Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tattoos reduce chances of getting a job

Date:
September 4, 2013
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
Having a tattoo can reduce your chance of getting a job, but it depends on where the tattoo is, what it depicts, and if the job involves dealing with customers.

Having a tattoo can reduce your chance of getting a job, but it depends on where the tattoo is, what it depicts and if the job involves dealing with customers, new research says.

Dr Andrew R. Timming told the British Sociological Association conference on work, employment and society in Warwick today that employers were prone to view tattoos negatively. Dr Timming, of the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, said he had spoken to 15 managers involved in hiring staff about their reaction to interview candidates with visible tattoos. The managers worked for organisations including a hotel, bank, city council, prison, university and bookseller.

"Most respondents agreed that visible tattoos are a stigma," Dr Timming told the conference. One woman manager told him that "they make a person look dirty." Another male manager told him "subconsciously that would stop me from employing them." Another male manager said "tattoos are the first thing they [fellow recruiters] talk about when the person has gone out of the door."

The managers were concerned about what their organisations' customers might think, said Dr Timming. "Hiring managers realise that, ultimately, it does not matter what they think of tattoos -- what really matters, instead, is how customers might perceive employees with visible tattoos.

"Respondents expressed concern that visibly tattooed workers may be perceived by customers to be 'abhorrent', 'repugnant', 'unsavoury' and 'untidy'. It was surmised that customers might project a negative service experience based on stereotypes that tattooed people are thugs and druggies."

One woman manager told him: "We all judge people on first impressions and what we sum up is quite quick. When they [customers] walk in the door and see that there's a receptionist with guns or knives tattooed, or 'hate' tattooed, I think that is something that would be uncomfortable."

Dr Timming said: "The one qualification to this argument is there are certain industries in which tattoos may be a desirable characteristic in a job interview. For example, an HR manager at a prison noted that tattoos on guards can be 'something to talk about' and 'an in' that you need to make a connection with the prisoners."

The negative attitude to tattoos did not extend to ones that could be easily concealed by clothing. Three of the managers themselves had concealed tattoos -- one "was so proud of his body art that he somewhat humorously took off his shirt, exposing his naked torso" during his conversation with Dr Timming.

Dr Timming also found that in some of the organisations it was only certain types of tattoos that diminished the chances of getting a job at interview. One male manager told him: "If it's gang culture-related you may have a different view about the tattoo than if it's just because it's a nice drawing of an animal that they've done on their arm."

Dr Timming told the conference: "Tattoo acceptance was at its highest with innocuous symbols like flowers or butterflies. Military insignia was also seen as a 'badge of honour'.

"Examples of distasteful tattoos given by the managers included 'a spider's web tattooed on the neck'; 'somebody being hung, somebody being shot'; 'things to do with death'; 'face tears, which suggest that you've maimed or killed'; 'something of a sexual content'; anything with 'drug connotations'; and 'images with racist innuendo' such as a swastika."

He also found that "there was a broad consensus among the respondents that although visible tattoos still hold a degree of taboo, in the not-so-distant future they will inevitably gain greater acceptance in the wider society.

"Several respondents pointed out that intolerance to tattoos is currently strongest amongst the older generations. That, coupled with the increasing prevalence of tattoos in younger people, points to a future in which body art will become largely normalised and accepted.

"Tattooed applicants can take comfort in the fact that the stigma associated with body art appears to be on the wane and that, as a corollary, there will likely be an increase in the number of potentially sympathetic tattooed hiring managers.

"In the event that one chooses to get a visible tattoo, one would do well to select a genre that is unlikely to be perceived as distasteful by hiring managers, co-workers and customers alike."

Dr Timming's interviewees worked for 14 organisations with between one and 24,000 staff, and were all based in mid or southern Scotland. The managers were aged in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "Tattoos reduce chances of getting a job." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904094108.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2013, September 4). Tattoos reduce chances of getting a job. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904094108.htm
SAGE Publications. "Tattoos reduce chances of getting a job." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904094108.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 12, 2014) The worst known Ebola outbreak is proving extremely difficult to contain. Hospitals are full, and victims of the virus are suffering in the streets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins