The BBC may style itself as a beacon of political correctness. But when it comes to gender balance and diversity, it is lagging far behind other broadcasters.
The Corporation is less likely to employ women than its major TV rivals, and less likely to promote them to senior positions, according to a major report by Ofcom published today.
It also does worse than other broadcasters when it comes to employing people from ethnic minorities, and lags behind Channel 4 on hiring people with disabilities.
The BBC is less likely to employ women than its major TV rivals, and less likely to promote them to senior positions, according to a major report by Ofcom published today
The findings fly in the face of claims by the Corporation that it leads the industry when it comes to diversity and gender equality.
They will also heap fresh pressure on the BBC, at a time when it is still reeling from the gender pay row which exploded over the summer, stoking concerns that the corporation is too 'male, pale and stale'.
The BBC was plunged into chaos in June after it was forced to reveal pay details of its most senior presenters and staff – exposing a shocking difference between the pay levels for male and female workers.
Many male presenters earned considerably more than the women who sit next to them, even though they appear to do the same job.
Audiences and staff alike were shocked by the absence of names like Newsnight host Emily Maitlis on June's BBC pay list released
Audiences and staff alike were also shocked by the absence of names like Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, who did not appear on the list because she earned less than £150,000 a year.
Director general Lord Tony Hall told staff at the time that the BBC still outpaced its commercial rivals.
'On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry,' he said.
However, that claim has now been called into question following the damning findings by Ofcom.
The report - based on 2016 data supplied by the broadcasters - found that just 47 percent of BBC staff are women.
The Corporation lagged behind Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5's owner, Viacom - not to mention the general population, which is 51 percent female. Only Sky did worse in Ofcom's survey of Britain's five biggest TV broadcasters.
It was a similar story when it came to putting women in senior jobs at the BBC.
The Corporation has more women over the age of 40 than any of other Britain's big TV stations, but they are more likely to languish in relatively junior roles.
Just 39 percent of the BBC's senior managers are female, putting the Corporation behind ITV – where 42 per cent of senior staff are women - and Viacom, where almost half of the top jobs go to women.
Director general Lord Tony Hall previously told staff that the BBC still outpaced its commercial rivals on gender and diversity
The Ofcom report said: 'Employees of the BBC are increasingly likely to be male, the more senior their role. The BBC's Board and senior management employees together are 61 per cent male, and their mid-level management (three-fifths of the organisation overall) are 57 per cent male.'
The BBC's record on promoting staff from ethnic minorities to senior positions is similarly dismal. Around 13 per cent of the Corporation's staff are non-white - just behind the general population - but only six percent of top jobs go to people from ethnic minorities.
Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said yesterday the findings should be a 'wake-up call'
Sharon White, chief executive of the broadcasting watchdog, said yesterday that the findings should be a 'wake-up call'.
'We would have expected the BBC to be leading the industry and actually it is in the middle. The BBC is the UK's national broadcaster, it should be driving the rest of the industry. The public expects the BBC to represent them,' she said.
In a pointed remark – seen as an attack on Lord Hall - she added that broadcasters will only fix the problem