The statistics vary depending on the source, but researchers for the Pew Research Center have stated that approximately 40 percent of millennials have at least one tattoo. Another survey taken of people with tattoos said that 12 percent of them have ink that can clearly be seen by co-workers during the workday.
What is the state of visible tattoos in the workplace? Are you likely to be discriminated against during the hiring process if you have a visible tattoo? Are you less likely to be promoted? What aspects of your personal appearance are likely to be noticed during a job interview?
While many companies would not allow visible tattoos in the past, that trend is changing. People from all walks of life are getting tattoos. From the young professional marketing executive who has a pink breast cancer ribbon tattooed on her wrist, to the computer programmer who has the name of his favorite band tattooed on his forearm, tattoos are becoming more common even in typical white-collar industries.
Twenty years ago a person with a tattoo may have struggled to find a white-collar job. Today, it is less likely to be an issue. A recruitment company recently ran a poll of HR managers of professional industries. The survey said that 53.8 percent would hire an employee with a visible tattoo. Many of those HR managers also added that their ability to overlook that tattoo would also depend upon the placement of the tattoo on the body as well as the image chosen. Those with tattoos that may be seen as offensive may have a more difficult time getting a job, according to the survey.
Before inking up, you may want to consider that 46.2 of HR managers may not hire you based on the fact that you have a tattoo. As unfair as that sounds, before getting a tattoo that would be difficult to cover, you may want to think about what industry you are in or plan to enter. It is essential to keep in mind that there are no anti-discrimination laws protecting people who choose to have body art.
Some hiring managers have said that they look at the potential employee’s cleanliness, hygiene, and grooming, but they overlook most tattoos as long as they could not be deemed offensive. Meeting the business’ dress code is also important as well. If you are not hired for a job, or if you did not receive a promotion, the reason may not have to do with the tattoo on your wrist or ankle. You could have been overlooked because you did not dress professionally enough for your client-facing job or you did not have well-manicured fingernails.
Many global chains have been very public about their acceptance of hiring tattooed individuals as public-facing employees. These foreword-thinking companies instead choose employees on their abilities to interact with the public and job experience.
Some tattoo artists warn their clients about getting tattoos on the hands, face, and neck, as these are difficult places to cover with traditional clothing. The number of tattoos that you choose to display may have a bearing on whether or not you get a job. The subject matter is also likely to make a difference in whether you are employable in specific industries or not.
What industries have the largest percentages of tattooed employees? The military has 36%, and 22 percent of those in the ag/ranching industries have tattoos. Twenty percent of people in the hospitality, tourism, and recreation industry have tattoos.
Industries that are not as likely to hire employees with tattoos include the engineering industry, information technology professionals, and government employment. Those who work with children may also face discrimination in the workplace if they choose to have a tattoo.
If you have a tattoo on your hand, neck, or face, there is makeup designed to cover tattoos. You can also search YouTube for tutorials on how to best conceal body art so that the makeup looks as natural as possible.
Hopefully, there will be a time when tattoos in the workplace are as common as earrings or mustaches.
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