Monday 15 January 2018

Equal pay.

I am a great believer in equal pay for the sexes and where a man is doing the same job as a woman he should get the same money and visa versa, however it is not always clear who is doing the same job.

Fairly easy one would think where for example with a bus driver or a fireman, or fire-person as I believe they are called nowadays, even a doctor, one hopes they are all working to the same standard within their field and therefore deserve the same pay.

However it's not always so clear cut, take for example Formula 1 motor racing, to all intents and purposes the entire grid of drivers are all doing the same job and with the current argument put forward by some people they should all be paid the same. This argument tends to fall apart after qualifying when the better drivers who are faster are at the front of the grid and the slower ones are at the back and yet they are all doing the same job.

The same argument applies to TV and radio presenters, we could all have a stab at reading the news, after all how hard can it be to read from an Autoque, listen to the director in your ear piece, synchronise your speech with the VT and look relaxed and confident at the same time!

There are many men and women who have taken on the arduous task of presenting and reporting on both TV and radio, how then are we going to decide how much they should be paid, for surely they can't all get the same money and unlike motor racing you can't ask them to qualify.

I have to admit that prior to her resignation I have no recollection of ever hearing of the BBC journalist Carrie Gracie who complained that she wasn't earning the same as her male counterparts doing the same job and I think on those grounds she has a point. Where her argument falls short is the fact that I have heard of her counterparts Jon Sopel and Jeremy Bowen and recognise both of them.

I'm a little out of touch with modern music so I will have to use the analogy of some rather older popular beat combos, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were paid peanuts before they were popular and became famous, however once you have a sufficiently high profile then you can demand the big bucks.

There is in the acting profession an element of equal pay especially in low budget or student films where everyone gets nothing, however once again the problem arises when you endeavour to use the same criteria for a Hollywood block buster like 'All the money in the world'. Much has been made of the male star Mark Wahlberg getting considerably more money to re-shoot the film than his female co star Michelle Williams.

Rather strange as both of these actors are represented by the same agency, or is it? I have no idea if this discrepancy reflects the amount of work required by each actor to re-shoot the film for obviously if the female actor only has to re-shoot a couple of scenes and the male has virtually all the film to re-shoot, the difference in pay is easily explained.

In examples like film and television I can't see you will ever be able to have equal pay, for the actor with the best track record of hit movies is always going to be paid more than the lesser actor whichever sex they may be.

I find it hard to imagine Meryl Streep or Oprah Winfrey getting a smaller salary than a lesser known male co-star and if that was the case they should sack their agents.

Likewise, whatever sex a regional newsreader they are never going to earn as much as a high profile presenter of Newsnight for example, at least not until they have paid their dues for years by working their way up the ladder of success, no-one starts at the top!

There are plenty of examples of men getting more money than their counterparts, it is not just about getting the same money for the same job,regardless of sex, that would be far too simple.

So when you have found the secret ingredient that mixes experience, gravitas, skill, humour, the right look, friendliness, hard work, the right agent and sheer luck, put it together with years of experience and you may, just may, be in with a chance of earning the top salary somewhere in the TV, film, radio or entertainment field.

I wish you luck.

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