Discussing salaries is one of the biggest taboos in the workplace. Everyone is curious about how much their workmates earn but would never dare to ask. Despite doing the exact same job, colleagues are more than likely to receive an entirely different pay amount each month.
Inspired by a real pay experiment from the 1950's, a brand new Channel 4 documentary, Show Me Your Money is carrying out a remarkable TV experiment where one of Britain's top bosses takes it upon himself to break the rules and encourage a more honest and open working environment.
A routine team meeting takes everyone by surprise when Charlie Mullins, Managing Director of Pimlico Plumbers, asks his whole workforce to reveal exactly how much they are paid. One by one, they must reveal their salary and pin it on the notice board for their workmates to see. Immediately this opens a Pandora's Box of emotional responses from anger and shock to guilt and resentment. The reveal exposes huge pay discrepancies between workers doing the same jobs.
Once everyone's salaries are out in the open, there's no going back and the boss challenges them to come up with a new pay scheme that's fairer for everyone. With the wage bill already sitting at £8 million pounds, he is not prepared to pay any more money himself. The underpaid workers want a raise but will need to persuade their higher paid colleagues to take a cut or come up with other imaginative ways to fund the pay rises. Workers from different departments are also paired together to understand what each other's job entails in a bid to encourage the higher paid workers and bosses to give up some of their salary to their lower paid colleagues.
Once negotiations and work swaps have taken place, the entire work force must vote on whether to implement the proposed redistribution of salaries but will the experiment result in a better and more productive working environment or has opening this can of worms caused more trouble than it's worth?
Show Me Your Money was ordered by Channel 4's Commissioning Editor Sara Ramsden who says: "Some people think the last taboo is sex; others believe the last taboo is death, when in actual fact it is sharing with the person next to you, just how much your salary is. For the first time on TV, this extraordinary experiment lifts the lid on the unfairness that exists in every single workplace in Britain."
Show Me Your Money is a 1 x 60 minute documentary made by Watershed TV. It is produced and directed by Helen Richards and executive produced by Mark Rubens.