Since the time we’re small, it’s instilled in us that having a tattoo = no jobs. Ever. I even recall my dad, who donned a half-sleeve mind you, and never had a gap in employment, ingraining in both myself and my sister that we would have “a damn tough time findin’ a job if you ever got tattoos.” Needless to say, neither one of us listened. So the question remains, are you less employable if you’re tattooed?
Recent studies by Dr. Andrew Timming of St. Andrews University have shown that it all really depends on the employer. A bar, for example, is statistically more inclined to hire someone with a tattoo, as they are more likely to draw a younger crowd. Conversely, a lawyer with numerous visible tattoos probably isn’t as likely to draw in a multitude of clients.
Personally, I’ve encountered both situations. When I was hired at Agent Provocateur when I was twenty-one, a company whose history is very much deeply rooted in tattoo and punk culture, it was for my lack of tattoos. My hiring manager at the time, who was very tattooed herself, insisted that I was the better candidate because I only had one tattoo. According to her, it was important to hire a variety of different looking people so as not to alienate customers. Three of the employees were incredibly tattooed, while myself and one other girl had virtually none.
More recently, I interviewed at a particularly buttoned-up charter school for a social media position. During the interview my relatively small tattoo was brought up, which I assured them I would cover up for work. I could have just been reading the entire interaction wrong, but suffice it to say, I did not get the job.
So whether or not being tattooed affects your employability is still up for debate. Recent studies suggest that now, more than ever, employers are exceptionally open to tattooed employees representing their company. But the better question to ask yourself: Do you really want to be working for someone that cares?