20 July 2017
Like most of the country, I was shocked to see the massive gender pay gap at the BBC in its Annual Report. In the list of its top earners, there are several like-for-like comparisons between men and women who earned hugely different salaries over the past twelve months. There are just two women in the top 12 earners.
It’s absurd; any two people doing the same role, bringing the same value to a business, should be paid the same salary. It’s common sense and there’s no wonder that people are offended by this!
There are many examples at the BBC where they fall foul of this simple and very fair rule.
When you look at actors Derek Thompson (plays Charlie in long-running drama Casualty) and Gillian Taylforth (plays Kathy Beale in Eastenders), the gap is clear. Derek has starred in more than 700 episodes, Gillian in more than 1,000 episodes. Derek earns between £350,000 – £399,999 whilst Gillian earned £150,000 – £199,999). Both flagship actors in flagship roles.
Equally Dan Walker of BBC Breakfast is on the list as earning up to £250,000 whereas co-host Louise Minchin didn’t feature on the list at all. It’s worth noting that Dan has defended the difference stating that they are paid the same for the Breakfast sofa role, his salary is topped up by his work on Football Focus.
Any two people doing the same role, bringing the same value to a business, should be paid the same salary.
When you compare the very top earners, there is an even bigger gap – Chris Evans took home £2.2 million whilst the top-paid female, Claudia Winkleman took home £500,000. However does some of this come down to talent, experience, their fan base and other factors?
Ultimately you have to look at the value that a person brings to a business regardless of gender. Chris Evans is a huge name and has a large following, more so than Claudia who is growing in popularity but significantly below his pulling power and Chris Evans also does a number of early morning stints on BBC radio too. We have to be careful not to paint everyone with a broad brush. Whether that justifies a £1.5 million pay gap, I’ll let you decide.
The news today undeniably changes the way I perceive the BBC as an organisation. Their role to examine and hold to account people of all walks of life really does mean they should have standards beyond reproach when it comes to their own affairs.
I am hoping that they are going to address it immediately. BBC Director General Tony Hall has said today that the BBC is making big strides but has a lot to do. That does sound like this may get swept under the carpet! So come on ladies and gents, pile on some pressure and make your voice heard.
Equal pay for jobs that are identical at least.
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