Do tattoos in the workplace matter anymore?

i just got my first tattoo two months ago on my right forearm. my mom was pissed because she said no one would hire me. but in my observation, the only important people in companies who care about tattoos are either retired or dead. the new generation of CEO's and business owners are in their late 40's and early 50's which puts them being born in the 60's and 70's, the height of social revolution in america and much of Europe . tattoos used to mean "evil and social rejects" now it mostly means "i like it, so what?" whats your experience on having visible tattoos at work?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • It's not accepted by everyone, just wanna put that out there. Most younger people will still have at least some negative associations with tattoos. It's more about your client than about your CEO. If your clients tend to be older, but your CEO is younger and doesn't mind tattoos, he will still not hire you because you aren't good for their business (their clients don't respect people with tattoos). You got it on your forearm, so you will need to hide it for your first interview, just to be safe. Then later, you can gauge their reaction and if they respond positively, you can probably reveal your tattoo. But you'd still have to hide it from your clients.

    I think it's ridiculous how tattoos are perceived by society. So many perfectly sane and law abiding people get them. And yet a tattoo changes their whole image of you. I want to get one too, but on my back, where it's not as visible.

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What Girls Said 21

  • It does still matter but with long sleeves forearms aren't really a big deal like the face or hands.
    Though i dont think it will stay this way. Nowadays tatttoos are more popular. Obviously in the future boss and human ressources will have if not already tattos and bod mod like piercings. So I guess the whole hiring routine will change.
    Even if they could argue that their highest clientele would disagree with this. In the future those customers will be tattooed too.

    I'm thinking mostly in big corporations cause there less likely to trust young tattoed people when students finds jobs the bosses are a bit more laid back.

    Im not saying that everyone will be tattooed but that this is an expanding market. I seee more 60's people getting a tattoo after a recovery or for a tribute.

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  • They still matter. Depending on your job you don't look professional at all and can make people feel uncomfortable.

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  • It mostly depends on your line of work and what you have to do. If you have a job where you'd be constantly meeting with professional, mostly old-fashioned clients, then having a tattoo that cannot be covered up will be a huge disadvantage.

    But if you have a creative job where you don't have to meet with clients all the time, it may not be that big of a deal.

    I wanted to get a tattoo of a bird on my left inner wrist, and tattoo artists everywhere tells me it would cause me problems in the work environment.

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  • I have quite a few tattoos, big ones and all the employers I've had said that they aren't bothered about tattoos as long as they aren't offensive, on the face or all over the hands.

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  • Tattoos are not as taboo as they used to be. They are becoming a norm. I suggest not getting them where they are visible. Just to keep up with a level of professionalism.

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  • It's becoming a lot more acceptable. I am able to have my tattoos visible, along with having my nose studs in at work. However, I had cheek piercings and was not allowed to have them visible. So while tattoos are becoming more acceptable piercings - not as much.

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    • Also it's funny that tattoos were viewed as "evil" in those days. As a little kid my dad (who has tattoos of things most would consider evil) told me that the Native Americans viewed tattoos as the rite of passage to the afterlife. My dad and I are Native so this never ceased to interest me. I grew up believing it was a sacred ritual to our ancestors.

  • I say cover in order to avoid discrimination... Even if it's subconscious, many people still struggle with being discriminative.

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  • Yes they do but not as much. If you are a teacher you are not allowed to have tattoos that show and other jobs will def tell you to cover them. My boyfriends boss does not like to hire people if they have a noticeable tattoo either. Even smaller jobs that I have had where I would make min wage, they would want the workers to cover tattoos.

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  • It depends where you work. Creative environments aren't so strict. In fact, I interviewed for a position and the guy had them and I could see them clearly. Hopefully I get the job because I want to get a tattoo soon.

