In the BBC’s annual report, Chris Evans has been revealed as the best paid male star, earning between £2.2m and £2.25m and Claudia Winkleman, revealed as the highest paid female star, earning between £450,000 and £500,000.
The new clause in BBC’s royal charter means they are now the only major broadcaster that must reveal the salaries of all staff earning more than £150,000.
Many viewers have expressed their shock at both the amount their favourite presenters are paid and the lack of diversity shown between male and female co-stars and the lack of representation of presenters from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.
Tony Hall, the director of the BBC, has defended the pay levels and gender disparities, noting that “the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service” and is pushing “further and faster than any other”, however recognises that there is more to do in order to achieve equality targets set for 2020.
He has also said that, “if you look at those on the list who we have hired or promoted in the last three years, 60% of women and nearly a fifth come from a BAME background”, which he hopes will have an impact on the media industry and market for talent as a whole.
Karen Bradley, the Culture Secretary, has argued that a benefit of revealing the information would be to ensure that the BBC produced “value for money for the license fee” and although the salaries appear extremely high, the BBC pay below market rates both at management and broadcasting level. She also added that “from the anecdotal evidence that we have seen, people are asking for their pay to be reduced because they are very conscious of how this looks to the public.”
As a result of this review, the BBC could be at risk of facing allegations of sex discrimination unless they can prove that the difference in pay between men and women is due to the higher paid male presenters carrying out work that is not the same or “of equal value” or represents ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’ and is therefore justified under the Equality Act.
If you are an employer or an employee, and you believe you are affected by issues raised from this review or should you require any further information, please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.