Two thirds of the on-screen talent at the BBC earning more than £150,000 per year are men, BBC figures are expected to reveal.
The salaries, to be published for the first time today, will show a gender pay gap among some of the corporation’s top earners.
The BBC will publish the list of highly paid presenters and journalists as part of a disclosure ordered by the Government.
The list is thought to include presenters Chris Evans, Fiona Bruce and Graham Norton, as well as journalists such as BBC News political editor Laura Kuenssberg and Radio 4’s Today programme presenter John Humphrys.
The names will be made public as part of the BBC Annual Report & Accounts publication.
Ahead of the announcement, Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker joked about the potential backlash.
He tweeted: “Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?”
Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 19, 2017
While the BBC has published senior management pay for many years, this is the first time it has done so for on-air talent.
Damian Collins MP, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, told Sky News: “This could be a really serious issue.
“If it becomes clear that people doing the same job with the same level of experience but being paid at very different levels, people will question why that can be the case.
“There has been concern raised that we may see examples of this.
“This would certainly be a very serious matter.
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“This would certainly be something we would take up very strongly with the BBC when the director general and the chairman appear before the select committee in the autumn.”
Sir Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former director of communications and ex-BBC News executive, said the Corporation could be facing “an inherent sexism issue” if figures reveal gender pay differences.
He told Sky News: “I’ve heard anecdotally that some female presenters are paid less than men who are doing the equivalent job.
“The people who decide those salaries will come up with all sorts of reasons for that but when it’s down in black and white that becomes a profound issue.
“People are going to say that’s a problem and ask if there is an inherent sexism issue.
“I think it is right that people get to see the figures.”
Of the 43,000 talent contracts with the BBC last year, around a quarter of one per cent were paid more than £150,000, they said.
And the bill for top talent was down 10% year on year, and down by a quarter over the last five years, according to BBC figures.
Cat Lewis, chief executive of Nine Lives Media, a production company which makes programmes for the BBC, believes revealing presenters’ salaries could damage the corporation.
“Whilst I understand the need to be transparent with licence payers money, I don’t think this is going to help the BBC.
“It will make it enormously difficult for them to remain competitive and could mean they cannot retain talent. That’s going to be bad for programme making.”
A spokesman for the BBC said it was spending less on individual talent now than ever before.
Source: Sky News