Tattoos no longer affect jobs

If you’re worried that getting a tattoo would hurt your job prospects or affect employment opportunities, you’re in luck.

A new study published in the journal Human Resources titled ‘Are Tattoos Associated With Employment and Wage Discrimination? Analyzing the Relationships Between Body Art and Labor Market Outcomes’ found that tattoos are no longer associated with wage discrimination in the workplace.

Researchers collected data from over 2,000 participants from all 50 states in the US to analyse how tattoos are perceived in the workplace. Contrary to previous research, they found that the annual earnings of employees with tattoos were indistinguishable from those without them. In other words, tattoos no longer have a negative stigma attached to them, and in some cases candidates were actually more likely to be hired.

Whereas tattoos were once associated with gangs and drug abuse, they have now become symbols of individual expression and creativity.

Michael French, the lead researcher for the study, says that ‘Given the increasing prevalence of tattoos in society – around 40 per cent for young adults – hiring managers and supervisors who discriminate against tattooed workers will likely find themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the most qualified employees.’

This represents a massive shift in how tattoos are perceived in the workplace.

It was only in 2006 that a study found that 80% of human resource managers indicated that tattoos on an interviewee would be viewed negatively. This meant that candidates with tattoos were more likely to be overlooked. Worries about tattoos potentially hurting prospects then were certainly justified, but the new study shows that tattoos have zero impact on employment opportunities.

Times have changed and tattoos are viewed more positively than just over a decade ago. Even with visible tattoos, they’re not likely to affect your employment opportunities or result in lower wages.