Are Tattoos Still a Taboo in the Workplace?

large_hands-1031131_1920 (1)_0.jpg








In recent years, tattoos have become more accepted within society, going from being a cultural taboo, to a celebrated expression of self, but has this new social norm made its way into the workplace? 

Although there have been major developments in tackling workplace discrimination, tattoos are still a taboo in many working environments.

While many companies have relaxed their views on body art, there are still many obstacles that can either stall the career of an inked individual, or have a negative effect on job prospects.

But why is it still okay to discriminate against people in the workplace for their ink? 

In this podcast we talk to David Allpress, a recruitment officer for a catering company, and Amy Brown, the manager of a coffee shop in Huddersfield about their views on tattoos in a professional environment, as well as tattoo artist Harry Peace, from Diamonds & Dusters  about his views and experiences. 

Have you ever had a negative experience because of your tattoos? Do you feel really strongly about their place in a professional setting? If so, feel free to comment below and share your thoughts.


Written by: 
Joseph Marston


Ah man, that's such a shame... I've always wanted to work for Totally Real Productions. Seriously though, I think it's beyond ridiculous that tattoos are still so frowned upon in the workplace. Unless the tattoo could be seen as offensive (for example, Nazi symbolism or explicit language), what effect does it have on the employer, or the job? I just hope the managers who turn people away as soon as they see a tattoo realise one day that they could be missing out on some seriously wonderful and talented employees, so that this ridiculousness can stop.

Brilliant podcast, thank you for sharing it! I hope some day people will accept tattoos everywhere, because they are very interesting. I don’t see why they are seen as unprofessional at all – they show individuality and personality, and they do not affect a person’s ability to do their job.

I didnt take the chance to listen as I am currently at work. Yes they are still taboo in most professional settings but I have no argument against that.

My IT job is pretty accepting of tattoos/piercings, as well as the city I live in in general (as this is a perspective in the UK, great Manc accents). Although I imagine even sleeve tattoos should be fine in a conventional work place as long as someone's willing to wear long sleeves to work everyday or to interviews. Hand tattoos, probably still life-ruining unless you're pretty entrenched in your career. I do like the idea of being a salty old dude at the workplace with hand tattoos who's to experienced to let go.

I totally agree, I guess I was looking from a perspective of living within a professional world where their acceptance is fairly inconsistent but improving. Though I would hope that one day they unilaterally become a non-issue, and that people are hired based solely on qualifications, and not appearance. That's also true though. Like the tattoo artist said, he will never give someone hand tattoos as a first tattoo. I find that artists here in the US take the same stance. It shouldn't have to be that way, although it's a world we have to live in for the time being. However, I do have a positive outlook for visible tattoos as well, things just take time. As older generations start to retire and younger ones take over, I think it's inevitable.

I work for a multinational corporation where I am required to wear a suit and tie everyday. I have hand tattoos.

I'd like hand tattoos one day for sure, but I think I'm far too early in my career to have them quite yet.

I don't want a job that won't allow me to have tattoos.

I live in Indonesia where most people still think tattoo is a sign of unworthy people, but most multinational companies and agencies doesn't mind if the employees has tattoos. Different case if you're working for the government though, it's a no-no from the start, they'll check all over your body when you sign up.