It remains a sensitive subject for most and a question rarely asked even by close friends - how much money do you earn?
Many workers in Scotland could honestly reply they are not making as much as they did last year. A lack of wage rises means pay packets are failing to keep pace with growing inflation - the result being a real term cut in earnings.
The impact of pay freezes across many private sector firms, and the well-documented row over the public sector pay cap, is seen in the latest official figures on earnings north of the Border.
They reveal the median, or typical, gross salary in Scotland for all employees as of April 2017 was £23,150. This is just below the UK wide figure of £23,474. Broken down by region, it remains the highest outside London and the south-east - but is still lower than the overall England figure.
From 2016-17, salaries for all employees in Scotland grew by one per cent, which meant a 1.6 per cent fall in real terms, a report by the respected Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) found.
This was the fourth lowest increase of the UK regions and nations - only London saw an above inflation increase in salaries.
The report also found 74 per cent of workers in Scotland are employed full-time, with a median gross full-time salary in Scotland of £28,354 - just below the UK-wide figure of £28,758.
Over the year salaries for full-time employees in Scotland grew by 1.5 per cent, which was a 1.1 per cent fall in real terms.
For part-time workers - 78 per cent of whom are women - the median gross part-time salary in Scotland was £10,474 - the highest outside London.
Boosting wages is, unsurprisingly, a huge issue for both Holyrood and Westminster.
Theresa May’s government announced earlier this year it will lift pay for certain public sector employees, offering a two per vent rise for the police, with half given in a one-off bonus, and a 1.7 per cent average rise for prison officers.
The SNP has said the UK’s record on earnings under the Conservative Government had been much worse than almost every other developed economy. It has also pointed to its efforts to boost earnings by a number of measures at Holyrood and Westminster, including a campaign to end unpaid trial shifts.
At the SNP confernce in October, finance secretary Derek Mackay said the Scottish Government would raise public sector pay next year, but declined to say whether it would be higher than inflation.
“If austerity is not lifted, our ability to offer the kind of deal we might want to will remain constrained,” Mackay said. “The majority of our budget is still determined by decisions in London.”
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But Scottish Labour said “the radical new powers of the Scottish Parliament meant that pointing the finger at Westminster was no longer good enough”.
The party is calling for a £10 an hour living wage as well as lifting the public sector pay cap.
Econonmy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie, said: “Both the UK and Scottish governments should be acting to protect people’s pay packets.
“The SNP government should develop a robust strategy to lift wages. The Scottish Parliament has powers over education, enterprise and economic development. It is not acceptable to simply point the finger down south.
“We would introduce a real living wage of £10 an hour, give hard-working public sector employees a pay rise and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to grow our economy. That would build a country that works for the many, not the few.”