BBC officials are reportedly bracing themselves for a gender pay storm as the corporation prepares to publish a list of its top earners on Wednesday.
The list of 100 top-paid stars is said to have “astounding omissions” revealing a pay disparity between men and women in the same jobs, according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph.
Insiders have warned that the figures will make “very embarrassing” reading for the organisation.
Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to reveal their gender pay gap by April 2018 under a new legal ruling.
Current estimates put the UK’s gender pay gap at around 18 per cent nationwide.
High-profile talent including newsreaders Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce and Laura Kuenssberg are expected to feature prominently on the list, while pay details of Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, Top Gear’s Chris Evans and chat show host Graham Norton are also expected to be made revealed.
The publication comes amid calls for improved transparency over the way the corporation spends its yearly £3.7 billion licence fee.
In May 2016, a government white paper ordered the BBC to disclose salary details of stars earning more than the £450,000 a year paid to director-general Tony Hall.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May slashed that figure to £150,000 a year in September, prompting media executives to describe it as a “poachers’ charter,” and claiming it could open the door for rivals to lure away the BBC’s best-paid presenters.
The BBC’s director of content, Charlotte Moore, told last year’s Edinburgh Television Festival: “The outcome could well be that talent fees will go up because if everybody knows what everybody is being paid they will go ‘I want to be paid that’.”
The corporation’s chiefs are now preparing to be grilled by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, with government sources stating she “cares deeply” about pay disparity.
Culture committee chairman Damian Collins and the chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, Maria Miller, have also pledged to demand answers over pay gaps at the corporation.
Presenter Andrew Marr has insisted that he earns less than a reported £580,000 but said in June that pay revelations would be “uncomfortable for all of us”.
He added: “I’m well paid but I’m less overpaid than people working for rival organisations who won’t go through this process.”
A BBC source said: “People should wait and see what the data shows rather than jumping to conclusions - people may be surprised by how much progress we have made - particularly when compared to the rest of the broadcasting and media sector. The data on recent promotions and hires is excellent.”