BBC Studios has made progress on gender pay equality and published an action plan for further improvement, but the gap remains in double digits and men still receive far bigger bonuses, on average, than women.
Figures released Thursday also show lower average pay for employees of color and for disabled and LGBTQ+ staff at the commercial and production arm of the BBC.
The 17.6% mean gender pay gap for 2019 is down from the 19.6% posted last year. BBC Studios said that measures to invest in female leaders, specialist training, and flexible working schemes have paid dividends. The gender divide remains pronounced at senior management levels, but the organization said that slightly more than half of senior leadership roles are now occupied by women, up to 52.1% from 49.2% in 2018.
“I am pleased to report solid progress on reducing our U.K. gender pay gap, and these figures show some success towards tackling a vitally important issue, but we still have further to go,” BBC Studios chief Tim Davie said. “We are not complacent about the need for greater change, and will continue to work hard on improving our representation at all levels of the business, with a particular focus on the most senior leadership career bands, in order to reduce our pay gaps year-on-year.”
When it comes to bonuses, the mean gender gap actually increased to 50% from 47.5% in 2018. BBC Studios blamed “an over-representation of males in our most senior leadership positions” and said the absolute number of women receiving a bonus has increased.
Companies with more than 250 staff members are legally required to publish gender pay data. BBC Studios goes further and reports data for its LGBTQ+, ethnic-minority and disabled employees. The gap for these groups was 2.7%, 10.5% and 12%, respectively.
The company’s action plan on pay equality includes having a diversity and inclusion council chaired by a senior manager, providing a clearer framework for career progression, and better support for working parents.