Tattoos can improve your chances of getting hired: study

By Cheyenne MacDonald

Research has found that having tattoos can actually increase a candidate's chance at employment. Photo / Getty
Research has found that having tattoos can actually increase a candidate's chance at employment. Photo / Getty

It's a piece of advice that often comes unwelcome to people with tattoos - 'you'll never get a job with those.'

And according to a new study, it's time to put these words to rest.

A researcher has found that having tattoos can actually increase a candidate's chance at employment, as body art can help to convey an organization's image, especially for those geared toward younger customers.

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In the study, led by the University of St. Andrews, 192 people with managerial experience were recruited to rate images of people both with and without tattoos.

The research, presented on Wednesday at the British Sociological Association, was carried out in the US and UK, and used photos from a public image database.

Photos of four men and four women in their 30s were altered to create a version in which they each had a star-shaped tattoo on their neck.

Then both versions, along with eight 'diversionary' faces,' were shown to the participants to evaluate based on hypothetical recruitment for a position either as a bartender at a nightclub or a waiter at an upscale restaurant.

When selecting a candidate for the bartending role, the managers gave a higher rating to the tattooed version of the faces, with an average score of 5.07 out of 7 for male faces, compared to an average 4.38 given to the non-tattooed version of the same face.

According to the researcher, the managers believe a tattooed employee - such as in the case of the hypothetical bartender - will attract a young clientele.

'Visibly tattooed job applicants can present as attractive candidates in the labour market because they can help to positively convey an organization's image or brand, particularly in firms that seek to target a younger, edgier demographic of customers,' says Dr Andrew Timming of the University of St. Andrews.

'Body art can be seen as an asset in the labour market, as long as an applicant's tattoos are compatible with the organization's wider brand personality.

'This argument is compatible with anecdotal evidence that there has been, in recent decades, what might be called a 'tattoo renaissance' in which body art has figured more positively in mainstream society and popular culture.'

Timming also conducted a second part to the study, in which he interviewed two managers of a skateboard firm and a chain of 'trendy' pubs.

The discussions supported the earlier findings, as both managers said a tattooed staff would be positively received by their younger customers.

But, across the board, managers and customers agreed that tattoos that could be offensive would be unacceptable - including those depicting misogynistic, Satanic, or fascist imagery, or anything related to drinking or drugs.

Employers think a tattooed employee will attract a young clientele. Photo / Getty Images
Employers think a tattooed employee will attract a young clientele. Photo / Getty Images

'Previous research has focused on the negative effects of tattoos on one's employment chances, but the idea that body art can improve job prospects has, until now, been largely neglected,' Dr Timming said.

'This research is both timely and important because of the dramatic increase in the number of tattoos in recent years.'

What the study found:

The researcher found that managers seeking a bartender for a hypothetical nightclub gave higher ratings to the images in which the candidate was tattooed.

Those looking for a waiter at an upscale restaurant, however, gave the tattooed images a lower rating.

According to the study, the managers believe a tattooed employee - such as in the case of the hypothetical bartender - will attract a young clientele.

But, across the board, both managers and customers agreed that tattoos that could be offensive would be unacceptable - including those depicting misogynistic, Satanic, or fascist imagery, or anything related to drinking or drugs.

- Daily Mail

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