Media organisation the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has proposed a new pay framework for on-air, news-related job roles in order to address pay anomalies.
The suggested new framework follows recommendations made as a result of a pay review conducted by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). The review analysed pay across 800 on-air job roles, including presenters, on-air editors and correspondents who work across the Network News, Radio Continuous Programmes, Nations, English Regions, World Services and Sport areas of the business.
Despite the review confirming there is no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making, PWC’s review did highlight pay anomalies, which the new framework aims to address. These anomalies include too many pay decisions being made at a local level, a lack of clarity and openness around the basis of pay decisions due to the absence of pay ranges, and a slower rate of pay progression for both male and female employees because of a period of pay restraint.
The new pay framework for on-air employees will feature narrower pay bands, cutting the number of contracts and allowances, and setting a clear criteria for how pay reflects skills, experience and audience impact. In addition, some male employees will be subject to substantial pay cuts, while some female and male presenters will be awarded pay increases. The BBC has also confirmed that it will continue to address the 230 pay unfairness and equality cases that have been raised, aiming to conclude these by the summer. Affected BBC employees will be consulted on the suggested new framework.
As part of the proposed changes, the BBC will also strive to maintain greater pay transparency. Where there are more than 20 people in a particular job, employees will be able to see where everyone else is positioned in terms of pay. The organisation has further committed to being clearer when explaining the pay of presenters who are paid more than £150,000 a year. The BBC will also review policies around job sharing and flexible forms of working to ensure these opportunities are readily available, in particular to aid in the career development of women at the organisation.
Currently, 48% of the BBC’s workforce are women, and 42% of its leadership positions are filled by women. The organisation has committed to closing its gender pay gap of 9.3% by 2020, which is also the target date for achieving 50:50 male and female representation across the business.
The review of on-air pay is the latest measure in a series of actions the organisation has taken to ensure equal and fair pay at the BBC. In September 2017, it conducted an equal pay audit across all of its UK staff, and in September 2017, the BBC aligned pay for off-air journalists who work at its BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring businesses with employee counterparts who are based at BBC Network News.
Tony Hall, director general at the BBC, said: “The BBC believes in equality. No one should be paid differently because of their gender. The BBC has a special role representing Britain. That is why we need to be and want to be an exemplar on gender pay, and equal pay.
“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.
“We’ve already made an important start. We’re addressing unfairness in individuals’ pay and want to close the gender pay gap and have women in half of our on-air roles by 2020. Those are big, bold commitments I’m really serious about.
“We are clear we’re going to tackle this and change for the better, and I hope other organisations take the same approach. The BBC can and must lead the way. I am determined that we will.”