With tattoos becoming more and more popular as a form of self-expression and art, employers are faced with the question of whether or not visible tattoos still need to be a barrier to application.
Why Are Tattoos In The Workplace Still Stigmatized?
As more and more people get tattoos, they still face hindrances when it comes to applying for jobs. Andrew Gillreath-Brown of WSU said, “People have been getting tattoos for at least the last 5,000 years,”
When Otzi the iceman, who had 61 tattoos was uncovered, much of human history and its connection to tattoos also unraveled.
“Even in ancient times, they had deep, symbolic meaning,”
The world however has since changed its perceptions of tattoos. With new associations to gang culture and aggression, tattoos are still taboo in the workplace.
“They associate you with a bad crowd, just because you have a tattoo,”.
Brown says these associations in recent times are unfair to applicants.
“I think, for the most part, getting to know people who have tattoos, a lot of those assumptions that you might be making about them go out the window. It would make the work environment much more healthy.”
An insurance agent Molly Baylor said, “I work at an insurance company for seniors, and I notice sometimes when they come in, they see that I’m young and have tattoos. They have a look of uncertainty on their face and then ask to talk to someone else.”
She adds that, “They are important to me because they express who I am, all of my tattoos, they have meaning behind them and they all have a story behind them,”
“Tattoos don’t necessarily define who you are. As long as you are doing your job and doing it professionally, your tattoos should not have an effect on that,”
She is also, however, seeing a shift in perceptions.
“It’s starting to become more normal, it seems like in our generation, we are a lot more open-minded and accepting of it,”
As time goes on, these perceptions might continue to change. With many workplaces seeing a reduction in applicants as a result of their tattoo policies, employers are seriously considering loosening up regarding tattoo bans in the workplace.