Saturday, 18 September 2010

Tall, attractive, left-handed man with tidy home wanted.

Cor, what a nerve! The indignation in the voices of the people answering the radio interviewer’s question was palpable:

“I’d prefer not to say”
“That’s confidential!”
“It’s not appropriate to discuss that”
“I’m not prepared to tell you”

Is money the great taboo?
What topic had Daniel Finkelstein probed them about for his programme Can Pay Will Pay

That brazen broadcaster had the nerve, the sheer bare-faced gall to accost complete strangers - and ask them how much they earned. 

The responses that could be broadcast consisted of polite but firm refusals.
Why is money such a great taboo? 
Actually, as DF pointed out, it’s the great British taboo. A Polish girl was quite happy to reveal all and was shocked by the anal Brits’ secrecy over the size of their pay packets.
Here are 10 fascinating facts about people’s earnings that you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask:
  1.       The UK earnings average is just under £26,000 p.a.
  2.       Most people earn between 15k-35k
  3.       If you earn over £51,000 you’re in the top 10%
  4.       Women make up the majority of the paid less group
  5.       Ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities are overrepresented in the low earners group
  6.       Taller people earn more  than shorter people (an extra inch of height results in an extra 2.5% of earnings)!
  7.       Ugly people earn 10-20% less than the average
  8.       People with tidy homes earn more than messier people
  9.       Lesbians earn more than heterosexual women while gay men earn less than heterosexual men
  10.          Left handed people earn more than right handed
So if you’re a short, ugly, right-handed, messy, heterosexual woman from an ethnic minority group your pay-prospects don’t look too good. But one consolation is you’ll probably hush up your low pay. Unless you’re Polish of course….

One research finding that might console the low paid is that you’ll only be unhappy about your low pay if you discover that someone is earning more. Relative earnings, rather than absolute earnings, are what make people happy, apparently. Perhaps that explains the pay-talk taboo. If someone else is earning more, we'd just rather not know thank you very much.

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