Virtually all of us remember Maui – a popular Disney’s Moana character – who had his body tattooed as a symbol of the exciting life exploits he had experienced in the story. Now, imagine yourself as a parent and HR professional; and Maui just came in for a scheduled job interview with the enormous amount of ink on his body. With such an appearance, do you think Maui’s chances of landing the job became slimmer, brighter, or unaffected?
While you are still figuring that out, here is a quick insight about a study that showed that tattoos may not be an influence on an individual’s employment status. Professors Karoline Mortensen and Michael French, both of the University of Miami, and Andrew Timming of the University of Western Australia, engaged in a study, using over 2,000 people across all U.S. states as the case study.
Each of the 2,000 respondents were asked questions on the relationship between their employment status, earnings, and tattoos. And after analysis, these professors came out with a conclusion that the ink does not influence the hiring process.
According to the study, “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, but tattooed individuals are also just as likely and in some instances even more likely, to gain employment.”
Why is this possible?
Before now, tattoos were literally forbidden, and candidates on ink were always very concerned about their chances of securing good jobs in the labor market. However, it is now believed that the culture has shifted, and tattoos are now considered normal and generally acceptable.
Professor French, already with four tattoos of his own and with possibilities of getting more, also subscribes to the new status of tattoos. Speaking in a recent interview, French opined “The popularity is forcing employers to accept tattoos.” He explained further, “Tattoos are so common that if you disqualify candidates because of them, you’re going to be in a worse position because you’re missing out on talent.”
Though it was an online survey, the professors were sincere to submit that the research is not perfectly accurate. All respondents were required to sign up online, thus, there are chances that the respondents distorted the results a bit by submitting insincere information. For instance, most of the respondents in the study claimed to be women – about 64 percent.
Also, the research was not tailored to a certain industry. It is possible that the white-collar jobs industry engages in less discrimination against inked individuals, compared to blue-collar jobs industry. Or vice-versa.
From the study, it is clear that ink discrimination is no more prominent in today’s world. However, the research did not provide answers to some important questions, some of which are: If type of content influence the chances of acceptability of any tattoo in the work place?
So how much ink is excessive? If a standard should be designed to determine how much ink remains visible to customers or clients? Employers hold the answers to these questions, based on what they consider acceptable, in line with their style of business, clients, employer branding, as well as talent acquisition and recruitment methods.