Quick post on this morning’s Telegraph story on journalists’ pay at the BBC.
It suggests that pay for rank and file broadcast journalists at the BBC is far out of whack with its commercial competitors.
With another round of cost cutting coming up, the message is clear: BBC hacks are growing fat on public sector money and need cutting down to size.
I don’t have the full report from PWC but I’d be interested in reading it. Not least because the methodology looks suspect.
Take a look at this graph:
It seems to show that BBC pay outstrips commercial sector pay at lower levels when compared to journalists at Sky News, ITV, ITN, Channel 4, the Guardian, Reuters, The Times and the Sun.
Leave aside the fact that comparing newspaper and broadcast salaries isn’t straight forward – they’re different jobs with different salary expectations and scales – the graphic seems to show a rather odd result.
A broadcast journalist band 5-7 is a journalist working outside London, band 8-9 is one working in the capital. According to this, a BJ working in the commercial sector in London earns the equivalent average salary as their senior broadcast journalist colleagues across the whole country including London.
That seems unlikely and almost certainly reflects difficulties comparing different positions.
The other factor that’s not revealed by this graphic is the age and experience of the journalists being surveyed.
It is entirely possible to have a career at the BBC and never rise beyond BJ/SBJ level. That’s not my experience of the commercial broadcast sector with its leaner operations – there it’s move up or move out. I can remember looking around the ITN newsroom in my early 30s and thinking there was barely any production journalists above the age of 40 – including the senior editors. That doesn’t promote confidence in career longevity.
That said, it’s hard to see the BBC’s Unpredictability Allowance payments surviving unchanged. There aren’t many jobs in the media that pay you extra fixed sums for working unsociable hours – that looks like a hangover from a previous age.