Pay at Amnesty International

Pay at Amnesty International

Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization with a global income of c£215m (€278m), employing c.2400 staff in 70 Countries.

We believe it is important to strive for transparency and accountability throughout all of our work, including our approach to pay.

In keeping with the 2014 report on executive pay by the National Council for Voluntary Organizations we have outlined our approach to pay for members of the Senior Leadership Team.

Our performance impact report contains further information about Amnesty International and the impact we achieve.

Our pay philosophy

We are acutely aware of our reliance on members funding and of the need to deliver value for money and genuine human rights impact on the ground.

We offer attractive and competitive terms and conditions to all our staff, in order to ensure we can attract and retain the best human rights expertise in law, research, activism and campaigning, communications and fundraising.

We recognize that we are able to attract staff at a discount to market rates for similar roles in other sectors. When setting levels of pay, particularly for the senior roles, this level of discount is taken into account.

Our approach to pay reflects the multiple countries in which we employ our staff and the values-based culture of the organization overall.

How pay is governed

The International Board, whose members are directly elected by the International Council Meeting, is responsible through its Remuneration Committee for ensuring an objective approach to the management of pay and benefits that is free from any bias or potential for actual or perceived conflict of interest. The Remuneration Committee decides upon the salaries of the Senior Leadership Team.

The Committee comprises the Board Chair, two Board members and one independent expert. It meets at least twice per year. Amnesty International works to ensure:

  • Reward packages are affordable to the organization
  • Our pay and approach to pay is non-discriminatory
  • All roles are benchmarked using a job evaluation system to ensure equity and transparency
  • We do not make any additional salary payments by way of bonus or long-term incentive schemes
  • All of our salaries are taxed in accordance with the relevant local regulations
  • We benchmark benefits such as pension, or in certain jurisdictions medical cover, to ensure they are in line with recognized practice and equitable with the benefits offered
  • A performance management system ensures there is a link between pay increases and a standard of performance being met. To be eligible for an increase individuals will need to have achieved a rating that, at least, meets performance expectations with a higher level of increase being awarded to individuals who exceeds performance expectations in the review
  • We review pay levels on an annual basis with any increases subject to a test of a) affordability b) performance and c) the market
  • We report annually on the ratio of pay both from our 1) highest and the median UK-based salaries; and 2) the highest to lowest UK based salaries
  • We report annually on the total of the five highest salaries paid to members of the International Secretariat wherever they are based in the world, in addition to showing the breakdown in bands of all higher paid staff salaries (paid above £60,000) as presented in the AI Ltd audited annual accounts in compliance with the UK Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP)
  • We benchmark roles at the 50th percentile against relevant comparator charity sector organizations with a broad-banded range of -15% and +15%, where the top of this range would be the target salary for a high performing individual

Latest pay data

  • The figures are based on the statutory accounts of Amnesty International Limited for the year ended 31 December 2016. Please note that the expenses and salary costs have seen an increase in GBP from previous years due to the decreased value of the pound following Brexit.

    • Highest five salaries

    The total of the five highest salaries[1] paid to members of the International Secretariat (IS) for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 was £679,760 (2015: £606,771, 2014: £618,281[2]).

    • Ratio between highest and lowest/median salaries

    The ratio of the highest salary to the lowest3 is 7 (2015: 5.8, 2014: 6.9).

    The ratio of the highest salary to the midpoint4 salary of the grade structure is 4.1 (2015: 3.4, 2014: 4.0).

    • Severance payments above £100k

    There were no severance payments over £100k incurred during 2016.

    • Allowances paid to the Board (if any)

    During the year, no non-executive director of the company received compensation or remuneration (2015: Sarah Beamish received £541 for loss of earnings). No contributions were paid to the pension scheme in respect of directors’ qualifying services (2015: £nil), and no director is accruing benefits under the defined contribution scheme (2015: none).  No directors are accruing benefits in relation to the previous defined benefit scheme (2015: none).

    • Expenses reimbursed to the Board

    Expenses of the Board members are reimbursed to cover travel, accommodation, subsistence for attending meetings and other costs associated with the performance of their duties. All claims reimbursed were in accordance with the IS Expenses Policy.

    A summary per Board member of total expenses from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 is provided below. The difference in amounts between the Board members reflects a number of variables including, among others, the number of meetings attended and the difference in travel costs due to location differences.

    Board Member




    Guadalupe Rivas


    Mwikali Muthiani


    Nicole Bieske


    Paul Divakar Namala


    Rune Arctander


    Sarah Beamish


    Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah


    Carolyn Hardy


    Jacco Smit


    Shahram Hashemi


    Andre Banks


  • The below table shows a more detailed breakdown of all higher paid staff salaries in 2015:
  Number of staff paid in each band:
per Annual Accounts to December 2015
Number of staff paid in each band who
did not receive a redundancy payment
Number of staff in each band
who received a redundancy payment
60,000 - 70,000     38 37 1
70,000 - 80,000 19 17 2
80,000 - 90,000 7 6 1
90,000 - 100,000 2 2 -
100,000 - 110,000 8 7 1
110,000 - 120,000 2 1 1
120,000 - 130,000 1 1 -
150,000 - 160,000 - - -
170,000 - 180,000 1 1 -
200,000 - 210,000 - - -
Total 78 72 6

NB: This chart shows the number of staff paid in each salary band per the audited Accounts to 31st December 2015. It separates out those London staff who took redundancy as a consequence of the impact of the ongoing transition programme ‘Moving Closer to the Ground’. We have shifted from a large London base, to open offices in cities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. These offices are major hubs for our investigations, campaigns and communications. They enable us to respond more quickly and effectively to human rights violations wherever they happen in the world.

Further details of all our staff salary and pension costs can be found in the audited Report and Financial Statements

Updated: June 2016