BBC Pay & Diversity Critiques Totally Unfounded.
Today's release of BBC top earners has caused outrage within a multitude of groups - such as women's lib', racial equality activists and of course those who are against public funding of the BBC at large.
But a deeper look into the figures around ethnic diversity, reveal that the BBC's top earners are actually relatively representative of the ethnic makeup of the U.K.
Here are the stats:
The Independent reported findings that 10 out of 96 of its top earners are people of colour, with the rest being made up of predominantly older white males.
- This figure as a percentage works out around 10.5%.
- When looking at the overall ethnic makeup of the U.K, the ONS reports that 14% of the population is non-White.
This data would suggest that the BBC's enthic-pay gap sits at around 3.5%. In real terms this would indicate that although the BBC's top earners aren't fully representative, it only falls short by a very small percentage.
Of course a fully representative workforce should be encouraged and aimed for - however the stats point toward a rapidly improving demography within the BBC's workforce.
It must also be noted that the overall ethnic makeup of the U.K, as outlined by the ONS statistics, take into account the entirety of the U.K population not the particular groups that are far more likely to fall within the BBC's top earners list.
Naturally the age range of those in top jobs is mostly over 30, as those individuals will have worked their way up within their respective professions over many years, enabling them to command higher wages.
Similarly when the individuals on this top earners list were making career choices - be it at university or within professional practice - we have to understand the demography of the U.K was drastically different.
Over the past few years alone the U.K has seen enormous spikes in immigration due to European free movement and an exodus of many from Africa and the Middle East - who are seeking refugee status because of War and oppression overseas.
Putting this into context we can see that those on the path to high earner status embarked on the career ladder when the white to non-white makeup of the U.K was far lower; pointing towards the fact that the 3.5% shortfall in minority earners is probably considerably less.
Also the ONS figures represent those of all ages, including those not yet on the career ladder. So once again when looking at the proportion of non-white individuals in the top earners bracket, we can infer from the data that the perceived discrepancy in real terms is far less damning than the mainstream media would have us all believe.
The BBC have also fired back to its critics claiming that when taking on new employees they have methods in place to encourage people of all genders and ethnic backgrounds to pursue a career with the BBC. This would indicate further that the BBC, over time, will have fully representative ethnic makeups for employees; Perhaps even an over representation of some groups.
Although for the BBC, signs point to a more egalitarian organisation (in terms of race), it must not be forgotten that this list is not representative of every other public and private company in operation within the U.K today. Figures do suggest to a greater extent that the ethnic diversity at large isn't as positive as seen within the BBC. More must be done to encourage minority groups to consider pathways into a range of professions.
This can't however be achieved by using discriminatory tactics - as seen with a recent scandal over non-white only applicants for jobs and internships at the Peston on Sunday show. All jobs must be awarded on the talents and experience of the individual - not the race or gender of the applicant. Diversity isn't genuine when achieved at the expense of meritocracy.
Overall the hyperbole of the media on these BBC publications (in the case of ethnicity) should be shamed. Race baiting and a whipping up of exaggerated claims about race within the BBC will only go further in putting off ethnic minority candidates from wanting to join what is being framed as a racist organisation.
These figures (in terms of ethnicity) should have been framed as an ever decreasing gap in ethnic representation within the BBC. Surely if these figures were framed as a positive way, it would act as encouragement for young aspiring journalists and broadcasters from minority backgrounds to have the belief they can achieve anything they set their minds to.