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  • It's always a good idea to get tattoos in places where they can be covered. For example, I have a Fireman's shield tattooed on my shoulder because it can be covered up. A lot of my coworkers have tattoos on their forearms and my boss tells them to pull down their shirt sleeves when he comes around because he hates tattoos. Even though tattoos are becoming more acceptable, some people still don't like them.

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  • depends on the attitude of the CEO... and also about the visibility of the tattoo!!

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  • Some companies care and others prefer to have you keep them covered. Like my friends and I work at Walmart and some of them have huge tattoos.. They're allowed to show them. Their police is if they're offensive, then you have to keep them covered.

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  • Yes, it does still matter.

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  • Most of our generation is tattooed. The world will have to get over it and adapt.

    As it stands, it generally depends on the field. I think it's mainly business fields that are the most critical.

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    • you realize "most" means 51% or more? And you realize you are wrong?

    • Do you realise I'm from Australia and that we have different statistics to you? And do you realise that I am right? Statistics from 7 years ago show 1 in 7 Australian youths had at least one tattoo. Statistics from 4 years ago show that 1 in 4 had tattoos. Logically speaking, within the next 5-10 years, those will continue to increase and our generation will be MOSTLY tattooed by the time we're 30.

  • They really shouldn't. Tattooes are nothing but art, therefore, they should be allowed to be visible In My Opinion!

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  • It matters to some. I work for a company who doesn't let you show a tattoo. If u have them where you can't cover them, the company won't employ you.

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  • One tattoo is totally fine, even a few more visible tattoos would be fine. I work at a bank, very professional, and we have so many tattooed employees! As long as you don't go tattoo crazy, you're good.

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  • it should matter. most places I work at.. they still do.. if they don't then its a trashy place..

    haha yep here come the downvotes...

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  • i would be pissed if i was your mom too... wait your in your late 20s and still dont have a job? i would be more pissed more at that!
    lol jk;)

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  • For some jobs, I think it'll always matter.
    Business attire usually includes covering up any and all tats, no extra piercings either.
    It is definitely becoming MORE accepted, but like I said, there are certain jobs, even now, who wouldn't even consider someone with a visible tattoo.

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  • They shouldn't

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What Guys Said 20

  • While tattoos have become more socially acceptable, there are still plenty of professions where visible tattoos are not tolerated.

    If you want to work in jobs that aren't customer-facing (computer programmer, network engineer, etc.), or lower-level jobs like bartender, or work in a labor/trade job (construction, auto mechanic, etc.), then tattoos aren't going to hold you back any.

    If you want to be in management, in the legal field, in sales, or in most customer-facing jobs, visible tattoos are going to be a problem, or a complete no-go. You might be fine with arm tattoos if you kept them covered, but hands, neck, face, or anything else that's going to be seen are definitely going to be career-limiting. The same is true for piercings/gauges and other things - they don't fly in professional environments, and that isn't likely to change.

    It's your life and your choice, but make no mistake: tattoos WILL place limits on your future potential. You may not care about that, because you may not have any interest in the types of jobs/careers that tattoos would be a problem for. Just remember that your priorities often change as you get older, have a family, and your need to provide more than an apartment and McDonald's meals becomes a big deal. I've seen people in the corporate world get glass-ceilinged because the company didn't think they were suitable for management or for customer-facing roles due to having visible tattoos or other "alternative lifestyle" appearance. It definitely happens.

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  • In my experience, most places will still expect you to cover up. That goes mostly for white collar jobs, not sure what your field is. If you're working at any type of office I'd recommend covering up for the interview, and I wait a while before revealing it on the job. I have nothing against tattoos per se, but they just don't look professional, for whatever reason. If you work in a "hip" job it most likely won't matter, but the reality is that a lot of people make judgments. I've done hiring before, previously for bartenders, waiters, and bouncers at a bar, and currently for merchandisers for a food distributor, and for both jobs I wouldn't really hold it against them, unless the tat is on their neck or face, that looks a little iffy to the customer (who is ultimately who the company is concerned about being turned off). Your forearm shouldn't be a problem but they may ask you to cover it, again depending on the occupation. I know the "tattooed and employed" movement is a big thing right now, but there are still some old schoolers who, while they did grow up in revolutionary times, still equate tattoos with being a thug. Just keep it low key until you test the waters and get a feel for the climate of tattoo-friendliness.

