There's been a lot of hullabaloo about BBC pay rates this year, both salaries for on-air talent (Jonathan Ross) and executive bonuses (Mark Thompson and the BBC's top bosses). So I suppose it's not surprising that the figures revealed in the press today about correspondents' salaries ("Female reporters paid £6,500 less than men by BBC" - Independent) are of interest too, although they are of a rather more modest order.
I'm one of those who has to set those salaries, and there are always many factors to take into consideration. These include experience, level of contribution to the news output, performance and profile. The hardest area to put your finger on is talent - that element of individuality, personality and star quality which people bring to the air waves. Difficult to define and subjective perhaps - but you know it when you see and hear it.
One thing that absolutely isn't a factor is the sex of the correspondent. The figures might seem to point that way, but I think it's more that they reflect that a majority of our senior correspondents are men, with a high level of experience. Which is an issue in itself.