Last updateThu, 18 Jan 2018 3am


Tattoo or Taboo?

The Growing Acceptance of Tattoos in the Workplace

Tattos In WorkplaceThroughout the years there have been many changes made to the social norms in the world, especially in the 21st century. A lot of the older and more traditional ways and views have begun to fade out with the newer generations. Over the years, tattoos were considered to be taboo within our culture. They were frowned upon and not allowed in workplaces at all. One of the biggest questions for students when approaching the end of their college career and getting ready to enter the ‘real world’ is what is the next step? A job is the usual next step, but not the only one.

Do I have any connections? Where do I look? What kind of job do I want? While these questions are important, even when you find those answers, getting the job is a whole other story. You must somehow distinguish yourself amongst other applicants that are more qualified. There are many factors that come into play when landing a job or not getting that callback. But for some, it is not that they do not possess the qualifications for the job, but it the simple fact that employers feel that their tattoos distract from their professionalism.

Tattoos are a way to express yourself. Individuals get inked to show support for their favorite sports team, something they believe in or some sort of value of theirs, maybe even a family crest or just because it looked cool. There are a million reasons to get one, and within the younger generations, they are becoming more prevalent.

Monica Cioppettini, a senior fine arts student, believes, “Tattoos have been becoming more and more socially acceptable. Our generation is super open to them, but many people older than us are stuck in their traditional views.”

According to a Pew Research Center report, forty percent of millennials have a tattoo and the number is rising. The biggest question is will it affect their job searches or careers in the future?

There are a few different factors that come into play when it comes to the acceptance of a tattoo. Some employers have guidelines in effect that tatted employees must abide by. The content of the body modification is very important, especially if it is visible. Paul Kelly, a junior business and marketing management student has five tattoos. “I think about what I’m going to get and make sure that’s what I want because it is on your body for the rest of your life” said Kelly. 

If an employer does hire someone with a tattoo that can be seen by others, it should not be anything inappropriate or offensive. Depending on your job, some tattoos are easily hidden, and some cannot be based on their placement. If you are a banker or businessman who requires a three-piece suit, about 85% of your body is covered in clothing. However, other jobs might call for more business casual attire. The increased leniency and choice on your attire raise your chances of making your tattoo visible to the public. That is where the content of one’s tattoo becomes significant. 

Tattoos have been considered a fashion trend in recent years. Whatever your reasoning is for getting a tattoo, it is good to know not all employers will close their doors. Dr. Kenneth Womack, Ph.D. Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, shared his view on getting inked, “It’s a personal choice.” Womack has taken part of the hiring process at two different universities and has been responsible for conducting over 200 job searches. “I’m tattoo blind. I don’t see any way it can affect their job performance or ability to carry out their work” said Womack.

Some people will say that in their job field, expressiveness and creativeness are welcomed, even if it’s in the form of permanent ink on your body. Others will say it is strictly forbidden and is considered a subculture. Does ink on your body really reflect how well you can get the job done? In this day and age, it seems like the taboo is fading out. That does not mean getting a tattoo on your face is a good idea, but progress is being made on its acceptance in the workplace.


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Monmouth University
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