Simon Mayo has outlined that the ‘reconfiguration’ of his BBC Radio 2 show made him feel unwanted by the corporation.
The radio presenter, who hosted Simon Mayo Drivetime on Radio 2 for eight years, resigned from this role in December 2018 following a development which saw him share hosting duties with fellow DJ Jo Whiley. As he had previously been the sole host of Drivetime this move suffered significant backlash from fans and eventually led to Mayo leaving the station after seventeen years. When questioned on his decision, Mayo explained that although he had no issues working with his co-presenter, who was a close friend, the working environment had become ‘difficult and upsetting’ for both of them.
The DJ has since outlined that he believes the decision was entirely based around working against the ‘very blokey’ Radio 2 by encouraging an increased number of female presenters but it was hard to escape from the fact that his show was ‘very successful’ as it was. The BBC have publically announced a dedication to increased diversity through the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which aims for 50 per cent of all on-air roles to be held by women in 2020. In Mayo’s case, whilst he has admitted that the station did ask him to stay on he did not feel wanted anymore and refused their offer.
As the 2019 gender pay gap reporting deadline looms, organisations may be exploring methods to encourage increased gender diversity in their operation. Whilst reducing the gap remains a top priority for the government and can have a significant impact upon an organisation’s internal or external reputation, care must be taken to implement measures which are fair and focus on someone’s ability to do the job. It should be remembered that forms of positive discrimination, such as removing a male from a role to promote ‘more women and diversity’, is illegal in the UK and can lead to potential claims of discrimination.
Organisations should be prepared to explore ways they can attract a more diverse workforce, such as making key changes to its recruitment processes, introducing family friendly policies that could be more attractive to women, actively targeting minority groups through networking and career days and training managers to avoid unconscious bias. It is also important to maintain consistent communication with a workforce; Mayo may have not felt unwanted in his position if he had been consulted about the change before a final decision was made.