Do Tattoos Harm Your Career Prospects?

Do Tattoos Harm Your Career Prospects?

Approximately one in five people have a tattoo with almost a third of Aussies aged between 35 and 44 being inked. 13 per cent have considered having their ink removed, according to a YouGov survey of 1000 people. But does ink impact employment prospects?

The same survey found 11% of women – who are more likely than men to be tattooed – believe their employment prospects have been hampered by their ink.

Just 3% of men feel the same way.

YouGov found that while 43 per cent Aussies have a positive view of tattoos, 48 per cent of people see them negatively with age a significant factor in shaping attitudes. Respondents under 35 are more likely to have either a very positive or fairly positive view, while those 35 and older are more likely to view tattoos as either very or fairly negatively.

Given that the older group are more likely to be in senior roles that are responsible for hiring it’s not surprising that having ink could be seen as a deterrent in hiring.

For those of you with ink – have you found your tatts to be a problem? And for hiring managers – do you think the presence of visible tattoos influence your hiring decisions?


  • No sympathy if people get visible tatts and then moan about job prospects. It’s stupid to not consider the fact that it might affect your prospects. Same with strange haircuts.

    Yeah, in a perfect world, it shouldn’t make a difference, etc. but of course it does.

    • Considering the advice from the HR guy in those right companies is “Make sure you’re committed to a lifetime of limited options before tattooing somewhere visible.” I would take the headline with a grain of salt.
      It is not necessarily the close mindedness of the organisation itself but more of that organisation’s clients. As the article states the older the demographic the more likely they are to view them negatively.

  • I’d been in or around my position for the better part of 18 months prior to getting inked, and I work with people within about ten years either side of my age. Nobody was surprised to see either that I had got it done, or the artwork itself – an NES Controller half melting like the clocks in Dali’s “Persistence of Memory,” on my left forearm.

    We’ve had the odd person from interstate come over, and wearing a long sleeve shirt isn’t much of a burden. I’m confident enough that should I ever go for a new position that its reveal won’t come as too much of a surprise to any one, once I have successfully landed the position.

    I really think the attitude is changing, mostly because ink is becoming so prevalent. When it was just sailors and bikies of course they picked up some stigma, but as the range of people getting them done, and the actual honest-to-goodness art that they have become is seen, that stigma is nearly gone.

  • I have visible tattoos that I can’t cover (back of one hand and 3 fingers). I had them done when I was younger and in a trade, and now I’m in management and in an office environment.

    For the most part my tattoos have never been an issue, although I had one MD who I had to cover my arms around (I have sleeves as well) and I believe it has hindered career prospects once or twice; but overall I’ve had positive experiences.

    That being said, I wish I hadn’t had the back of my hand done now. You are a different person 10 years after the fact.

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