The BBC Pay Gap Scandal
20 July 2017
The BBC has revealed the earnings of some of the biggest names behind its programming. There were plenty of gasps and shock at the weighty pay packets stars such as Gary Linekar, Chris Evans and Graham Norton were taking home. And not just for their combined earnings of over £4 million per year – because hardly any female BBC stars come close to taking home similar levels of pay.
Two thirds of the stars earning more than £150,000 per year are male, the annual salary report notes. This made it particularly awkward for BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker, as he was flanked by female co-hosts Louise Minchen and Sally Nugent (neither of whom earn more than £150,000, whilst Mr Walker is on £250,000). Of the Top 10 Highest Earners, only two are female: Claudia Winkelman and Alex Jones.
This is despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was introduced several decades ago in the 1970s. But, it demonstrates that even ‘celebrity’ women in the workplace are still chasing equality. Across Scotland, the gender employment gap stands at 6.8% whilst the gender pay gap is 6.2%. The female employment rate in Scotland stands at just 69% - and a large factor in this is insufficient access to childcare. The UK government has presented companies with 250 or more staff with a mandate to report on their gender pay gap from 2018 onwards.
To compound the issue further, not a single entry in the Top 10 list comes from an ethnic minority or racially diverse background. The ethnic minority pay gap also far outleaps the gender pay gap – it stands at a shocking 14%. The BBC salary survey seems to confirm these statistics as inescapable, even in larger, regulated organisations.
Whilst newsreaders George Alagiah and Moira Stewart were listed as earning up to £300,000 and up to £200,000 respectively, there was no mention of other TV talent such as Naga Munchetty or Clive Myrie. Many have accused the BBC of institutionalised racism, as they believe the latest salary survey reveals preferential treatment for white male presenters. The outcry has even sparked its own hashtag - #notonthelist – to highlight the many presenters that are not included on the alleged ‘rich list’.
We have spoken at length on our blog about the merits of a diversity agenda and equality within the workplace – no matter what size your business is or the industry you operate in. It has been proven, several times over, that when a business has a workforce that accurately represents its customer base, it is more productive and profitable. Essentially, we like to know that a business shares our values.
It is perhaps this lack of visible role models within certain industries that prevents women or those from an ethnic minority background from considering a career in that field; in this case, journalism or broadcasting.
Equal pay for all is an agenda that must stem from the top; bigger industry bodies such as the BBC need to set the example. Salary surveys such as this one only serve to highlight the overwhelming privilege afforded to white males in the workplace.
If you are looking for guidance on the best approach to achieve equal pay for your organisation, I would be more than happy to speak with you confidentially. I’m also passionate about diversity recruitment and would be delighted to offer advice in achieving a more inclusive workplace. Click here to see my details.
Written By Barry Lee