Recently published figures, which reveal that only a third of the BBC’s top earners are women, while all seven of the list’s top earners are men, have caused a storm in the media, in politics, in recruitment and beyond.
Mind the Gap
Amongst the BBC’s 97 top earners, just one third of the highest paid in the corporation are female. While Chris Evans sits at the top of the tree, taking home a cool £2.2m annually, Claudia Winkleman – the BBC’s highest paid female star – makes between £450,000-£500,000 – less than 25% of Evans’ salary.
Other disparities illustrate the scale of the gap even more starkly. While Gary Lineker makes £1.75m-£1.79m, much-loved female sports commentator Clare Balding’s pay is just 10% of that figure, standing between £150,000-£200,000.
A number of very high profile women within the BBC failed to make the top earners list altogether. Radio 4 Today programme presenter Sarah Montague was one notable omission, earning around £500,000 less than her co-presenter John Humphrys.
PM Blames the Beeb
Many prominent women in politics have spoken out on the issue, including Prime Minister Theresa May who made the following statement in an interview on LBC: “I think what has happened today is we have seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job as the men. I want to see women paid equally with men”.
But what does all of this mean for the recruitment industry? Will the fresh light this scandal has shone on the gender pay gap mean real-terms changes within recruitment and business?
Is Change Coming?
Female employees at the BBC have already written to director general Tony Hall demanding action to close the pay gap. The letter was coordinated by Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey who explained that the signatories were looking for parity, not seeking pay rises: “It’s fairness we are in pursuit of here, not enormous pay rises. We could end up in a situation where everyone takes a pay cut”.
If this scandal helps begin a fresh push to close the pay gap (which currently stands at 18% across the UK), this could be a pattern seen across the country, with top pay for men falling as women’s salaries rise.
In all likelihood, however, the BBC earnings list won’t have so dramatic or immediate effect on recruitment. It may however, keep the ball moving on steady change and improvements. Back in April, before this latest scandal, the Government implemented new rules forcing companies with over 150 employees to disclose their gender pay gaps by law.
With these new rules and BBC’s alarming disparities freshly in the public consciousness, we could see employers starting to gradually chisel away at the gap as female employees feel more empowered to ask for their fair share.
We’d love to get your opinion on the gender pay gap and how you feel this latest scandal might bring about change in the recruitment market, so please drop us a line or leave a comment on our social channels. We’d love to hear from you.