Is there a BBC Gender Pay Gap?

Today details of how much the BBC pay the familiar faces across TV and radio were released to the media. There were names like Chris Evans, Graham Norton and Gary Lineker amongst the long list of stars and we found ourselves knowing how much the BBC paid them in the last financial year.

The list only showed the pay rate, not the breakdown of what job role paid what amount or where the bulk of the pay came from. So, Chris Evans, the highest earner on the list, earned over £2.2million in total from his Radio 2 breakfast show and hosting Top Gear for a series.

The main headlines compared Chris Evans to Claudia Winkleman, the highest paid woman on the list at just under £500k. There was an undercurrent asking how the highest paid woman and the highest paid man could have such a massive difference in their incomes from the BBC.

But, Claudia Winkleman does one radio show a week compared to Chris Evans’ daily show. They were both on a TV show – with Claudia Winkleman co-hosting Strictly Come Dancing. But, aside from that they are two very different people, with different audiences, different experience and skills. To me they just cannot be compared.

You see, the issue isn’t that men get paid more than women in the BBC. It’s that there are MANY more men on the TV and radio than women, many of these are household names, familiar faces and people who can command a high fee for the work that they do. But, like with any job, people will only ever get paid what someone is willing to pay them.

Two thirds of the list of 96 stars earning over £150k a year were men and I think this says more than how much the people on the list get paid. The issues here go deeper than just women getting paid less than men – it’s about the fact that men often get picked first for jobs, that many people expect men to be in certain roles – with Dr Who and the social media storm after that being a prime example. The BBC – and many other companies – need to employ more women.

But the media shouldn’t be focusing on the gender divide where the pay is concerned – as, in all honesty, this isn’t about gender – or race, as some media outlets looked at the different racial breakdown of the stars on the list. The media should really be focusing on the ridiculous amount people get paid for the jobs that they do.

Is Chris Evans worth £2.2million to present a radio show and a TV show? I think that’s like asking whether the top Premiership footballers are worth the amount they get paid – their employers seem to think so.

Claudia Winkleman was paid nearly half a million pounds for her work on the BBC last year. Co-hosting a TV show and doing a radio show once a week. That is a great salary in most people’s books and not one that many people would be sniffing at. She gets paid well regardless of her gender so should we be asking for her, and other female stars,  to be paid more? Or should we really be asking for the BBC to look at a pay cap, employing stars at a rate that they are worthy of, a fee they deserve and one that will be in line with their colleagues – regardless of race or gender?

The BBC, instead of being negotiated into paying familiar faces more and more each year should maybe look to employ more rising talent, or even go with their second or third choices for different roles who don’t command such massive fees. That way our TV licence fees could be stretched further, we could see more shows on the TV, more variety and a wider range of stars – all paid at a level that most would be more than happy with.

For one Chris Evans you could get nearly four Claudia Winklemans. It really is a no-brainer for me.



  1. July 19, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    The salaries are insane, but then to get the big names who draw in more people to the BBC over their competitors I guess they need to offer a reasonable amount. I guess if you equate Chris Evans’ salary to the per person cost a day (that’s 9m listeners) to his radio show over a year, it’s probably worth it. Also, I’d much rather watch sport on BBC with the people they choose, than sport on ITV etc with all the ads. Although having said that if you find good people for lower amounts who knew what they were talking about etc, then why not give new people the chance as you say.

  2. July 20, 2017 / 8:09 am

    Oh man, did you hear the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 yesterday? They were talking about this, and he was interviewing his boss about the subject and it made for such awkward listening. Fair play to him for talking about what must be a REALLY sensitive issue for them all. It’s the only time he hasn’t made my blood pressure go through the roof. I honestly thought the BBC would be more forward in their treatment of men and women, and whilst I know you can’t compare apples to pears, you can compare Fiona Bruce to Huw Edwards and see the difference!

  3. July 20, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    Well that’s all part of what the gender pay gap is. It’s not just about women being paid less for men in like for like jobs it’s about women not getting the same opportunities, the same promotions etc. It’s all part of the same issue. We will see more and more of this come out now that Gender Pay Gap Reporting regulations have come out for large organisations. They all have to declare their figures by April 2018. For me I think it’s a disgrace that the BBC is paying stars so much when people are forced to pay for a license. We don’t even watch the BBC and pay more for it than our commercial Netflix account. There was a call for it in the days when it wasn’t biased but the last election showed that to be a joke! I think it’s high time for them to raise their own funds and scrap the license. Perhaps then they would be more responsible with their spending.

    • July 20, 2017 / 2:25 pm

      Yep, that makes complete sense. And I haven’t really thought about it until now but I doubt we make use of the TV licence either – we mainly watch Netflix too! x

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