Public does not understand BBC's reasons for top earnings or gender pay gap, survey finds

A majority of respondents to an exclusive PRWeek survey think BBC pay for its top talent and employees is excessive, its gender pay gap unfair and that the Corporation has not properly explained its reasons for either.

Evans and Winkleman are the BBC's top paid talent but there is a gulf between their earnings (© Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images & Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)
Evans and Winkleman are the BBC's top paid talent but there is a gulf between their earnings (© Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images & Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

The BBC published details of talent and executives earning more than £150,000 in its annual report last Wednesday, including its top-paid presenter Chris Evans, who earns more than £2.2m, to an immediate storm of protest.


Also see: The BBC must go further, faster, on dealing with its gender pay gap


A poll of 1,000 adults across the UK on Monday (24 July) for PRWeek, by digital insights company Toluna, found that 83 per cent of those surveyed thought salaries for the best-paid talent and employees at the BBC are excessive.

In the wake of the storm surrounding BBC pay, it was reported by some media that ITV presenters Ant & Dec earn £30m a year, more than all of the BBC’s 96 top-paid staff combined.

The BBC must compete with other broadcasters, including ITV, Sky, C4 and Netflix in order to attract top talent and the Corporation’s own research – a Mori poll of 1,000 people – suggested that 80 per cent of the public think it should be able to pay for highest quality talent for its programmes.

However, when Toluna asked respondents whether they thought salaries for the best-paid talent and employees at the BBC are excessive compared with those at other television stations, 61 per cent said they were, while 39 per cent said they were not.

And BBC messaging and statements following the pay revelations do not appear to have achieved the necessary cut-through, according to the survey, with 76 per cent of respondents saying they did not think the Corporation had properly explained its reasons for the salaries it pays top talent.

There was also anger over the gender pay gap between BBC talent after it emerged that two thirds of its top paid stars were men, with Claudia Winkleman its highest-paid female celebrity, earning more than £400,000.

More than 40 female BBC stars signed an open letter to BBC director general Tony Hall earier this week calling on him to act now to close the gender pay gap.

The BBC’s gender pay gap stands at 10 per cent, compared with the national average of 18 per cent.

Asked if they thought the gap between salaries earned by men and women at the BBC was fair, 83 per cent said it was not.

Ahead of the publication of its salary figures, the broadcaster sought to engage people by admitting it had a problem with its gender pay gap, but that it was already making significant progress and that it would close it by 2020.

But, once again, the Corporation’s messaging appeared to be falling on deaf ears, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they did not think the BBC had explained how it is addressing the gender pay gap.

 


Click here to subscribe to the FREE public sector bulletin to receive dedicated public sector news, features and comment straight to your inbox.

If you wish to submit a news, comment, case study or analysis idea for the new public sector bulletin, please email Ian.Griggs@haymarket.com

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.