Sunday 27 May 2018

BBC review finds no evidence of ‘gender bias’ in pay decisions

The review said there was a ‘lack of clarity and openness about the basis for pay decisions’ at the broadcaster.

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A review commissioned by the BBC has found a 6.8% gender pay gap – but “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”, the corporation has said

The review, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said there was a “lack of clarity and openness about the basis for pay decisions” at the broadcaster.

Of the BBC staff who are on-air presenters, editors and correspondents in news and news-related areas, the review cited a 6.8% gender pay gap, lower than the 9.3% BBC average.

In lower-profile roles, the gap is 12.6%, “driven mainly by broad pay ranges and by the mix of men and women at different levels”.

But the review found “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”.

BBC Women have already said they have “no confidence” in the review and that they have been “excluded from the process”.

Women at the BBC have said that they had faced “veiled threats” while trying to broach the subject of equal pay.

The BBC said that it would “accelerate our work” to achieve 50:50 representation across the corporation by 2020.

“Through the year, we will continue to make changes to our on-air line-ups at a faster rate,” the BBC said.

BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: “The BBC believes in equality. No-one should be paid differently because of their gender.”

He added: “Today’s report does not find evidence of gender bias in decision-making, but it shows that we have real and important issues to tackle, particularly in some areas of news and current affairs, and I’m determined to get it right. The plans we’re setting out today go further and are more important steps in modernising the BBC and making it fairer.”

Last year, a list of the BBC’s biggest earners, topped by Radio 2’s Chris Evans on more than £2 million, revealed a gap in the pay-packets of its best-known male and female stars.

The BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her role in protest at inequalities.

Gracie and Lord Hall will appear in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Wednesday.

Broadcasters John Humphrys, Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine reduced their salaries.

MPs preparing to question Lord Hall have said there is evidence the BBC has a “deeper cultural problem” with gender pay than even the gap revealed in its list of top-earning stars suggests.

A previous pay report, commissioned by the BBC, concluded there was no evidence of systemic gender discrimination.

BBC Women said it did not “give a true picture of pay inequality” at the corporation.

The BBC has proposed a £320,000 cap on its news presenters’ salaries after an outcry over gender pay inequality, according to BBC News.

Press Association

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