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  • The type and location of tattoo will have a lasting influence on your career.
    Obviously, if it's not visible when you wear a suit and tie, it makes no difference.

    Anything on your head and neck is questionable in a corporate environment where you are expected to meet clients. The people I know in upper or corporate management who get paid $100k - $500k have zero visible tattoos on their body.

    The juniors or intermediates often have tattoos visible. These include on the back of the neck, tramp stamps, on the leg and arms. They're junior by position, not by age. Some of the intermediates are 40 years old, when they should be senior level.

    So yes, tattoos in high paying jobs definitely matter.

    If you're just going to work flipping burgers, in a mall, or otherwise making $30/hr or less, then people probably care less. When you start making $30-500/hr, it really isn't a good idea to have visible tattoos.

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    • i really appreciate your opinion man. it makes sense. when do u think the new movement of not caring comes into affect? the whole "40yrs old and should have been senior positions" means a lot too. lol.

    • Just to throw it out there, the finance dept., ceo, etc. of the company I work for have visible tattoos on their arms and necks.

      It's also worth noting that a person, who earns +100k didn't get the job by replying to an ad and going to an interview, but most likely is one of the founders of his own business, which means he's his own boss and doesn't answer to anyone, but himself.

    • Well, society has definitely lightened up on the tattoo thing. In the 80's, having a tattoo = minimum wage for life. Tattoos back then were associated more heavily with gangs and bad behavior instead of a method of expression. That's not the case today.

      However, if you're going to be working for someone, tattoos in the hands, face or areas exposed during work should be avoided. I do not want to invest $500k with a guy who decided to get a neck tattoo of a unicorn. It signals bad judgment.

  • It varies from place to place, so you will be able to find work where they don't matter. But it may be that you can't get work at the place you really would prefer. Or if you do get a job at a place that you are happy with, you may have to switch jobs later and find you should not have one showing.

    Best advice, if you feel you just have to have a tat, get it where it is usually covered.

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  • It all depends where you're working, or in your case, trying to work. When I worked at a grocery store a good amount of my coworkers had tattoos, even my boss. I also have a tattoo, just one on my upper chest, so it's pretty easy to cover up. I want to get more but I hesitate to because yeah a lot of companies and employers do judge you for it. I don't see that ever really changing because yeah more and more people are getting inked but there's also still a fair amount of people who frown on it. Even in 30, 40 years when all the older generations die out and the young generation of today are the CEO's and business owners, there's still going to be some people who won't hire someone because of it.

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  • Although it's become a bit more acceptable... a lot of the older and more traditional people (who are generally the bosses in most places) still don't like it, and although they aren't really supposed to discriminate... many of them will. I had long hair and that on it's own put a lot of employers off, I shaved my head to join the military (obviously), but even they had strict rules on tattoos... visible tattoos while wearing a long sleeve shirt aren't allowed.

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  • If I had to choose between hiring a guy with a tattoo or one with a tumorous growth on the top of his head the size of a pumpkin, I'd take the guy with the tumor. It's not that I dislike tattoo's, I'm simply very fond of tumors.

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  • Wait you're in your late 20s and don't have a job? And go spend money on a tat? Never mind that a tat may or may not turn off a potential employer, how about your judgment?

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    • You have a lot of nerve judging a person on their life which you know no more than 300 characters about. You should probably develop your own judgement abilities and realize that not everyone has it easy, or gets to live a well structured and timed life. Shit happens.

