Support 100 years of independent journalism.

23 May 2014

Telegraph pot calls BBC kettle “white, middle class”, BBC responds in style

It's fair to say that the Telegraph is never normally a big fan of the BBC, which makes this riposte all the more satisfying.

By Media Mole

On 21 May, the Telegraph ran one of its usual BBC-bashing pieces – “BBC bureaucratic and a white, middle class organisation, say employees” – based on a survey from Glassdoor, the employment website which sells itself as offering the behind-the-scenes reality of working somewhere based on real employee testimony.

According to the Telegraph:

The BBC has been described as “bureaucratic”, “Orwellian” and a “holiday camp” by its employees in a series of anonymous reviews of the corporation.

Staff criticised the layers of management and hierarchy at the BBC saying a lot of people remain in the organisation too long making it difficult to get promoted.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

More than 130 reviews of the corporation were submitted to the Glassdoor website, which aims to give prospective employees an insight into companies.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

The BBC scores 3.5 stars out of five from employees, with 78 per cent recommending it to others as an employer.

It goes on to say that employees generally love the work-life balance that the BBC offers, but decry the bureaucracy and nepotism that haunts upper management.

In contrast, it scored worse than Channel 4 (4.6, but from only seven staff reviews) and better than Sky (3.2), ITV (3.1) and ITN (3.0). There was one media organisation conspiciously absent from the Telegraph‘s coverage, however.

The BBC’s official response to the piece consisted of one line and one line only:

We’re pleased that so many people enjoy working at the BBC and note that we scored 3.5 out of 5, compared to the Telegraph Media Group’s 2.7 out of 5.”

The press office notes, too, that the Telegraph only printed the first 11 words of that response, which is, in a journalistic terms, very cheeky indeed – especially as Glassdoor’s Telegraph Media Group reviews feature damning lines like “awful senior management”, “incompetent individuals”, and “the drive to increase website traffic clouded editorial decisions.”