BBC employees to get 5.2% pay rise amid 'brain drain' of top talent

BBC hands employees a 5.2% pay rise amid ‘brain drain’ of top talent and licence fee row after ministers slammed corporation’s ‘completely outdated’ funding model

  • BBC says it will increase pay by 4.2 per cent in August and then further 1 per cent
  • The staff pay rise comes after pandemic pay freeze and a 1 per cent rise last year
  • Rise will apply to the vast majority of  staff, but not senior leaders or freelancers
  • It comes after loss of several top talents, including BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker
  • Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Andrew Marr all quit BBC for LBC 

The BBC has struck a pay deal that will see the vast majority of employees given a 5.2 per cent pay rise – as it battles to retain staff amid a top talent ‘brain drain’.

The broadcaster today announced that most of its staff ‘public service’ will receive a 4.2 per cent pay rise in August.

The pay rise, which corporation bosses stress is below the current 7 per cent cent rate of inflation, will be followed by a further 1 per cent increase later in the year. 

The pay hikes, which come after a Covid pandemic pay freeze and a 1 per cent increase in 2021, will apply to around 18,000 of the corporation’s employees – including frontline journalists and back office staff.

However senior leaders – who negotiate pay deals separately – and freelance talent such as Gary Lineker – who earns around £1.4million-a-year from his work with the broadcaster – will not be eligible for the rise.

The pay hike comes as the broadcaster, headed up by Director General Tim Davie, faces an exodus of top-level talent.

At least five of its top stars have left for in recent months, with at least four going to the BBC’s direct rivals.

The pay rise comes as the broadcaster, headed up by Director General Tim Davie (pictured), faces an exodus of top level talent

The broadcaster (pictured: Broadcasting House in London), which is in the midst of a top talent ‘brain drain’, says most of its staff will receive a 4.2 per cent pay rise in August

Huw Edwards got £25,000 in just a month while moonlighting from BBC… as figures also show breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty earned £15,000 from four engagements

Huw Edwards raked in at least £25,000 on top of his huge BBC salary in one month for work outside the corporation.

The News at Ten host, who last year was paid up to £429,999 by the broadcaster, worked at four external events in March, documents have revealed.

For one of these, working as an awards host for the magazine Business Matters, Edwards, 60, was paid more than £10,000. 

For the other three, the corporation’s best-paid news host received between £5,000 and £10,000, so he might have got more than £40,000 in total.

BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, 47, earned at least £15,000 from four engagements in the first three months of the year, according to the latest disclosures from the BBC’s external events register. 

But the figure could have been as high as £31,000 because she worked at three events in the £5,000 to £10,000 bracket and one which paid below £1,000. Last year, Miss Munchetty was paid up to £259,999 by the BBC.

Her BBC Breakfast colleague Dan Walker, 45, earned between £20,000 and £40,000 from four outside events in the first three months of the year.

Walker, who last year was paid up to £299,999 by the corporation, carried out two outside engagements in one day in February, earning up to £20,000.

Edwards was the only news star in the latest disclosures to have been paid more than £10,000 for one event, the highest pay bracket on the register.

But nine of his colleagues received between £5,000 and £10,000 for one event where they acted as hosts, speakers, presenters or moderators for outside companies.

They included Nick Robinson, Frank Gardner, Amol Rajan and Kirsty Wark.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘All the events listed were approved prior to being undertaken and meet the BBC’s rigorous editorial guidelines.’

 

BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker became the latest to join a rival firm earlier this year, when he quit Auntie for Channel 5. 

He followed former co-host Louise Minchin, who quit to spend more time with her family, out of the doors at Broadcasting House.

Leading broadcaster Andrew Marr meanwhile swapped BBC for LBC, along with veterans Emily Maitlis and John Sopel, who also joined Global earlier this year.

Today, as part of the pay rise announcement, BBC bosses said the broadcaster was competing in a ‘global market for talent’ – which has become even more competitive in recent years with the rise of streaming giants such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. 

‘The BBC will never be able to meet the levels of pay at some of our rivals – and nor should we be expected to – but we are operating in a global market for talent, and without that talent, there are no programmes or content,’ a spokesperson said.

However the broadcaster stressed that the 2022/23 increase sits below the current 7 per cent rate of inflation.

Bosses said senior leaders will not receive an automatic increase, and their pay is subject to a different process.

A spokesperson for the BBC said the increase was about ‘providing a fair deal to licence fee payers and to staff’ and that it was made possible by ‘cutting staff numbers and saving costs’.

Last year, the number of employees fell by more than 1,200 – 6 per cent of the total workforce – while senior leader numbers were down by more than 5 per cent.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: ‘The BBC is the home of creative excellence and world-beating impartial journalism. 

‘We want our staff to thrive, produce their best work and feel valued for their output.

‘Last year the number of employees fell by over 1,200. 

‘The BBC is smaller but we also need to attract and retain world-class talent, within a reformed, modern and efficient organisation that provides great value to audiences.’

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has recently said the BBC’s funding model is ‘completely outdated’ and decisions on any changes will be made ‘well ahead’ of its charter renewal in 2027.

The corporation is currently engaged in conversations on how to fund its services as the licence fee faces an uncertain future.

Earlier this year the BBC denied it was facing a top talent ‘brain drain’, despite losing a number of its star presents.

‘People come, people go, but we have lots of existing talent and new and emerging stars and there is always a natural point where people move on,’ A BBC source told MailOnline in April.

The comment came after BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker revealed in March that he was leaving the Corporation after six years to be lead anchor at 5News.


Walker (pictured outside the BBC in Salford today) announced yesterday he was joining Channel 5 to be lead anchor on its revamped 5News team

His former Breakfast co-star Louise Minchin also left last year as she looked to spent more quality time with her family

BBC veterans Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel left the BBC for Global, the owners of LBC, to front a new show and a podcast

Meanwhile, Maitlis, Sopel and Marr jumped ship for LBC in a golden handcuffs deal, with each expected to bag significant pay increase.

The journalists caused disarray at Broadcasting House after deciding to join Global, which is also home to Nick Ferrari, Shelagh Fogarty and James O’Brien.

Maitlis, who hosted Newsnight, had a series of impartiality complaints against her because of her tweets and on-air comments about the pandemic.

Marr is said to have admitted he was prompted to leave the BBC because of his desire to speak freely on major issues, including climate change and politics.

Leading presenters Andrew Neil and Simon McCoy have also left the BBC in the past year.

The deal, for a new show and podcast, is likely to lead to a salary uplift for Sopel and Maitlis, who earn at least £235,000 and £325,000 respectively at the BBC.

An LBC insider told MailOnline Maitlis will now be on ‘at least’ £400,000-a-year, with Mr Sopel likely to be through the £300,000-a-year barrier.

But they warned it ‘could be more’ because of the number of projects they will work on together.

Leaving the BBC will also allow them to pursue more cash from speaking events and private functions worth another £50,000 annually.

Another insider said: ‘I think it’s the potent appeal of money and freedom to be more expressive in their personal views than the BBC allows’.

The deal will see them front a major new podcast for Global Player, as well as hosting a show together on LBC and providing commentary and analysis for lbc.co.uk.

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