Review: Show Me Your Money
Show Me Your Money is an interesting look at the effects of revealing everyone’s salary on relations within a business. Charlie Mullins, an archetypal cockney cheeky chappie, encouraged everyone who worked for him at Pimlico Plumbers to write their salary on a board so that everyone could see how much they were being paid in relation to others. There were some nasty shocks; two men working in the garage who were doing exactly the same job had a £9,000 discrepancy in their pay and, understandably, the one being paid the lower amount was not happy about it.
It was perhaps obvious that the revelations were likely to strain relations between colleagues, but Charlie’s suggestion that the people on higher salaries should give up some money to help out those at the bottom of the ladder only helped to increase tensions. Although he agreed to match any money raised, it seemed slightly harsh for Charlie to expect his staff, even some of the ones on higher pay, to give up some of their wages instead of agreeing to cover the differences out of his £1,000,000 pay packet. He is the boss after all – it’s ultimately his fault that there were such discrepancies in the first place.
However, it was interesting to see the positive effect it could have on some aspects of the business. In the garages, unhappy with the idea that some would have to give up some of their relatively small pay packets to help out the others, they researched ways to safely cut costs on the business and reported back to Charlie how they could raise £30,000 to sort out the discrepancies. Charlie was suitably impressed, exclaiming that they “should be in management,” and managing to bring everyone’s pay up to the same level for doing the same job. PR manager Carl, while at first refusing point blank to give up any of his salary, changed his mind after spending a day with canteen worker Tina who earnt £14,500 for working a 45 hour week and was left with £5 a week after rent, bills, council tax, transport to and from work and food bills. It was great to see how people were willing to give up some of their wage to help their colleagues who were genuinely struggling, when they were definitely not obliged to do so.
The idea that the highly paid tradesman could help out the admin staff eliminate a pay discrepancy, by giving just £3 a week each out of their 3 figure salaries, was less successful. They were much more reluctant, having worked in the call centre for a day one declared that he didn’t think they deserved a pay rise and didn’t understand why he was being asked to help out – these people were not charity cases, they were healthy people earning an average wage. You could see his point - as lovely as it is to imagine that people will be willing to give up their wage to help their colleagues, people will always be paid relative to their skill set and call centre staff are easily replaceable - it’s as simple as that. While it was fascinating to see the effects of everyone being aware of how much they were being paid in relation to others, I can’t imagine many other employers rolling it out anytime soon. While it would make people aware if they were being paid less than someone else for doing the same job it doesn’t throw up any obvious solutions if management is not prepared to make the pay equal and fair themselves.