Despite an influx of millennial and Gen Z workers, tattoos are still frowned upon in many workplaces.
An estimated 40 percent of young workers aged 18–34 have at least one tattoo, yet 70 percent say they would hide their ink in a job interview and at work, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
Not too long ago, tattoos were mostly associated with criminals and gang members—at the very least, only sported by rebels. But in recent years, a meek librarian is just as likely to have a tattoo as a Harley Davidson enthusiast. In coming years, as negative perceptions of tattoos retire along with baby boomers and Gen X takes over the workforce, the idea of displaying ink will become a nonissue.
“In the ’60s and ’70s, it wasn’t as common for people to have tattoos and piercings,” says Aimee Rieck, senior manager of human resources at Workopolis. “Today it’s much more common and prevalent, especially with the younger generation. . . . But there are still some mixed perceptions as to whether or not it’s a professional appearance or an appearance that employers want to have as part of their company image.”
So why do so many workers feel the need to cover their ink? It could be that some hiring managers will discriminate against those with tattoos in interviews. A recent Workopolis poll found that 14 percent of hiring managers would be less likely to hire someone with a visible tattoo, while 35 percent said it would depend on the job. Healthcare and service industry employers are less forgiving when it comes to body art.
But it’s their loss. “Despite remaining negative perceptions of tattoos and similar body art, managers may be missing out on some top talent if they forgo hiring a candidate based on their tattoos,” says Rieck.
Sources: globalnews.ca, Ipsos Reid, Human Resources Director