The Gender Pay Gap… Who Cares?

The BBC recently published the salaries of all their stars earning more than £150,000 per year. According to BBC News, two-thirds of the stars in this bracket are male… which apparently is a big deal… I don’t see why.

While everyone seems to be latching on to the fact that Chris Evans is making £2.2m per year when other female stars are making a quarter of that amount, they fail to recognise the numbers aren’t the only part of the story.

NOT ALL STARS ARE CREATED EQUAL

I may have a problem with the ridiculous amount of money that footballers are paid… but you know what? They get paid proportionally to the the income they generate for their club. How much do female footballers make? Probably crap money in comparison, but presumably their ‘value’ is also less because the fan base for female football is also much smaller. Are we crying about that?

The BBC pays its stars on a wide pay scale… sure, but let’s consider the bottom line — the output of their work, their ‘celebrity’ status, their social influence and the income they generate for the BBC surely should have an impact on their salary? The fact that they are male or female is secondary to their value to the business.

ITS NOT SO SIMPLE

The salaries published aren’t fully transparent… the numbers are only what BBC pays the stars directly. Many stars will have multiple sources of income, some have more than one job at the BBC, some have better agents who can negotiate more lucrative contracts, and some may just simply be not as good as another, and therefore deserve less. May sound harsh, but it works that way in every business.

If a female star who matched Chris Evans in every conceivable way, other than being a woman was making 1/3 of the salary, then I’d have a problem.

THE GAP DOES NOT MEAN INEQUALITY

According to the Office for National Statistics, men in the UK earned 9.4% more on average (per hour) than women in full-time employment. However, if you look at part-time jobs, women earned 6% more than men (in 2016). You can’t blame a gender pay gap and higher earnings of men simply on the fact that there are more men working full-time than women.

If you dig even deeper, the gap shifts back and forth dependant on industry… and that’s ok, you know why? Because some industries are dominated by one sex over another. There may be more women florists (perhaps a sexist over-generalisation, but work with me here) and the pay gap therefore would favour women. In the construction industry I’m sure we’d see a huge spike in the other direction.

SO WHAT NEXT?

Personally I hate this whole debate. I think people (not males or females, people) should earn what they are worth, based simply on their abilities, the amount of work they put in, and the value they add to the business.

If you aren’t as good, don’t work as hard, or don’t add as much value to the company, I’m sorry… but you should get paid less than someone who is works harder, adds more value and is generally ‘better’.

I’m all for equal pay based on doing the same work (it’s the law after all), but I don’t agree on equal pay simply because of your gender, it has to be performance based.