Tattoos - Do they affect employability?

#1
A recent YouGov survey (below) from 500 civilian employers. The survey asked a cross-section of employers whether tattoos would affect their candidate selection decision, and if so, which particular tattoo location was most likely to influence the selection decision.

I've long held the theory that tattoos do not affect the person's ability to do the job, but what is interesting is civilian employers pretty much echo the current Armed Forces tattoo policy according to this survey.

Tattoos on the neck or face are predominently undesirable, it seems.

This being the case, it makes me wonder whether the issue is not so much the tattoo but perhaps the perceived or imagined attitude of the person with the tattoo.

On the flip side, surely the person with the tattoo is smart enough to understand it can adversely affect employment prospects?

Question is - are we aiming to recruit people who are perhaps unorthodox, free-thinking and feel rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools?
 

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#2
Depends on the tattoos, the job and the person.

For instance:

"I have tattoos because I'm a drummer in a band"
"I have tattoos because I'm ex forces"
"I have tattoos because I'm generally angry at the world"
 
#3
Went out for dinner last night with Mrs O_B.

Sitting next to us were a couple , say about mid 20ies. She had two full sleeves and her fingers as well. A few facial and neck tatoos.

He had some large work on his legs and one sleeve.

I like a nice tattoo on a lass but I hate them on the hand, finger or face.

Talking to Mrs O_B about said items.

In Italy about 10-15 years ago if you had a tat , you had been to prison. I remember the same story from Germany 20 years ago.

Now it seems anything is OK.

Also know an American Dr who has a practice removing tattoos.

He mentioned that when removed the heavy metals in the ink are then removed by white blood cells and "most" are expelled having a dump but some remain and can damage other organs.

Radio 4 had a good article on them and I found it interesting that in some HM Prisons , Prison officers are recruited with tattoos as they can relate to some of the prisoners with similar tats.
 
#4
I have tattoos because I want to look like an ultra-hard ex-con (spiders webs, tear etc)
I have tattoos because I want to look like a Hells Angel
I have tattoos because I'm an inadequate person (RIP MAM & date)
I have tattoos because I'm a chav (especially wrist, tits etc)

Edited to add that I have mentioned previously that they certainly do affect employability.
 
#5
I think that there's a strong element of snobbery involved.
In 2004, I was offered a better-paid job closer to home and my then boss asked me to conduct the initial interviews to find a suitable replacement as the company's Technical Author. One guy I short-listed had a lot of tattoos on his arms and my boss, after meeting this guy, asked me NOT to pick candidates like that again.
He said "Pete, I don't have a problem with tattoos on people on the shop floor but they don't have the sort of professional image that I want to see in whoever takes over your job."
 
#6
I've long held the theory that tattoos do not affect the person's ability to do the job,
That's ground breaking thinking there Trig. Did it take a lot of research?
 
#8
I have tattoos because I want to look like an ultra-hard ex-con (spiders webs, tear etc)
I have tattoos because I want to look like a Hells Angel
I have tattoos because I'm an inadequate person (RIP MAM & date)
I have tattoos because I'm a chav (especially wrist, tits etc)

Edited to add that I have mentioned previously that they certainly do affect employability.
Whats green and thinks its hard ?


A frog with tattoos....well I thought it was funny
 

DaManBugs

LE
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#9
In Italy about 10-15 years ago if you had a tat , you had been to prison. I remember the same story from Germany 20 years ago.
That's still the case in (southern) Italy, even to this day. I have a couple of tattoos, and when we visit my wife's family in Calabria and travel around a bit, I actually get asked from time to time what I did to get banged up.

In Germany, tattoos in general have always been, more or less, accepted - particularly in the North, with all the seafarers. The giveaway nick tattoos you mention are three dots arranged around the junction of the thumb and index finger on the left or right hand. The Germans call such folks "Dreipunkter".

MsG
 
#10
That's ground breaking thinking there Trig. Did it take a lot of research?
Thank you Aristotle, your contribution is important to us, please hold....

It would be interesting, from a lowly HR perspective, to get to the philosophical root to determine whether those who employ others are justified in assuming different to those of us think otherwise.
 
#11
A recent YouGov survey (below) from 500 civilian employers. The survey asked a cross-section of employers whether tattoos would affect their candidate selection decision, and if so, which particular tattoo location was most likely to influence the selection decision.

I've long held the theory that tattoos do not affect the person's ability to do the job, but what is interesting is civilian employers pretty much echo the current Armed Forces tattoo policy according to this survey.

Tattoos on the neck or face are predominently undesirable, it seems.

This being the case, it makes me wonder whether the issue is not so much the tattoo but perhaps the perceived or imagined attitude of the person with the tattoo.

On the flip side, surely the person with the tattoo is smart enough to understand it can adversely affect employment prospects?

Question is - are we aiming to recruit people who are perhaps unorthodox, free-thinking and feel rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools?
I think you have hit on an interesting topic, NS, namely that of 'subconscious bias'.

We, as human beings, are innately wired to want to be around similar types; that's why we gathered in tribes, it's why we get married, stay in families, join the Armed Forces, or sports societies, rambling clubs, etc etc etc - because we have a requirement for company that's 'the same as us'. This Is Belonging, anyone?

