Tattoos Vs. Jobs The Battle of Professionalism

By Caitlyn Conibear


For years tattoos have been seen as inappropriate and almost rebellious and to get a
decent job while having them was a fairytale. Students have always been told to be smart about
their tattoo decisions and more importantly the location if they wanted to land those big bucks.
Fortunately for students now this stigma is coming to an end and the reigns on tattoos , and
piercings, have been loosened. With almost 3 in 10 people having tattoos, and those numbers
only rising with younger generations, this comes to no surprise.
With tattoos on the rise, it is smart for companies to become more open and jump on
the body art train, but unfortunately not all of them do and still have those decade old views. In a
2013 survey from Salary.com 2,675 people were asked if tattoos hurt the chances of being
hired. Surprisingly 76% of the respondents agreed that tattoos do in fact hurt theses chances
and 39% even go as far as saying that they reflect poorly on the employers. After surveying 100
students at Niagara County Community College using the same question, 83% of students
disagreed and said they do not think tattoos in society today affect getting a job. “I have built
multiple long -term relationships at work with customers because of our love for tattoos, they just
allow you to be individualistic while still promoting and being a good image for your company.”
says student Ryan Blair. Even though tattoos tend to bring more positivity than its opposite
during face-to-face operations, businesses still have fears about their visibility. “For centuries
most businesses have vigorously defended their traditional right to set and enforce dress and
appearance standards for employees,” said Joseph O’Grady, professor of business at
Burlington’s Champlain College. “But, the 21st century has brought lots of changes in social
norms.” O’Grady also goes on and lists the three main concerns employers have when hiring.
— The concern that the organization’s brand or image might be compromised by
outlandish tattoos
— The belief that an employee will not be taken seriously by tradition-minded clients
— The concern that one person’s body art could be perceived as offensive or hostile to
a co-worker or customer.
Besides a visibility issue with the less tolerant older generation, students at NCCC
believe that a candidate should not be solely judged on their appearance but instead focused on
the important aspects like past experiences, skills, how they interview and their resume. With
about half of Millennials (47%) and over a third of Generation X (36%) having at least one tattoo
it won’t be long until the business world is run by tattoo enthusiasts. Regardless of these newly
accepted open minded views, a candidate preparing for an interview should always research
the company to figure out company policy on tattoos and piercings and even try to match
corporates culture.