Tattoos in Workplace

           Tattoos are becoming an increasing phenomenon that allows people to differ themselves from everyone else with their own body art. “About 73 percent of people get their first tattoo between 18 and 22 years of age, and an estimated 40 percent of Millennials have a tattoo, according to a Pew Research Center report”, says Lynn Motley of USA today. As tattoos grow in popularity, they are beginning to gain acceptance in the workplace, although there are still many employers with rules against visible tattoos. While many professions frown on the trend even though there are no explicit bans. “Empirical studies have long linked tattoos with deviant behavior. People with inked skin are more likely to carry weapons, use illegal drugs and get arrested,” says the Economist Magazine, but now that particular stereotype is starting to deteriorate because of the increasing popularity of tattoos. Although tattoos were once viewed as only something for prisoners and sailors, now prominent businessmen have tattoos. Though the popularity of tattoos have severely increased over the years, I believe that there will always be boundaries around tattoos containing the work place.

            Tattoos are not just for rebels anymore, now one in five adults have at least one tattoo.  Though tattoos have increased in popularity, there will always be restrictions against tattoos in a professional setting.  Tattoos can affect the image of a potential employee on an interview or someone who already has the job but is trying to move up in the rankings. Andrew Timming of the University of St Andrews in Scotland conducted a study, which asked participants to assess job candidates based on their pictures. Some of these pictures were altered to add neck tattoos on the potential employees.  The study disclosed that candidates with tattoos consistently ranked lower than those without them, despite the two being equally qualified.  “In a separate study Timming found that many service-sector managers were squeamish about conspicuous ink, particularly when filling jobs that involve dealing with customers,” says the Economist. As much as we think we are not or should not be one is really judged by their appearance.   

           There are three underlying concerns employers have with hiring people with body. They are: the belief that an employee will not be taken seriously by tradition-minded clients; the concern that the organization's brand or image might be compromised by outlandish tattoos; and the concern that one person's body art could be perceived as offensive or hostile to a co-worker or customer, says USA Today. Most people who have tattoos do not realize how bad that can actually harm their image.  Most people with tattoos do not realize that they can harm one’s image just as a criminal record can. Can employers see tattoos as disturbing but stakeholders and customers can to, this can ultimately hurt the business. Employers can legally deny a potential employee a job because of tattoos. No business owner or manger would do anything to harm their business, so choosing someone for a job without tattoos over someone who does is an easy decision for most employers even if the two are equally equipped.

            Even though tattoos are seen negatively in most professions, the acceptance of tattoos has been on the rise. The reception of tattoos highly depends on the job field as well. Firms with a younger clientele are also more tattoo-friendly. With many modern-day companies stressing commitments to diversity and inclusion, tattoos are becoming gradually trouble-free across the board. Many blue-collar jobs already have relaxed tattoo policies because of the very rare customer interactions.Some workplaces are more open-minded: a prison-services manager explained that having tattoos made it easier to bond with inmates,” says the Economist. Surprisingly though there has been a change of attitude about tattoos for frontrunners in corporate, educational and medical industries where tattoos are now becoming more popular.

            Even with the increasing popularity of tattoos they will never truly be accepted 100 percent in a professional environment.  One should truly consider all of the consequences before getting a tattoo.  About 17 percent of the people with tattoos regret getting them, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Choosing to get a tattoo should be a decision one should think long and hard about. 

Works Cited

"Ink Blots." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 02 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Lynn Monty, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. "Workplace Tattoo Taboos Fading." USA Today. Gannett, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

"One in Five U.S. Adults Now Has a Tattoo." Harris Interactive: Harris Polls. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.