When it came to nailing a job interview, exposing your tattoo was once high on the list of what not to do — right up there with dressing inappropriately, nose rings and arriving late.
As long as they’ve been considered cool, tattoos have also given their owner the unfortunate (and inaccurate) stamp of unprofessionalism. But times, they are a changin’.
The results of a new study have not only proved that dated theory wrong, but have actually also indicated that having a tattoo can now improve your chances of getting a job.
Most academic research on tattoos in the workplace has focused on the negative aspects of having a tattoo, while studies showing positive workplace benefits of tattoos are few and far between. While the research has lagged behind, more and more Americans are getting inked.
So researchers from University of Miami and University of Western Australia Business School set out to study if tattoos really do have an effect on employment.
More than 40 percent of millennials in the U.S. have at least one tattoo, although 72 percent of them say they usually cover them up. So the researchers studied only those with visible tattoos—about 2,200 people across the country—to see how their ink was really making a mark.
According to their findings, a person’s tattoo didn’t matter at all to employers, and in some cases, it actually helped the study participant get a job.
“Not only are the wages and annual earnings of tattooed employees in the United States statistically indistinguishable from the wages and annual earnings of employees without tattoos," read the study's findings, "but tattooed individuals are also just as likely, and in some instances even more likely, to gain employment.”
Wait, what? That’s right - forget what your Dad told you, that Chinese symbol you got with your BFF is no longer considered an employment liability.
"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," said lead study author Michael French in a press release.
"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."