Editorial: Dishing up the hot potatoes

Never let it be said that here at MT we shirk from investigating the major issues of the day. This month, we're probing no fewer than four hot potatoes: first, why women still earn less than men in business; second, should we in the UK go more nuclear to produce low-carbon energy?; third, what is generation Y really like as it enters the world of work?; and last but by no means least, can Michael Grade save ITV?

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As I wrote the interview with Grade, I'll deal with that first. The short answer is that it's too soon to tell, but I'm not optimistic. I can't recall the last time I had a watercooler conversation about any of ITV's output. I watch little of it, bar the odd football match. But then, I'm not sure how rosy the immediate future of the BBC and Channel 4 is at the moment, either. We have Sky at home but I never watch anything on it except sport and The Simpsons, and I find my wife's devotion to Lost a mystery. (Have you ever seen more improbable material stretched to four series? And how can that huge guy with the hair still be so obese after months on a desert island?). I suspect I'm just an irrelevant old fart to those in tellyland - they don't care about me and the feeling is mutual. With a five-month-old baby in the house, I haven't seen Newsnight since last August ...

When it comes to nuclear power, although on balance I'd probably decline to have a fast-breeder reactor on my doorstop - lest the kids wind up glowing like extras from a ReadyBrek ad - there's no decent argument against the fission crew any more. The French have been generating 80% of their electricity from atom-splitting for many years. It will be a field day for those protesting against more power-stations being built in Britain, though. The only winners will be the planning lawyers.

Generation Y I find truly interesting. They're not the feckless, flighty twerps many would have us believe. We've just hired one at MT and she's the epitome of charm, precocious talent and mature application to her tasks. Actually, few Generation Y-ers are very different from the way the rest of us carried on at that age.

The women-and-pay problem is horribly complex and I'd better let you read Emma De Vita's thoughtful piece and draw your own conclusion. A lot of the problem is apparently down to timid wage negotiation at the beginning of their careers. The funny thing is, though, that when it comes to salary negotiation in this place, it's the females who drive the hardest bargain.

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