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BBC senior broadcast journalists earn 40 per cent more than those working in private sector, report

By Dominic Ponsford

A leaked report has found that senior BBC journalists earn 40 per cent more than people doing similar jobs in the private sector.

The Daily Telegraph has the story this morning and reports on a survey of 3,000 out of an estimated 7,000 staff working in BBC News.

They were reportedly compared to journalists doing similar roles at Sky News, ITV, ITN, Channel 4, The Guardian, Reuters, The Times and The Sun.

Looking at 1,125 BBC senior broadcast journalists, the report by accountants PWC found that their median (or typical) pay was £49,000, compared with £35,000 in the private sector (40 per cent more).

Some 1,781 staff at broadcast journalist level are said to earn a median average figure of £37,500, 34 per cent more than the £28,0000 a year typically paid to those at a similar level in the private sector – the Telegraph reports.

However the leaked report also shows that those at editor level are paid less than their counterparts in the commercial sector.

While the average salary for a BBC editor at grade 11 was said to be £66,000 (including cash allowances). The average pay for an editor in the commercial sector was said to be £80,000.

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BBC journalists have benefitted from annual pay rises and other benefits secured with the help of a strong collective bargaining position as a large proportion are members of the National Union of Journalists.

The reports come as the BBC seeks to make £800m of savings. The new BBC charter has frozen licence fee income at £3.7bn until 2022, but the BBC must find the cost of free TV licences for the over 75s.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Over the course of this charter period, pay restraint and headcount reductions have saved over £150 million a year. As part of that we’ve cut senior managers by 40 per cent and focused resources on front line services.

“Like any responsible employer we routinely look at how staff salaries compare to those in the rest of the UK industry – separately we have already proposed a joint review with the unions of terms and conditions.”

Graph outlining BBC versus commercial sector journalist pay obtained by the Daily Telegraph:


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