BBC salary report reveals worrying gender pay gap, but is the first step in tackling the problem

20 July 2017 -

Chris EvansThe BBC’s top male earner brings in four times the amount of the corporation’s highest paid female star

Jermaine Haughton

Publishing the names and salaries of its highest-earning actors and presenters, the BBC’s annual report for 2016/17 exposed a significant gender pay disparity in the public broadcaster’s top jobs.

Some two-thirds of the top earners are men, and the highest-paid woman, TV presenter Claudia Winkleman (£450,000), earns less than a quarter of highest paid male presenter Chris Evans' £2.2 million plus salary.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was the second highest paid BBC star earning between £1.75m and £1,799,999, while third placed entertainer Graham Norton is paid between £850,000 and £899,999 per annum.

Exemplifying the problem, broadcast journalist Huw Edwards is paid over £550,000 per year, substantially more than his fellow news anchor Fiona Bruce, who earns over £350,000 – despite doing the same role on the evening news programme.

CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton welcomed the BBC’s decision to openly disclose their existing gender pay gap, and said that the public reaction provides extra incentive for other British firms to re-evaluate their remuneration policies.

 “The BBC has taken a very positive step in publishing the salaries of their biggest stars, but sadly what this list shows is that the gender pay gap is as prevalent in broadcasting as it is in most other industries,” she said. “Just one of the BBC’s top ten earners is female, and this clearly sends out the wrong message about gender equality, particularly to young women who are looking enter the world of TV and media.

“As an organisation that prides itself on balance and fairness, we welcome the commitment from the BBC’s Director General Tony Hall to close this gender pay gap by 2020. Rather than knocking today’s announcement, others can learn how transparency is a vital first step to tackling the stubborn pay gap, enabling targets to be set and practical actions to be taken.”

Get involved: Join CMI Women

The report also revealed an ethnicity bias and pay gap at the public broadcaster, with the highest male and female earners all being white. In fact, no black and minority ethnicity actor or TV personality was paid more than £300,000 a year.

“It is also apparent from the list, that like most businesses, the BBC is falling short when it comes to the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME), with no BAME individuals among the top ten earners,” Wilton said. “However, there are 10 BAME individuals in the full list of 96, which equates to just over 10%, and this is far higher than the UK’s top businesses, as shown in our Delivering Diversity report.”

Since April this year, UK employers with more than 250 staff have been forced by law to publish their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap statistics each year on their own website and on a government website.

The BBC’s has been the most high-profile so far, sparking a national wide debate and drawing criticising from female BBC employees and the Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mind the Gap

CMI’s Mind The Gender Pay Gap study suggests the BBC is not alone in its issues, with a significant gender pay gap endemic across most UK industries.

For examples, figures published by TSB on Tuesday show that it pays men 31% more than women on average. Startlingly, the mean difference between what the bank pays men and women in bonuses is 53%, with the bank’s bosses admitting it’s time for UK companies to “come clean” on gender pay gaps.

Analysis of the 2016 National Management Salary Survey of 60,000 UK managers found that men are more likely than women to have been promoted into senior and higher paying management roles in the past year, with no progress made on reducing the 23% gender pay gap.

This is significantly wider than the 18.1% gender pay gap in 2016 reported by the Office for National Statistics – taking into account all employees in the UK, both full-time and part-time.

For those in the ranks of director and CEO, men have an average basic salary of £131,673, some £16,513 more than their female peers. At middle-management level, the average full-time equivalent salary for male managers now stands at £38,817, £8,964 more than the average female manager’s.

Additionally, men are more likely to receive bigger bonuses, and the 2016 survey found that 43% of men received an annual bonus in the previous 12 months, compared to just 36% of women.

Find out more about the gender pay gap, and what can be done to solve the problem, here

Powered by Professional Manager