So, moving that forward to your "Do tatts affect your view on employability?". I'd suggest that the bias piece comes in here; if you yourself are tatted up like a 3-Badge AB, then it stands to reason that you view people similarly decorated as 'normal'. The Equerry to HM The Queen might offer a different opinion. What also has to be taken into account is the acceptability of said tatts to your customer base. As I've alluded to on another thread, I used to be shacked up with a hospital consultant who had an 8" Celtic design across her lower back, about 4" above her arse crack. I'm pretty sure her patients didn't give a toss about what she had inked on her back when she was devising their treatment plan; if she'd had "ACAB" on her knuckles, or a spider web below her right ear, her patients might've taken another view. It's human nature.

Cultural background comes into it too; amongst the Maori in NZ or the natives of the South Sea islands, facial tattooing is the cultural norm and as commonplace as having ear-rings in NW Europe. Go to Scandinavia and you won't see anyone with facial tatts; not that I've seen in excess of a year in the place, anyhow.

But, when all is said & done, it comes down to the interpretation of the individual. Personally, I view tatts on blokes as fast becoming the norm but not my thing; visible tatts on women, for me anyway, are about as classy as skid-marked underwear. Whether they affect employability, your original question, is dictated by the 'subconscious bias' on behalf of the interviewer. But, and again I reinforce that this is entirely my opinion, there are certain employment spheres where it just doesn't look right.
 
#12
A particularly dense Inspector when still a PC made the only sensible comment of his entire career.
'The nice thing about the criminal classes is; they mark themselves'.

I don't 'get' them at all but I cant say I'd refuse to shop in X because Kyle behind the counter has tats and that much metalwork in their head they cant go within 1 km of an MRI suite.
Littleones mates mother is covered in the bloody things and to my mind looks dog rough, but is someone who I do have a lot of time for.

My personal prejudice did show up the other week when I'd taken DD swimming.

I noticed a vison of loveliness entering the water (who'd clearly worked to get her figure back after pregnancy) as I peered myopically at the cracking set of legs heading my way I spied a hideous coiled dragon thing covering her calf and lost any interest.
 
#13
Actually, they could affect one’s ability to do some jobs. Of course a bit of ink isn’t going to impact upon physical ability (assuming infection hasn’t set in), but they may have a psychological influence- either positive or negative.
But more than that, they can definitely affect how other people see you, which might have a corresponding impact on your effectiveness.
 
#14
Thank you Aristotle, your contribution is important to us, please hold....

It would be interesting, from a lowly HR perspective, to get to the philosophical root to determine whether those who employ others are justified in assuming different to those of us think otherwise.
An equally interesting question would be if an employer treated people with tattoos less favourably because of a tattoo, what would an employment tribunal say? Wednesbury Unreasonableness and all that.
 
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#17
Even within the tattoo community, there are constant debates about whether someone's freedom of expression when getting them, should trump the society attitudes i.e. Employability with hand/face/neck tattoos.

Many reputable tattoo artists won't tattoo certain areas on certain people, because they understand it can/will affect chances of being offered employment regardless of your ability to actually do the job. Having said that, it doesn't stop others having no qualms in tattooing those areas.

It's a choice many make without thinking about, or knowing where they want to be in life. Working in a manufacturing environment with no interaction with customers etc, tends to be somewhere that it usually makes no difference if you have tattoos or where you have them. Customer service type jobs, tend to be places where employability can be affected by them. (These are complete generalisations)
 
#19
There are , or at least were professions where tattoos were accepted as being part of the job. Sailors were almost required to have the odd anchor or semi naked woman on their arms. But this was restricted to the blokes.

The question comes back to what the job is? Someone working in an office or factory isn't "customer facing" so having a tattoo is probably not going to effect their work, but anyone who is in the public eye all day like shop staff may put off some customers. Therefore if you intend to take a role in customer service positions deciding to have a visible tattoo may not be a career making move. You may be more than capable of doing the job, but failing to consider the effect of your decision on your employers or co-workers may indicate personality traits that could be detrimental to a career.

Saying that the youngsters these days don't give a f&@k about what everyone else thinks so they tend to get snotty if a hotel or shop refuses them a post working the front desk.
 
#20
Lots of the young lads at work have tattoos . Some onto there hands and neck but they are idiots who work in a warehouse and will always work there . Some of the sales guys have them as well which you can see through there bargin basement shirts - i don't think it matters much.

The one thing i will say though is the reason for tats has changed - years ago it would be something that meant something for you and now its purely for the look . I realise its been done for the look or art for hundreds of years in other places around the world but its not even for art now its for the look and to look like there mates and premiership footballers .

They literally book a day off , go to the tattoo place and the chap puts on whatever he wants ! Some of it is ok but its not amazing stuff . The worst part is there must be hundreds if not thousands doing really shit tattoos . I have seen many women who look bloody awful as they have chosen the biggest cheapest tattoo to cover the maxium amount of body , usually a winding rose that looks like it been done by someone with learning diificulties .

Overall tattoos to me mean that there is a good chance you are a sheep and you can't think for yourself .
 

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