TV & Radio
TV Pick of the week: Show Me Your Money
Our pick of the TV line-up this week is an intriguing one-off Channel 4 documentary that showcases the mayhem that erupts when an entire workforce must disclose their salaries.
In today’s dog-eat-dog economic world, one of the biggest taboos around is salary disclosure. High earners don’t want to sound like they’re out of touch, low earners don’t want to feel embarrassed or looked down upon and those who are unemployed would rather the subject not be broached in social settings.
With that in mind, kudos to Channel 4 for their intriguing documentary Show Me Your Money (Channel 4, Wednesday, 9pm), which demonstrates exactly what happens when the entire workforce of Pimlico Plumbers in the UK is asked to reveal exactly how they are paid by pinning their salary, one-by-one, to a staff noticeboard.
As you can imagine, there’s bound to be plenty of friction, especially when colleagues find that they are on vastly different salaries for doing essentially the same job. Their reaction is understandable, as for example if your neighbour has UPC's On Demand service - which includes RTE Player and 3Player free to all UPC customers - and you're stuck with plain old terrestrial TV, you'll always compare yourself to your contemporaries.
In the case of the call centre staff at Pimlico, they are shocked to discover that their newest member earns £3,000 more than the rest of them, while one staff member is shocked to find that he earns £9,000 less than a colleague for doing essentially the same job. Ouch.
“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,” said C4′s commissioning editor Sara Ramsden, who ordered the show.
“For the first time on TV, this extraordinary experiment lifts the lid on the unfairness that exists in every single workplace in Britain.”
With everybody's salaries out of the open, the now-terrible work atmosphere requires Pimlico's managing director Charlie Mullins to ask staff whether or not they can construct a new, fairer pay scheme.
To that end, higher earners are asked to give up some of their salaries to their lower paid colleagues, with some paired with one another to discover whether their counterpart's workload might entice them to share some of their pay packet. At the end of the show, the entire workforce must vote on whether or not to keep their current salary structure or adopt their new, more inclusive model.
Whether or not the experiment works – or whether or not it should (is it fair for a qualified professional to be guilt-tripped into supplementing an unskilled worker’s salary?) – the concept of the show is sure to produce some gripping TV, Be sure to grab some popcorn for the moment that everyone’s salaries are out in the open.
TV Pick of the Week: Show Me Your Money, Channel 4, Wednesday, 9pm