Equality Indicator

Job development and mentor system. Establishing solutions to help employees strengthen their job development trajectory.
Role models. Gender breakdown of representatives of the Bank.
Culture. Ensuring that processes related to EKKO are clear and credible and that employees receive regular instruction about EKKO.
Education and instruction. Events on equality issues and educational campaign for employees.
Hiring process. Work towards eliminating unconscious prejudices in personnel appointment

Equality in the hiring process

A register has been maintained of the gender ratio of applicants in all hiring processes and information about final hiring decisions. Management has been instructed on the pervasiveness of subconscious prejudices in hiring and ways and means of counteracting them.

Equal opportunities for job development and continuing education

We are focused on ensuring that everyone enjoys equal education opportunities. A development and mentor system was created to help employees strengthen their job development trajectory. Here regard was had for balancing the gender ratio in management positions. The Bank’s workplace audit included questions on equal opportunities in the workplace.

Equality in internal and external communication

We are mindful of the importance of role models. Over the past couple of years, we have systematically registered who represents the Bank in the media, in conferences and meetings outside the Bank. We also register authors of articles published on our website. This has proven a good frame of reference to maintain an overview of persons representing the Bank and in recent years, the gender balance of representatives of the Bank has been fairly good.


 We have shaped a contingency plan for bullying, gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and violence (EKKO). All employees have been educated on the subject and workshops have been held for managers. Awareness on the subject has increased at all levels and professional handling of issues ensured. Employees can speak to independent external parties on sensitive matters. We measure the frequency of events, experience and notifications as part of the annual workplace audit.

Equality and diversity in collaborations and marketing

 We are mindful of equality concerns, human rights and diversity in marketing material and collaborations. Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of Reykjavík Pride since its inception and we are careful about the gender balance when choosing young musicians to work with in connection with Iceland Airwaves, to name a few ventures.

Equal access to app and website

During development of Landsbankinn’s app, accessibility was taken into account from the design process up in consultation with stakeholders. We consider it important to think of accessibility in the entire design and development process. The same goes for work on Landsbankinn’s new website, where the aim was to ensure equality of access.

Equality for employees of foreign origin

 We wish to be a desirable workplace for people of a diverse origin. To better support employees from abroad, with a first language other than Icelandic, we offer Icelandic language instruction in collaboration with professional teachers, designed to fit the needs of each employee.

Support for female entrepreneurs

To foster business relationships with companies under female ownership, including small companies and women innovators, we have in collaboration with Svanni - Women's Loan Guarantee Fund, issued loans to women in business, jointly guaranteed by the fund and the Bank.

International commitments to further equality

We have signed international commitments on sustainability intended to increase equality, work on climate matters, reduce poverty and enhance access to education and opportunities for women and girls. Such commitments include the UN PRI, the UN Global Compact and UNEP-FI PRB.

Integrated and modern culture of learning

In recent years, changes in the work environment have had a high impact on competency development. Technological advances, guidelines on sustainability and environmental concerns, have had a significant impact on the corporate attitude towards responsibility and human resource development. Our work environment calls for organised education and for employees to be mindful of their own job development and knowledge, and to seek more diverse paths to further their careers. Our education programme has been adapted to these needs and is based on an integrated and modern culture of learning.

Education programme in 2020

In 2020, we worked systematically on educating and informing employees about the changing work environment and the impact of new viewpoints. We carefully tailored the education programme to support our employees’ work, ensuring interest and diversity, and opted for a variety of forms such as lectures, courses and electronic platforms. The programme was accessible through the Bank’s education system which allows employees to study at their leisure. An increasing number of employees has opted for these channels with the supply of online courses and more innovative means of study increasing rapidly in recent years. Workplace and the Bank’s external website have also become a fixture in the dissemination and knowledge pursuit of employees, such as through podcasts, articles and practical information. Employees are also given the option to study with other continuing education providers at their own volition.

Effective job development

A group of employees was in 2020 offered the opportunity to participate in a project on effective job development. The project aimed to support up-and-coming leaders and experts within the Bank to acquire so-called 21st century skills. Participants attended courses and individual targeted training sessions. There were 36 participants in the project, each of whom received on average 2 hours of targeted training.

Educational events
Electronic educational events
completed electronic education

21St century skills

Ability to learn and createDigital literacyProfessional and personal strengths
Critical and solution-oriented thinkingInformation literacyFlexibility and adaptability
Creativity and innovationMedia literacyInitiative and independence
Communication skillsTechnical literacySocial and intercultural relations
Collaboration skillsEfficiency and reliability
Leadership skills and responsibility

Covid-19 reduced the Bank’s educational activities considerably this year.

Dividing the courses into categories reveals that most offerings fall under systems and software. This category offers teaching in the systems and programmes used in the Bank’s operation. The increase in courses in the category is a result of increased electronic education.

Active in education

The Bank’s education programme includes courses that are obligatory for employees. Not counting obligatory instruction, 63% of employees attended some job-related instruction offered by the Bank during the year.

On-site education suffered from the impact of Covid-19 as the year progressed. This explains the considerably lower participation rate in 2020 as compared with previous years.

Participation rate by division

Considering the situation in 2020, participation in the education programme was good across the Bank’s divisions.
Asset Management & Capital Markets had the highest participation rate (91%), then Personal Banking (75%), with IT (36%) and Risk Management coming in last (39%). The participation rate reflects education and electronic instruction that is not mandatory yet on the Bank’s education programme.

Participation in education by job title and gender

We are focused on ensuring that everyone enjoys equal education opportunities. Overall, women were more active in education than men in 2020. Female managers in branches were most active (100%) followed by female front-line specialists (83%). Participation by female specialists in headquarters (72%) is considerably higher than of their male counterparts (34%).

Management training

Education and training for management is a large part of the education programme. Managers have among other things been offered tailored management training as part of targeted training. Around 20% of managers took advantage of targeted training in 2020. Participation by managers in education is generally good, or around 70%.

Orientation for new employees

Employees who are starting work at the Bank are required to complete mandatory training online. In orientation for new employees, we cover all main areas that are important in the first weeks and months of work, such as rules of procedure, code of ethics and tests in the Bank’s rules. Managers are responsible for ensuring that new employees complete this training within a set time and for ensuring appropriate training in the workplace.

Preparation for retirement

Every year, employees planning to go into retirement in the next two years are offered the opportunity to attend a retirement course. The aim is to assist employees in preparing for a turning point in their lives, contributing to better health, satisfaction and well-being after retirement. Sixteen employees completed the retirement course in 2020.

Study and continuing education grants

Landsbankinn’s employees can apply for grants to fund their studies or continuing education. There are grants for longer courses of study, such as university entrance diplomas, university diplomas or legal certification, as well as shorter courses attended outside of work hours. Sixty-seven employees received financial support for courses attended alongside work and 332 received grants for continuing education in 2020.

Quality certification of education programme

The Bank’s education programme has been certified under the European Quality Mark since 2018. EQM is a quality assurance mark for all providers of non-formal learning throughout Europe. Landsbankinn is the only Icelandic financial undertaking with a certified education programme.


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