To Ink or Not to Ink? Tattoos and Your Career

Tattoos can be an important expression of one's identity and most tattoos are considered to have a personal meaning to the individual. However, some people believe that having a tattoo could potentially risk a person's employability. In fact, some work places ban tattoos in accordance with their dress code. On the other hand, there are other work places that accept tattoos as a form of personalised body art.

It's undoubtedly true that ruling out tattoos is somewhat discriminatory, however, companies are allowed to exclude body art from their dress code. Many managers agree that there is a stigma attached to visible tattoos, as it may affect how the customer or client views the employee. For example, a job applicant for a conservative work setting, such as a law firm, may be considered less employable if they attend the interview with visible tattoos. However, this may not be the case in a more creative work setting, such as the performing arts, theatre, and advertising industries, whereby tattoos could be an advantage and are widely accepted.

The nature of the tattoo also heavily impacts on whether or not it is considered appropriate. An inkling of a bleeding skull, grinning eerily at its viewer may be less likely to be accepted than a small tattoo of a dream catcher on the ankle of the individual. Furthermore, the whereabouts of the tattoo also affects a person's employability. If you are considering a form of body art, it’s best to have it done in a place that can be covered up for work. Even if you are comfortable and open about expressing your individuality through body ink, not all work places will make an exception for you.

You could also argue that tattoos have no impact on performances at work, and employers should consider the fact that many employees do not fulfil the stereotype of being 'thugs' or 'druggies.' In many cases, tattoos are spontaneous choices an individual may have made in their ever so eccentric adolescent years, and let's face it, laser removal isn't cheap or pleasant. However, whilst some employers may be understanding of a spontaneous tattoo, it’s important to consider the wider implications of what you’re getting- remember, it’s permanent, so you’ll want to stick by your decision.

Overall, it’s always good to remember that attitudes towards body art are changing. With time, there will be an increase in sympathetic, and possibly tattooed hiring managers. Although there are many employment rights, openly displaying body art isn't one of them. Whether or not tattoos can be accepted during the employment process depends on the individual's choice of career and career field.




Edited by Georgina Varley