The BBC is set to claim a significant boost in the number of women making its list of top-earning on-air stars – and will reveal star salaries to within a few thousand pounds of their actual pay.
The gender disparity in pay at the corporation sparked widespread criticism not least from more than 40 of its own high-profile female presenters, including Clare Balding, Fiona Bruce and Emily Maitlis.
Last year, it faced a major backlash after revealing that only a third of its 96 top earners were women and that the top seven are all men, with Chris Evans the best-paid of the corporation’s big names on at least £2.2m.
Gender pay gap reporting
All companies and some public sector bodies in Great Britain, except Northern Ireland, with more than 250 employees had to report their gender pay gap to the Government Equalities Office. All companies were due to report by 4 April 2018.
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women. The figure is expressed as a proportion of men’s earnings. According to the ONS, the gap between what UK male and female workers earn – based on median hourly earnings for all workers in 2017 – stood at 18.4%, up 18.2% from a year earlier. The mean gender pay gap is 17.4%.
Commonly known as the average, the mean is calculated by adding up the wages of all employees and dividing that figure by the number of employees. The mean gender pay gap is the difference between mean male pay and mean female pay.
The median gap is the difference between the employee in the middle of the range of male wages and the employee in the middle of the range of female wages. Typically the median is the more representative figure, because the mean can be skewed by a handful of highly paid employees.
On Wednesday, the BBC will reveal that the pay of its top stars will include more women and fewer men. In addition, it will publish an unprecedented level of detail about star salaries, increasing transparency by reporting pay in £10,000 bands. The corporation currently reports star pay in £50,000 pay bands.
“The BBC already publishes more information than any other media organisation, but this year we will be going even further,” said a BBC source, before the publication of the corporation’s annual report for the year to March on Wednesday. “There will be more women in the list, and fewer men than the previous year.”
The BBC will also publish details of which programmes’ stars work on to justify their salaries to “ensure that more informed comparisons can be made”.
The corporation also intends to publish a table setting out levels of pay to its top male and female stars as a group – not individuals – in its current financial year to show the “real progress” it has made in boosting underpaid female stars and big name male presenters and talent taking pay cuts.
After the resignation of former China editor Carrie Gracie over unfair pay, some of the corporation’s best-paid male presenters – including John Humphrys, Jeremy Vine, Huw Edwards, Nick Robinson and Jon Sopel – agreed to salary cuts. Gracie settled her dispute with the corporation last month.
“The job is not done, but we are making good progress,” said a BBC source.
What were the top 10 BBC salaries for 2017?
1. Chris Evans £2.2m – £2.25m
2. Gary Lineker £1.75m – £1.8m
3. Graham Norton £850,0000 – £899,999
4. Jeremy Vine £700,000 – £749,999
5. John Humphrys £600,000 – £649,999
6. Huw Edwards £550,000 – £599,999
7. Steve Wright £500,000 – £549,999
= 8. Claudia Winkleman £450,000 – £499,999
= 8. Matt Baker £450,000 – £499,999
= 9. Nicky Campbell £400,000 – £449,999
= 9. Andrew Marr £400,000 – £449,999
= 9. Stephen Nolan £400,000 – £449,999
= 9. Alan Shearer £400,000 – £449,999
=9. Alex Jones £400,000 – £449,000
10. Fiona Bruce £350,000 – £399,999
However, critics will argue that the BBC has, if anything, become less transparent since spinning off its TV production arm, which makes shows including EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing and merging it with BBC Worldwide.
Top earners including Claudia Winkleman, the corporation’s best paid female star, DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles and actors from EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City will disappear from this year’s list.
At least 35 of the 96 stars on last year’s list could fail to appear because programmes they were paid for in the past year are now produced by the new merged entity, BBC Studios, which is now classed as a commercial entity and will not have to publish how much it pays people.
Last year’s list also caused criticism due to some of the high-profile names that were not included. The list only counted remuneration that the BBC determined had been paid directly from the BBC licence fee. This meant it does not include payments to staff through independent production companies that make programmes for the BBC, or payments from BBC Worldwide.
As a result, the list still does not include stars such as Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Question Time’s David Dimbleby, Have I Got News For You’s Ian Hislop, Sir David Attenborough or Alan Sugar.