In Western society, tattoos have long been viewed as a negative when it comes to employment potential, but a new study reveals a change in public opinion. Nearly half of millennials have at least one tattoo and companies may put themselves at a competitive disadvantage if they dismiss any applicant with ink. The study found that tattooed individuals don’t suffer financially due to the markings, and may even benefit from them.
The study comes from researchers with the University of Western Australia and the University of Miami. The team surveyed more than 2,000 people across all 50 states, about half of which were from urban cities with more than 1 million people.
Data collected by the researchers found that tattoos, including visible markings, due not result in employment, earnings, or wages discrimination. Digging into annual earnings and wages, tattooed workers were found to be “statistically indistinguishable” from non-tattooed employees. As well, the researchers found that in some instances, a tattooed employee was more likely to be hired.
Talking about their research is Miami Business School’s Department of Health Sector Management and Policy professor of health economics Michael French, who said:
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. 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.
This represents a big change over past decades, where visible tattoos could have a negative impact on someone’s ability to get a job. The study points out that by turning away someone who is tattooed, employers may lose desirable employees to competitors.