By Shayla Teague, Individual and Family Benefits Consultant
In 2005ish my husband was denied a job at a movie theater because he had a visible nautical star tattoo. Nautical Star tattoos are one of the oldest tattoo symbols and have been around for over a century. Sailors used to use the stars to navigate their ship. The tattoo started as a superstition and tribute to the stars getting them home safely. The nautical star, still to this day, is representative of finding your way in life or being positively guided into the future. Like my husband’s tattoo, many people’s choice to get ink is symbolic of their life experiences.
Tattoos in the workplace have always been taboo, but is that changing? There is a new generation in the workforce and with that comes a change in culture. According to “History of Tattoos,” 36% of Americans between the age of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo. Additionally, 69% of people don’t see people with tattoos any more or less deviant than people without tattoos.
Although so many Americans in the workforce have tattoos, majority of them are hidden. According to AIMS Education, as of 2015 76% of employees believed tattoos and piercings hurt job interview chances. However, 73% of people say they would hire staff that had visible tattoos. I thought those were some interesting statistics considering the contradiction.
While tattoos are becoming more and more accepted, employers can still enforce a dress code that require them to be covered up. This can be based on personal views or values. It can also be based on public contact. I think we will continue to see shifts to this as people become more and more open to the idea that tattoos express creativity and individuality.
For now, if you have tattoos or are thinking of getting a tattoo, we still must be mindful of the perception and acceptability of them. Here is a great article from Indeed to help navigate having, or not, tattoos in the workplace.