BBC tech staff underpaid compared with private sector, says internal reportCorporation's top technology staff are paid 'well below' the market rate, BBC Trust report finds

Friday 30 October 2009

The BBC's top technology staff are paid "well below" their counterparts in the commercial world, despite the corporation being seen as a leading digital media player following the launch of services such as the iPlayer and Freeview, an internal report into pay has concluded.

The review, conducted by the BBC Trust, found that within the corporation's pay structure there were a "small number of 'hotspots' in which overall senior manager pay restraint has left BBC pay well below relevant labour market benchmarks". The review added: "This is particularly true in the technology sector."

BBC salaries also varied greatly between different divisions across the corporation, the review found, with senior managers working in TV having average salaries 24% higher than their equivalents in news and radio.

The BBC Trust found just a "few areas" where pay has "risen above the median of the specific labour market involved".

Overall the report found that the BBC offers pay packages between 20% and 80% lower in terms of total remuneration than the private sector. When looking at the annual pay rises that the BBC awards staff the report found that it shows "restraint".

"The general picture is one of restraint in pay settlements, with BBC senior managers receiving an average annual pay settlement that mirrors both the private and public sectors," summed up the report. "It is important to emphasise that this effect is seen across the staff population, not just senior managers."

The report found that at executive board level the BBC also paid less than comparable organisations.

A pay benchmark comparison of commercial public sector companies - such as Channel 4, Royal Mail and Transport for London - found that at executive board level the BBC's remuneration packages were about 10% lower, according to the report.

The report added that "whilst the base salary of the director general of the BBC compares well, there is a significant difference in total reward, taking into account bonus and incentives and pension and benefits".

As a licence fee-funded organisation the "BBC's approach to remuneration must recognise both its market-facing environment and its public funding source", the report stated.

Taking this into account the report estimated that a "BBC brand discount" existed for those taking a role at the corporation - with employees seeing their positions as a "CV enhancer", but there were downsides such as increased public scrutiny.

Total remuneration was down around 60% for executive board members and 40% for senior managers compared with private sector companies