Joel Muckett 5 Oct 2017 05:25pm

Female BBC staff paid nearly a tenth less than men

Female BBC employees are paid 9.3% less than their male counterparts, the corporation’s gender balance report has shown

The report, which was assured by Big Four firm EY, published yesterday, was conducted after only a third of the BBC’s 96 highest earners were found to be women, with the top seven all being men.

It also revealed that women made up more than half (58%) of the lowest pay grade – the only pay grade where they were the majority.

Despite these figures, the BBC are still ahead of many organisations, as its pay gap is less than the UK average of 18.1%.

“Fairness in pay is vital,” BBC director general Tony Hall said.

“We have pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020, and have targets for equality and diversity on our airwaves,” he said.

Hall added that the BBC had more to do, as he wanted it to become an “exemplar” of equal pay.

An equal pay audit, conducted by PwC and Eversheds, was released alongside the report and found no evidence of “systemic discrimination against women” at the corporation.

However, those with on-air talent contracts or who worked freelance were omitted from it.

Sir Patrick Elias, who oversaw the audit, said it “does not, and could not, categorically establish there is no discrimination in relation to groups or individuals”.

In instances where men and women were paid differently for the same job, Elias said it was an issue of “fairness” rather than sex discrimination, but he noted there were several issues that affected both genders.

“A lack of consistency or transparency in the application of the principles for determining pay understandably breeds suspicion about the process, and generates a sense of unfairness,” he said.

“It is important that procedures are tightened up.”

Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers said that the BBC needed to address possible cases of unequal pay in addition to publishing its gender pay gap.

She added that the BBC should be fully transparent, particularly with women who have been directly affected “so that any inequalities can be addressed as quickly as possible."