This is the question posed by People Magazine as the stars of the hugely successful TV show The Big Bang Theory renegotiate their salaries. Indeed production on the new series has stalled while talks continue between the stars and the producers.

My interest isn’t in what they earn, rather how the negotiation plays out. Wild claims that the stars want huge increases are nothing more than positional posturing by the studio. Much like the TV show itself the reality will be very different to what we see reported.

Salary negotiations can be fraught with difficulties. Are you being valued correctly? Are you measured on time in or output? Is it a fair way to value your role? Can your output have a financial value or is it more of an operational role? Are you getting paid the same as your colleagues?

It is much easier to get an agreement on salary improvement if you can agree with your manager what steps you need to take to improve your worth to the company. Simply asking for more money as you have been in the job for another year doesn’t encourage your boss to be generous.

Perhaps have a set of steps/ goals / targets to achieve by a certain time, and once reached an agreed salary increment can be applied. Working to improve yourself within the company has benefits for you both, and as a proposal it sits easier than a straight demand for more money.

Remember every proposal and bargain must have a linked trade for both sides. Unilateral concessions are very difficult to get agreement on, so think like a negotiator: If you give me some of what I want (pay increase), Then I can give you some of what you want (extra skills from

As for the stars of The Big Bang Theory, I suspect they will get a very nice pay rise any day now.

Unlike most of us, they have the ‘irreplaceable factor’. The producers might well be able to replace one of the characters (it’s been done before when an actor has been on the greedy side) but they couldn’t switch the entire cast. As a group asking for a pay rise, they are much more powerful and harder to refuse. And lets face it – who doesn’t love the show enough to give them a little more?