Contrary to popular belief, tattoos are no longer impeding your chances of landing a job – in fact, they might be doing the opposite.

A new study shows that the perception of tattoos in the workplace has changed so much that even a visible tattoo is not linked to individual employment, wages, or earnings discrimination. Specifically, the study found wages and annual earnings of tattooed employees were statistically indistinguishable from those without them.

Surprisingly, tattooed job seekers are also just as likely, and in some instances even more likely, to gain employment, though the specifics of this statement are not readily available to us, although the full paper is published in Human Relations.

About 20 percent of all American adults and 40 percent of millennials have tattoos, according to the Pew Research Center. The research team at the University of Miami Business School and the University of Western Australia reached their results by surveying more than 2,000 subjects from all 50 US states, with roughly half of the respondents coming from urban areas with a population over 1 million. The team started collecting data in the summer of 2016.

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The lead author, Professor Michael French, says hiring managers who continue to discriminate against job candidates with tattoos may be settling for a less-qualified pool of applicants.

“The long-held stigmas associated with having tattoos, and particularly visible ones, may be eroding, especially among younger individuals who view body art as a natural and common form of personal expression,” French said. “Given the increasing prevalence of tattoos in society – around 40 percent for young adults – hiring managers and supervisors who discriminate against tattooed workers will likely find themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the most qualified employees.”

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Previous research found that hiring managers widely perceived tattooed people as less employable than people without tattoos. This was especially the case for those with visible or even offensive tattoos that are difficult to conceal at work.

But now, workers with ink can breathe a sigh of relief when they start sending off their resumes.

(Source: University of Miami Business School)

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  1. Not true regarding many workplaces, though, especially regarding neck, head and facial tattoos. Many restaurants and food delivery services do not allow them. Banking is just one of many businesses in which looking professional does not include visible tats. Lots of people are suffering the wearing of long sleeves at work, due to arms being the most common area for visible tattoos. Unfortunately, many tattoos reflect themes of death, rebellion or gore; definitely not the best reflection on the company one works for. Even lots of pretty flowers and butterflies are distracting.

    I’ve read that over 80% who get tattoos regret them. Tattoo removal is big business. I believe it will get even bigger when today’s 20somethings reach their 40s and beyond. What matters to us at 20 may not at all when we reach 30 or 40.

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