I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the Government’s schemes to reduce the gender pay gap in recent months, with the ‘Gender pay gap reporting’ deadline set for the beginning of April next year. All positive stuff, and it seemed like the tide was turning. And then the news was announced last week, casting a long shadow over hopes that things were changing.
I am, of course, talking about the release of the BBC’s stars salaries.
The shocking revelation, which found itself splashed across papers nationwide, is that two thirds of the BBC’s top earners are male.
The government required the disclosure of, “people paid more than £150,000 of licence fee revenue” in the last financial year, which revealed that BBC Radio 2 host Chris Evans tops the list, being paid a grand total of £2.25 million a year.
A number that sounds shocking on its own, but when compared to the highest female earner, becomes even more gross. Claudia Winkleman is paid a not paltry, but significantly lesser salary of between £450,000 – £500,000 a year. She is then followed by the One Show’s Alex Jones who earns between £400,000 – £450,000.
Emily Maitlis did not appear on the list, which only details staff earning more than £150,000, however her Newsnight co-star Evan Davis earns at least £250,000. Understandably, Ms Maitlis is now reconsidering her future with the corporation.
And whilst this list gives a good indication of the disparity in pay, the report covers direct payment only. Anyone who is paid via an independent production company is exempt from the list, as is anyone paid by the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Unsurprisingly this means a great deal of male stars’ salaries are still confidential, and those that have been released are likely to be far less than the actual figure. For instance, Graham Norton, who was the third highest paid star on this list, raking in £850,000-£899,999, is likely paid a far greater salary as his flagship show, The Graham Norton Show, is made by his own production company and so not covered in the report.
Additionally, stars such as Matt LeBlanc, who took over Top Gear from Chris Evans, have their salary paid by BBC Worldwide, and so have no figures released. Other independently-made shows include Question Time, The Apprentice, University Challenge and MasterChef, meaning the salaries of David Dimbleby, Lord Sugar, Jeremy Paxman, John Torode and Gregg Wallace also do not appear in the published accounts.
The BBC’s Director General Lord Tony Hall had this to say on the matter, “On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service.
“We’ve made progress, but we recognise that we have more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any broadcaster.”
However, things are unlikely to change next year. The corporation’s in-house production company, BBC Studios, just recently became an independent commercial entity, and so will not have to reveal how much it pays its stars. Coincidentally tying in with the deadline for the Gender Pay Gap Report.