If there were graphs for how often certain phrases were said in this country, “Oh no, it’ll stop you getting a job” would show an extraordinary rise over the last ten years or so, since the Everyone Has At Least A Half-Sleeve Act of 2007.
It’s the first thing that comes out of the mouth of any parent whose offspring has gone out and got a tattoo – that their employment prospects have just been enormously diminished by the application of ink to skin.
According to a new study, though, that’s all nonsense. Published in Human Relations, the study, entitled Are tattoos associated with employment and wage discrimination? Analyzing the relationships between body art and labor market outcomes, concluded that not only did tattoos not reduce anyone’s employability, in some cases they actually made people seem more employable.
2,064 people across all 50 American states were asked about their background, their lifestyles, their earnings, their employment status and of course, their tattoos. There was a 50-50 mix of respondents from urban and rural environments and the results were pretty surprising.
Waaaay more people have tattoos than you’d think. 23% of men and 37% of women were inked – that’s a lot of sick tribals. More importantly however, there was no link found at all between tattoos and employment discrimination or lower wages. In fact, tattooed people worked a few more days a year than the non-tattooed.
So the you-won’t-get-a-job argument is baloney. Tattooed men seemed to be particularly overrepresented in blue-collar industries, but other than that, there’s no difference at all. So basically… don’t worry about any of it. Your ink is probably fine.