Most millennials approve of tattoos, piercings, but affects job hiring

Some jobs may require employees to keep tattoos hidden. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

By Lindsay Wigo

Staff Writer

It’s a sensitive subject, literally. According to Pew Research Center (2012) more than 40 percent of all people ages 18-29 have at least one tattoo. Tattoos and piercings are becoming more and more popular as teens and grads enter the workforce. The question that arises is “Will my tattoo prevent me from getting a job?”

The answer is simple: It depends on age.

The same study by Pew Research Center concluded that the older the employer, the less tolerant they are going to be towards tattoos. About 63 percent of people ages 60 and older disapproved of tattoos in the workplace while only 22 percent of people ages 18-29 said they are against tattoos in the workplace.

This study also explained that 49 percent of those surveyed stated they do not want their child to have tattoos or piercings. A possible explanation of this is that 37 percent of HR managers claim that tattoos are on the list of the top three things that limit career potential. Basically, tattoos and piercings could prevent a person from getting a job position.

When asked if parents would approve of their child’s tattoos/piercings, only 26 percent of parents’ ages 26-32 said they would disapprove. In a group of parents’ ages 60 and older, 70 percent said they would not approve. Tattoos and piercings are becoming a norm among millennials, which explains why younger people are more supportive of them.

As a girl with a total of 11 ear piercings, the negative stigma can get tiresome. I was never denied a job because of them, but I know it is possible and common for others. I am an avid believer in creativity, and if that means expression through tattoos, then so be it. I do understand, however, that tattoos and piercings can come across as rebellious and intimidating. A boss would not like to hire somebody with this reputation because that would be a negative contribution to his or her company.

Tattoos can also be deemed inappropriate to some people. However, if we take the negative connotation with tattoos and piercings and kick it to the curb, it shows a person’s unique individuality showing off their artistic side.

Meredith Haberfield, an executive career coach, says in a marketplace.org article that it’s best to keep tattoos hidden during your interview and the first couple of shifts if you are unsure if they are welcomed. Waiting until you get a feel for the work environment before revealing tattoos is the best option. The employee will begin to understand if it’s appropriate to show them at work once he or she gets more comfortable.

Although it is a personal decision, tattoos and piercings should be taken into account if you’re going to apply for a job where these things may be deal breakers.

Some questions to ask yourself before flashing tattoos and piercings are: How serious is the job? How professional is the attire?

Think twice before showing your ink to an employer, because even though it may be expression and artistic creativity to you, it may not be to them.

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