BBC continues to reduce its gender pay gap

05 July 2019

The BBC has published its gender pay gap report for 2019 which reveals a 6.8% mean gender pay gap for fixed hourly pay as at March 2019, continuing the downward trend from 8.4% in 2018 and 10.7% reported in 2017.

Published well ahead of the 30 March 2020 deadline, the BBC gender pay gap report 2019 also includes voluntary disclosures, such as its ethnicity, disability, part-time, lesbian and gay pay gaps.

The organisation says that its gender pay gap comes from having too few women employed in senior roles and the fact that more women than men are in the organisation’s lowest pay quartile; it believes that 6.2% of its median gender pay gap is driven by these structural concerns. Currently, 43.8% of leadership roles are held by women.

But the BBC says it is committed to closing its pay gap by the end of 2020 and delivering a gender pay gap of 3% or less in each of the BBC’s career level bands. This year’s report shows that the BBC’s ethnicity, disabled, part-time and LGBTQ+ pay gaps already sit within the +/- 3% target.

Other steps the organisation has taken to address its gender pay gap include introducing a flexible-working policy, updating recruitment processes, implementing a mentoring scheme, providing training and support for team leaders and having mixed gender panels and shortlists when hiring. In addition, 77% of the BBC’s job roles are advertised on a flexible-working basis.

Tony Hall, director-general at the BBC says:

“We already have the lowest gender pay gap across UK broadcasters, and it’s significantly lower than the national average of 17.9%, but we can’t be complacent. That’s why, in 2017, I set us a tough challenge of closing the gender pay gap by the end of 2020. It’s a goal which is more stretching and ambitious than for any other organisation because I wanted to achieve real change – and you can see how far we’ve come. When you look at the data in more detail, we have a gender pay gap of 3% or less in each of the BBC’s career level bands. We see the same thing when we look at individual job titles which have similar numbers of men and women in them.” 

But Hall admits there are fundamental areas which need to be addressed before the BBC can reach its target. 

“As we learn more from reports on pay gaps across the UK, we can see there are structural causes which need to be addressed. And it’s a simple structural reason that is driving our remaining gap: we still have too few women in senior roles. This is why our focus, across the organisation, has been on developing senior female leaders and 43.8% of our leadership roles are now filled by women.

“We remain committed to reaching our target. We know this will be challenging. The changes we’re making need to be sustainable in the long-term and not quick fixes that address it in the short-term. That’s why, whilst we continue to compare favourably to most other large organisations, I am determined that we go further and lead the way.”