EasyJet CEO, BBC Stars Take Pay Cuts for Gender Equality

EasyJet CEO, BBC Stars Take Pay Cuts for Gender Equality

EasyJet, the discount airline based out of Luton, UK, announced on Monday that its CEO, Johan Lundgren, had asked the board to reduce his salary to match the compensation his predecessor Carolyn McCall was earning when she left EasyJet last year. Lundgren’s salary, originally set at £740,000, will now be reduced by 4.6 percent to £706,000, the company said in a statement. All other aspects of his remuneration package are identical to McCall’s.

The airline suffered a bit of negative press this month after publishing its gender pay gap in line with a new UK law requiring all organizations with over 250 employees to do so. EasyJet reported a 51 percent pay gap between men and women, attributable to the fact that its pilots—the most highly-compensated frontline employees in the industry—are 94 percent male. In Monday’s statement, EasyJet stressed that this imbalance was true of the entire commercial airline industry and that the company was taking steps to create more opportunities for women pilots:

Around 4% of commercial pilots worldwide are female. easyJet does better than the industry as a whole at 5% and easyJet’s progressive culture has enabled female pilots to progress more easily than at other airlines. In fact, over a third of easyJet’s female pilots are already Captains. But we recognise we need to do better. That is why three years ago easyJet launched our Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more women to enter the pilot profession. We set a target that 20% of new pilots should be female by 2020, up from 6% in 2015.

Last year we recruited 49 female new entrant co-pilots. That’s a 48% increase on the previous year and takes the proportion of easyJet new entrant female pilots to 13%. This is a great achievement given the deep seated view in society that being a pilot is a male job and means the airline is on track to meet our 2020 target.

EasyJet’s announcement comes just days after the BBC revealed that six of its most high-earning male presenters had agreed to take pay cuts to close the gap with their female colleagues, :

The BBC said Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine had all accepted reduced wages. … Vine said: “It needs to be sorted out and I support my female colleagues.”

The Radio 2 and Eggheads presenter was the best-paid of the group, earning between £700,000-£749,999 in 2016/17. The new salaries haven’t been revealed. Of the six, Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earned the least, in the £200,000-£249,999 bracket – compared to Carrie Gracie’s £135,000-a-year salary.

Gracie, formerly the network’s China editor, resigned her position earlier this month in protest against the stark disparity in pay between male and female editors. The public disclosure of high earners’ salaries at the BBC last summer sparked major controversy when it was revealed that the broadcaster’s highest-paid talent was overwhelmingly white and male, while women were making much less than men in similar roles. BBC Director General Tony Hall later commissioned an equal pay audit of the company, which the BBC says will be published this week.

BBC Announces Independent Audit to Tackle Gender Pay Gap

BBC Announces Independent Audit to Tackle Gender Pay Gap

A few months after a public disclosure of high-earner compensation data revealed a significant pay gap between male and female stars at the BBC, the UK’s national broadcaster has announced a series of investigations into its pay practices and gender pay gap. BBC Director General Tony Hall revealed on Wednesday that he had commissioned PwC and the law firm Eversheds Sutherland to conduct an independent equal pay audit of the company, which will also produce an internal report on the gender pay gap and conduct a review of pay and diversity among its on-air talent:

Speaking to staff on Wednesday, Lord Hall said the BBC report on gender pay would cover the whole corporation and be independently audited, adding that he is “determined to close the gap”. … He said [the external audit] would “make sure that, where there are differences in pay, they’re justified”, adding: “If it throws up issues, we’ll deal with them immediately.”

The review of on-air talent will focus on presenters, editors and correspondents in BBC News and radio, he said. “Of course, we’ll be looking at pay – but also representation,” he said. “As I hope you know, we’ve set really ambitious targets – not just on gender, but on diversity more broadly.

In response to Hall, several leading women at the BBC circulated a statement on Twitter under the hashtag #BBCWomen, in which they stressed that the director “must be in no doubt about how serious an issue equal and fair pay is for women across the organisation,” and suggested that the target date he had previously set of 2020 for closing the gender pay gap was not soon enough:

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Disclosure of BBC Stars’ Salaries Draws Backlash, Exposes Wider Issues of Inequity

Disclosure of BBC Stars’ Salaries Draws Backlash, Exposes Wider Issues of Inequity

The recent release of high-earner compensation data by the BBC has brought to light some uncomfortable facts about gender and racial pay gaps at the UK’s national broadcaster and sparked a discussion about the problem of pay inequity throughout the country.

As a publicly-funded entity, the BBC fell under the purview of a government initiative in this year’s Royal Charter that required it to release the names of nearly 100 employees who earned more than £150,000 annually. “License fee payers have a right to know where their money goes,” Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told Newsweek, referring to the £147 fee per device (TV, tablet, etc.) that funds all of the UK’s public broadcasting. “By making the BBC more transparent it will help deliver savings that can then be invested in even more great programs.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall objected to the government directive: “The BBC operates in a competitive market,” he told Sky News. “And this will not make it easier for the BBC to retain the talent the public love. Ultimately, the BBC should be judged on the quality of its programmes.”

Published earlier this month, the list revealed startling discrepancies between women and minorities and their white, male colleagues. Of the 96 names on the list, only one third were female and just 11 percent were black or minority ethnic (BME, the UK’s catchall term for non-white minorities). The top seven earners, as well as 12 of the top 14, were men. Many women were found to be making much less than men in similar roles, while others in prominent roles did not even earn enough to make it onto the list:

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