A recent Pew research study found that 4-in-10 people between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo. But will those tattoos mean problems when it comes to employment?
Meredith Haberfeld is an executive career coach who works with clients around the nation looking to work in a variety of industries. And while many more people these days may have tattoos, it is safe to say that image still matters in getting and keeping a job — perhaps more than ever.
“A study conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 37 percent of HR managers cite tattoos as the third physical attribute most likely to limit career potential,” says Haberfeld. (Obvious, non-ear piercings topped the list, followed by bad breath.)
The key to succeeding is getting a feel for the culture of a workplace. When it comes to the issue of whether ink will affect your livelihood, Haberfeld says it really depends on where you hope to get work.
She cites some sectors where tattoos are acceptable: auto, military, construction, design, film, music, digital media, styling, athletics. Haberfeld says there are many realms where having an individual, artistic expression on your body is common — even expected.
But there are still many offices where body art isn’t so acceptable. If you are looking to work in business, government, education, medicine, law — Haberfeld says that ink can often send the wrong message to employers and clients: that you are trying to rebel.
“Each employer is going to vary from conservative to liberal when it comes to tolerance for their body art, so a good rule is to keep it covered in your interviews and even during your first few weeks in your job until you get a sense for the culture of the workplace,” she says. If you can’t cover up with regular professional attire, makeup is an option.
Haberfeld says the cost of an average tattoo — which depends on size, color, artist — ranges between $100-300. The cost of removing a tattoo is where expenses can add up. The most common type of tattoo removal is done by laser, which can cost $200-500 per sessions (and it usually takes between 5-10 sessions).
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.