This needs to change…
After considerable pressure from the Government to increase the transparency on pay, the BBC has released its annual report revealing how much its stars are actually paid.
With the incomes coming out of the licence fees paid by the public, the Government argued that the people have the right to know how much the corporation is paying its stars, forcing the BBC to release a list of the presenters, actors and entertainers who earn more than £150,000 a year.
The list of talent (who according to figures earn more than the Prime Minister) includes 96 people, with the revelation of their names already met by backlash.
The BBC fought hard against releasing the information, with fears that it will create in-fighting, as well as give other networks the power and information to poach BBC talent.
Top of the earnings list is TV presenter and Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Chris Evans earning an annual salary of at least £2.2 million, closely followed by Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker who rakes in between £1.75 and £1.8 million a year.
Other top earners were BBC1 chat show host Graham Norton (at most £899,999), BBC Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine (£700,000 - £749,000) and broadcaster John Humphrys (at most £649,999).
The biggest controversy to come out of the revelation however is the huge gender pay gap, with the figures showing that men make up two thirds of the highest paid talent. In fact in the top ten BBC earners, there were only three women: Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman (earning at most £499,999), The One Show presenter Alex Jones (at most £449,999) and news anchor Fiona Bruce (at most £399,999).
If you thought that sounded bad, brace yourselves for this one - the top four male BBC presenters collectively earn £5.5 million a year whilst the top four female BBC presenters collectively earn £1,749,996.
'The BBC pay row is a vivid illustration of a phenomenon that social scientists have been going on about for years,' explained Mark Learmonth, Professor of Organisation Studies at Durham University Business School. 'How men are over-valued and women undervalued even when they do exactly the same thing.'
He continued: 'We rarely examine these prejudices but men have come to be culturally associated much more strongly than women with what is "prestigious", "deep" and "important". These associations are regularly dismissed - especially by powerful men. But if the BBC controversy has contributed something positive, it is to show even more convincingly that these factors do operate with substantive and unfair effects.'
The BBC has been quick to admit that it's got some way to go in terms of equal pay, with BBC director general Tony Hall releasing a statement to launch the annual report.
'On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the Civil Service,' the statement read. 'We have set the most stretching targets in the industry for on-air diversity and we’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.'
It continued: 'At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women. We’ve set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women. And it’s already having an impact. If you look at those on the list who we have hired or promoted in the last three years, 60% are women and nearly a fifth come from a BAME background.'
'Meeting our goal on this is going to have a profound impact not just on the BBC, but the whole media industry. It’s going to change the market for talent in this country.'
It's time for change we think.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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