    • Maybe the tat was free or extremely low cost at a tattoo party

    • OK I'm being a little bit of a devil's advocate. I'm a business owner and I've hired photo assistants with and without ink - more with than without. But ink or not those people were absolutely on top of their shit.

      People generally judge if someone is on top of their shit in just a couple of seconds. Girls and guys do it to possible mates, business owners do it for employees. Sometimes people get second chances.

      Point being, not a good showing even outside of the issue of inked skin.

  • I'm going to assume this topic is focused on office jobs.

    I think your perception of who are the CEOs, business owners, and executives of companies needs some re-working. Some small or web-only or "hip" company it probably won't matter much. If you apply for companies like Oracle or Fidelity or Wells Fargo, it probably will matter.

    My personal experience:
    - large retail store - very few workers w/ exposed tattoos, but I don't think it mattered much
    - large insurance office - 1/200 workers w/ exposed tattoos
    - small tech office - few tattooed workers but it was fine
    - large insurance office - 1/300 workers w/ exposed tattoos
    - large tech office - 1/300 workers w/ exposed tattoos

    And in none of these jobs did an executive or manager have exposed tattoos.

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  • Most places I'd work, the way you'd be dressed for an interview or meeting a client, it wouldn't be visible. I don't think they'd freak out if at a company barbecue for staff it was visible. I honestly don't know if anyone would comment about it being seen with casual business in the summer when not around clients.

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  • Yes they matter. Just not as much as they use to in certain fields. In other jobs a tattoo will matter a lot more.

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  • One of the fastest growing "industries" today are tattoo removal clinics...

    That sweet multi-ink beauty may look great now, but in ten, fifteen years it's just going to look like some funky skin disease when all the colors and definition dissolve and run together.

    The modern day computerized job application is a weeding out process. Maybe if you came into a corporation with prior experience and maybe you had a skill that corporation wanted very badly they might overlook the dragon tattoo on your wrist but.

    If you're just trying to get your foot in the door? That shiny new tat becomes more a liability... just another way to weed out applicants... than it does any kind of asset for getting hired. At best it's neutral but at worst it puts your application in the circular file.

    Good luck in life.

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    • I'm 47 completely sleeved and been in law enforcement for 25 years. I have had the artwork for 30 years. I wore a suit in the interview. As long as they are in places where they can be covered. Tattoos are not an issue if they can be covered. I'm lucky and don't need to keep them covered. And they will not run it is not possible Scar tissue does not run. They will lose a BIT of definition as your skin ages, But you will always know what the design is. At worst you get it redone if you want

    • I also have 5 piercings in 1 ear. Now that being said. Piercings through the lips, eyebrows and any other place on your face will certainly be used against you.

  • It still matters in a lot of industries. Tattoos give an impression of impulsiveness and recklessness. That can be harmful to you in conservative workplaces.

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  • Since you don't know the culture of the company for sure by the interview, I would just wear a long sleeve shirt.

    If I was a manager or owner, my policy would be to cover up your tattoos on the job.

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  • i've been applying for part time employment and some places specifically request you not have any visible tattoos.

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  • We are living in the 21st century and a lot of things have come a long way like homosexuality, abortion rights, and black people fighting for their rights, plus women fighting for their rights.

    I say tattoos should fight for their rights as well. A lot of people have tattoos these days, so no big deal.

    I just wouldn't go too crazy by having tattoos cover up my whole entire body. That would stand out way too much.

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  • Still do in the Criminal Justice field.

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  • If I were hiring I would expect someone I interview with visible tattoo's to be a shallow dumb-fk.

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  • Business is business, so you theory is wrong in the majority of cases. Some of the hipster companies might not care as much, but most will won't you to cover them up. That shouldn't be difficult for you.

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  • Sorry bro but you'd better wear a long sleeve shirt to that interview and keep wearing it for a while after you get the job. While tattoos are more accepted than they used to be, there are still plenty of people who frown on them and will judge you for having a visible tat in a professional environment.

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