According to a study cited by the British Association of Dermatologists in 2012 one in five Britons has braved the needle. From children’s names to elaborate works of art tattoos have seen a steady increase since Samuel O’Riley patented the tattoo needle in 1891.
Whilst the origins of the humble tattoo can be traced back to tribal traditions, in the western world the art form travelled from obscurity through to the mainstream via subcultures often disdained by middle class society such as sailors, bikers, soldiers and gang members. Add this to the effects of pervading religious views on ‘body mutilation/adaption’ and we have a perfect storm for the negative view of tattooing that can be seen today.
Recent research by Dr Andrew R. Timming showed that employers were prone to view visible tattoos negatively. He interviewed 15 hiring managers from a variety of organisations. Dr Timming told the conference that “most respondents agreed that visible tattoos are a stigma.”
Employers in customer facing industries had the strongest views on the topic. Assumptions that customers could view people with tattoos as ‘abhorrent’, ‘repugnant’, ‘unsavoury’ and ‘untidy’ were common place.
His findings aren’t all doom and gloom though. A HR manager at a prison noted that tattoos can be ‘an in’ with prisoners helping guards to build rapport more easily. He also noted that the age of his respondents seemed to have an effect on their views of tattooing. Younger respondents were less likely to view tattoos in such a negative light. As the baton of ‘tattoo popularisation’ within mainstream culture is picked up by celebrities such as David Beckham and Cheryl Cole it’s likely that negative views towards tattoos will soften, to what extent however, only time will tell!
With Dr Timming’s findings in mind it’s certainly worth considering what affect it could have on your future employability. Discrete tattoos or ones that can be covered up easily could be the way forward if you are going to succumb to the attraction of getting a tattoo.
Think before you ink and if you decide to go ahead ensure that you go with a reputable and talented tattoo artist! A quick Google search of “bad tattoos” will show you how bad a tattoo can really be!
Do you suspect that your visible tattoos have affected your chances of getting a job?
Or are you an employer able to look past the ink to the individuals skills and experience?
Let us know in the comments below!