Gender Pay Gaps – further reflection on the BBC pay debacle
I have been spending time looking at some of the 2017 Gender Pay Gap Reports in some detail and will be writing on them shortly but so far I have not found anything that has disappointed me as much as the huge gender pay chasm that was revealed in the publication of the BBC’s most highly paid stars last July.
However that may be because none of the companies have voluntarily published any actual earnings figures which is how what got the BBC into such trouble. The interesting fact is that despite the BBC UK having a relatively low gender pay gap of 9% (published following its equal pay audit last year), and nearly half its employees being women almost throughout the organisation, this huge gender disparity of pay in the highly paid quartile can still occur. So we would probably be equally disappointed by actual earnings disparities if other companies did publish them. Judging by the size of some of the reported pay gaps, these senior male executives must be paid very well indeed to skew the results so heavily, even in female dominated companies.
I bring up the BBC pay revelation of last year because it needs ongoing attention, shining a light on what may be happening elsewhere. I found the article written by Sarah Montague in the Sunday Times this week quite heart wrenching. On the face of it this was gender discrimination of the most odious kind. This is not a cut throat profit driven investment bank but a publicly funded organisation that likes to think of itself as politically correct in every way. Complicated remuneration packages have made it very difficult to compare salaries, making inequality of pay hard to establish. But to sit side by side with someone ostensibly doing the same job for so many years only to find he is valued at nearly five times more than you are must be devastating. I will not reiterate her experience but I am glad she has written this and as she says there will be literally thousands of women who are being underpaid compared to their male colleagues without them knowing. It is only by insisting on further transparency than the current gender pay reports require that any of us can know.
Postnote: BBC Worldwide (as opposed to just the UK) published their Gender Pay Gap Report and the gap measured nearer 17%.