Should having a tattoo affect your chances of getting a job?

In 2020 you would have thought that having a tattoo wouldn’t affect your chances of getting a job, but even now there are still jobs that will think twice about hiring someone who has tattoos.

At the moment in the UK, there is currently no workplace equality measures to stop employers basing their recruitment decisions on whether or not you have tattoos, except in the case of religious markings.

Photos taken by Stacey Whelan & Raychel Maughan.

This means that it is possible for companies to not hire you if they don’t approve of the tattoos you have, in some cases they can even fire existing employees.

Raychel Maughan, a tattoo artist based in Newcastle and has been tattooing for nine years, said: “Jobs are getting where if you do have tattoos on your arm, they don’t mind.

“I can see why they would still mind if it’s like a naked lass or like a dildo, or something that you shouldn’t really see or have tattooed on you anyway. Nazi symbols and that.”

Photo taken by Stacey Whelan.

Most people would agree that when growing up we’ve been taught that getting tattoos would stop us being able to get jobs in certain fields, like teachers, doctors and lawyers.

As someone who has most of their body covered in tattoos, I’ve always stayed away from getting job stopper tattoos, these are tattoos that are on your hands, neck or face. But that hasn’t stopped past employers saying to either wear bandages or long sleeve t-shirts to cover up tattoos on my arm – this being in a retail job.

But why do jobs still have a problem with people having tattoos? Many have argued that having tattoos is seen as unprofessional, that they could scare away potential customers or that it simply isn’t the image they want for their company.

A study conducted by YouGov in 2015, found that 56% of people aged over 60 would think less positively of someone who had a large tattoo. However, they also found that only 17% of people aged between 18 and 24 would think this way.

The video clip below is Philip Aitcheson’s experience on having a job with tattoos and whether he has experienced any difficulties.

Even if you get a tattoo it’s always possible to cover it up, except if it’s a job stopper tattoo. There are even tattoo studios that will refuse to tattoo a job stopper on you if you don’t have any other tattoos on you, and will ask to see your other tattoos before accepting the booking.

Raychel spoke about her opinion on studios doing this: “I’m worse than that, even if they haven’t got a job, I want to know what job they’ve got, how long they’ve had it, how old they are.

“I tattooed a lad recently, and I only did his hand because I think he was like mid-twenties, but he was like a builder or bricklayer or something, and they don’t care.”

Some people might have chosen to get a tattoo on their hand or neck, because when they wear a long-sleeved t-shirt it can look like they have more tattoos. This way is a lot cheaper, but by getting job stopper tattoos have they risked their chances of getting a job?

Raychel continued: “Don’t get them, especially if you don’t know what you’ve doing and you haven’t got a job, you haven’t got your foot your foot in a good solid career where they don’t care about it, don’t get it.

“Cause it’s just aesthetic and like, who cares anyway.”

Job stopper tattoos aren’t the only problem that employers find; they also have a problem with offensive tattoos. It’s understandable if tattoos are offensive or discriminatory will affect your chances of getting a job.

Photo taken by Stacey Whelan. Tattoo by Iris Lys.

However, now there is a growth in people getting what is seen as kinky tattoos. Sad Amish, a French tattoo artist who specialises in tattooing explicit/sexual images of mainly women, has clients who have travelled across the globe just to get one of his designs tattooed on them.

Raychel said: “I’ve tattooed nipples, I dunno if that’s just down to personal preference but to me, nipples aren’t offensive. I mean obviously if the nipples are out and something else is being done to the nipple, then yes.

“It’s as offensive as someone breastfeeding on the street, do you know what I mean?”

Everyone knows that tattoos are definitely becoming more mainstream, especially with younger people.

One of the ways you can see this is due to the growth of tattoo conventions coming to local areas, and the amount of tattoo artists and visitors they attract. The Big North Tattoo Convention in Newcastle attracts over 300 tattoo artists each year.

Photo taken by Raychel Maughan.

But this growth means there has also been a lot more tattoos that are getting covered up, due to them not looking right or they just don’t want them anymore.

Raychel commented on the amount of coverups the studio she works in has to do: “I would say generally in this shop cover ups are maybe between 30 and 40 percent of everyone’s workload, at least. But you’re talking like little ones or even ones people have had since the eighties.”

However, some people have been getting coverups because they just aren’t appropriate for work. Shows like Tattoo Fixers have many people going on the show with inappropriate tattoos that they’ve gotten off a holiday or had for year, but now realise they need covering up due to regretting them.

So, before getting a tattoo should people think about what’s best for their career or get something because it’s their body, and it’s what they really want done?

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