The BBC said the gender split among its top-earning talent is narrowing as top on-air male talent take pay cuts. The announcement Wednesday followed an outcry over salary figures that revealed a chasm between top on-air men and women at the British pubcaster.
The BBC is now aiming for a 50-50 split in the proportion of top earners by 2020. It said Wednesday the gap is now 60-40 in favor of men, down from 75-25 two years ago. There were, however, still only two women among the top 20 on-air earners.
The BBC revealed last week it had closed the gender pay gap across the Corporation, which employs 20,000 people. The talent pay figures unveiled Wednesday apply to on-air talent whose salaries are funded by the BBC license fee and exceed £150,000.
Veteran newscaster Huw Edwards, and big-earning radio presenters John Humphries and Nicky Campbell have all taken pay cuts, the Corporation said. The BBC no longer has to break out numbers for all of its talent as it is not required to give details of those working under the banner of its commercial production arm, BBC Studios. BBC sources claimed the overall numbers would actually look better if Studios was included but these are commercially sensitive so are not broken out.
The pay figures revealed Gary Lineker was the top-earning TV presenter. Former soccer player Lineker is currently leading the BBC’s coverage of the World Cup and earned up to £1,759,999. Claudia Winkleman was the top-earning woman, with upper earnings of £379,999. The number does not include her pay for presenting “Strictly Come Dancing.”
Edwards at up to £529,999, and Humphrys and Andrew Marr at up to £409,999, were the top-earning presenters in news and current affairs. Chris Evans, the former “Top Gear” presenter wad the highest earning overall BBC star last year, pulling in up to £2,249,999. This year the BBC disclosed he earned up to £1,669,999 for his radio work.
In the executive ranks, director general Tony Hall was the best paid, earning up to £459,999. Addressing the talent pay issue, he said: “What will success look like? It will look like 50-50. I think we have made an amazing amount of progress in a short time.”