BBC radio presenter hits out at colleague's higher salary

Justin Webb
Justin Webb

Radio 4 presenter Justin Webb has criticised the gender pay gap at the BBC - and has also complained about the fact that he earns less than his colleague Nick Robinson.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Webb claimed that unfairness in pay goes much further than a simple male/female divide.

See also: How to get paid like a man and avoid missing out on £12,000 a year

See also: Technology sector has largest 'like-for-like' gender pay gap in UK, survey shows

"Nick is paid £100,000 more than me for what is essentially the same job," he said. "That shouldn't detract from what the women are saying – they have a genuine grievance. But there is a wider problem."

Both men present Radio 4's Today Programme. But according to a report released earlier this year, Robinson is paid up to £300,000, while Webb receives less than £200,000 - despite having joined the BBC six years earlier than Robinson.

But Robinson - who was listening to Webb's remarks - defended his pay.

"There are other factors, largely because I was recruited from ITV where I was on a much higher salary than my BBC colleagues," he said.

And both agreed that the gender pay gap is about more than money.

"It really isn't. It's about respect, status and worth," said Robinson. "That's why it's so serious, and why, rightly, it is being taken seriously."

Earlier this month, it was revealed that men working for the BBC earn an average of 9.3% more than women, and take up more than their fair share of the top jobs.

But while this is clearly unfair, the BBC is actually better than average in ensuring equal pay. On average, across the UK, men earned a shocking 18% more than women.

BBC director general Tony Hall, has said that the BBC should be 'an exemplar of what can be achieved when it comes to pay, fairness, gender and representation', and has pledged to close the pay gap by 2020.

He may face some difficulty. Two weeks ago, Radio 2 head Lewis Carnie said that if women were paid less, it was because they deserved less.

"We wouldn't care what anybody is - gender, sexuality or ethnic origin – it's totally irrelevant," he told the Evening Standard. "What's important is the talent, and they're paid according to that."

The government has ordered all charities, private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay data by April 2018. Fewer than one in ten have done this so far.

The gender pay gap is at its widest at the top of the career ladder, with male managers being paid 26.8% more than their female colleagues, according to research from the Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR. That means that women managers are getting an average £12,000 a year less.

"Some people have tried to explain the gender pay gap away as being the result of different working hours or individual career choices," says XpertHR content director Mark Crail.

"But when the analysis is based on the pay of more than 100,000 individuals in well over 400 organisations, it is clear that the pay gap is a very real fact of life for UK managers."