Given this context:

"Would love to offer you the job. At least 2.5× what you're on."

What does "what you're on" mean in this sentence? The person's current wage?

  • I've replaced the "X" in your post with the multiplication symbol (×) instead. Am I correct in assuming you're not confused about that aspect of the phrase, and that the multiplication symbol is what you meant to you use?
    – V2Blast
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 0:50
  • 2.5X ... is two and a half multiplied by some mystery number. x2.5 ... is two and a half times, or times two point five. Put the 'sign' in front, otherwise it's a variable in a mathematical expression. - But now someone edited it with an actual multiplication sign, which no one ever uses. Whatever you do, don't use uppercase X unless you want them to pronounce it as ecks.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


Certainly in a British English setting, and in this context (employment/salary/payment for work done), "what you are on" means "your current salary, or annual, monthly, daily, hourly (etc) pay rate".

The 'X' in '2.5 X' should be read as 'times' and in mathematical material will be the multiplication sign × which is not identical with the letter X or x in the alphabet.

Let's talk about payment. What are you on at your job?

I'm on £30,000 per year.

We'd like to offer you a salary of 2.5 times what you're on - £75,000 per year.

I'm on £20 per hour.

We'd like to offer you 2.5 times what you're on - £50 per hour.

  • 17
    This must be a BrE usage. In AmE, being on something will get you fired.
    – EllieK
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 14:04
  • 6
    @EllieK - In the UK, we have that other usage too, being 'on' some kind of intoxicant or drug, e.g. Joe Smith says the project will be finished in March. What is he on? This might be OK informally, but in any kind of message on record, I'd say 'I suggest that Joe Smith may wish to reconsider his estimate of the completion timescale' to avoid censure for being disrespectful. Of course really being intoxicated in the workplace is usually grounds for immediate dismissal. As always, context is important. Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 14:15
  • 10
    @EllieK - in fact, in BrE we can use 'on', in a work context, to discuss being involved in some kind of arrangement, scheme, process, programme ('program'), etc. I am on a fixed-term contract, I am on night shifts, I am on performance management, I am on a warning, I am on overtime after 5 PM, etc. 'On' is a very versatile preposition. Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 14:59
  • 9
    It's worth pointing out that the 'X' would always be pronounced as 'times', not like the letter X. (It's in brackets in your example but an unfamiliar reader might assume it was just for clarification.)
    – dbmag9
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 19:39
  • 15
    Great answer. In AmE, we’d probably say, “Two and a half times what you’re making.”
    – Davislor
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 21:41

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