Tattoos in the workplace

A decade ago, tattoos in the workplace would seem unacceptable. But as tattoos become more prevalent, it begs the question: are tattoos in the workplace becoming more acceptable? Especially among millennials, one in three people has at least one tattoo.

Whether visible or not, employers still utilize tattoos as a way to judge the character of a potential employee.

Tattoos among Americans are on the rise and according to U.S.A. Today are higher than ever before. Around 38 percent of people have tattoos from ages 18 to 29. With tattoos becoming the “norm” you would think that the stigma of not being able to find a job with a tattoo would disappear.

Workplaces around America have become more lenient to tattoos in the workplace, but policies to cover up tattoos are still prevalent. In most professional workplaces it is still unprofessional to have a visible tattoo, but this may be changing.

New generations entering the workforce are changing views of tattoos. As older generations leave the work pool for retirement, tattoos are becoming more acceptable.

Education and experience are still the main determining factors of being hired. Going to college to get a degree and internships are very important to find a job.

Tattoos are a means of self-expression and should not determine hire-ability. Turning away candidates because of tattoos means turning away good candidates that could be added to help the team. This can lead to wrongful hiring and bias in the workplace.

As an American, we are entitled to self-expression. Finding a job with a tattoo should not be hard, as long as you have the right experience and education.

If someone wants a tattoo, they should be able to get it whether it means a lot to them or not. Having tattoos as a determining factor of hire is an unfair judgment. We don’t discriminate against race, religion, or sex because it is a wrongful thing to do, but we still have issues of bias and discrimination against self-expression and things as serious as sexual orientation.

An answer to this is problem would be a change in policy. There should not be bias in hiring if the candidate has viable experience.

Thankfully because there is a new generation coming to age, this may not be a problem in the near future. Again, tattoos are becoming more acceptable to the public and hiring eye. Millennials will soon be the new hiring generation entering the work pool and policies may change. As more generations come to age, things become more flexible. Some may argue that things are becoming more casual, but this is a good thing.

Judging a candidate because of a tattoo or sexual orientation is wrong in my eye. As long as they have the experience, education, and a good work ethic, that should be the only determining factors. Norms are changing and hopefully, we can see more flexibility in the future. We are the future and it is up to us what we do with it. Hopefully, we take it in our hands to do something good with it and make the changes that are needed.

Emily Pearce can be reached at


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