The BBC has been forced to reveal the salaries and names of all presenters and talent who make more than $190,000 a year as the entertainment and news provider works to close its gender pay gap by 2020 — and unfortunately, it seems as though there’s an almost insurmountable amount of work to do. Of 96 on-air stars named on the list, approximately two-thirds were men and one-third were women. Collectively, the top-five salaries paid at the BBC — all of whom were men — were worth three times the salaries of the five best-paid women.
In a number of cases, it was revealed, male and female presenters on the same shows were being paid vastly different sums. Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys, 73, for instance, is being paid approximately $840,000 by the BBC — meaning that he was being paid approximately half a million dollars more than the show’s highest-paid woman presenter, Mishal Husain. Fellow Today co-host Sarah Montague’s salary was omitted from the report entirely — implying that she must be earning too little money to even make the list.
Other notables to be omitted from the list due to their low pay included BBC ‘s chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, and BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour presenters Jane Garvey and Jenni Murray. Maitlis’ talent agency has already spoken up about the discrepancy, describing the pay gap as “beyond madness” and noting that agents had been in negotiations “for months” with the BBC over her contract. Garvey, for her part, said she was “incandescent with rage” after discovering the difference between how men and women were being paid at the BBC.
“If the BBC thinks we’re not talking to each other, we are,” said Garvey, noting that she had begun talks over how to improve the situation with at least five other female radio presenters. “Woman have learnt a few things, and I would argue it’s a good time to start acting on what they’ve learnt.”
“Eddie is really good at what he does,” she added, alluding to PM presenter Eddie Maire on BBC Radio 4, who earns up to $450,000 a year. “But whether he is twice as good … as Jenni Murray and I are, or more than twice, I don’t know, because he earns more than twice as much as we do.”
Asked about whether the BBC would raise women’s salaries in order to combat the gender pay disparity, BBC director-general Tony Hall said only that there is “more to do” before adding that the network’s funding from the government — and therefore the BBC budget — would remain “flat” for the next five years.