About a generation ago, when tattoos were considered taboo, many people would not even think of hiring someone with visible ink. As with many cultural phenomena, however, times have changed, and there is now less of a stigma attached to the practice of tattooing. Today, it is almost considered outdated and old-fashioned to have no-tattoo policies. But that does not mean that visible tattoos now fail to impact hiring decisions. So what are the growing trends in the policies employers have for tattoos in the workplace?
According to a Pew Research Center report, about 40 percent of “Millennials” (Americans born between 1980 and 2000) have tattoos, and get them at a young age—with their first tattoo acquired between the ages of 18 and 22, typically (73 percent of this group). With numbers like those, hiring managers must choose between having a talented and diverse workforce or discriminating against those with tattoos.
Acceptance of tattoos may depend on the area somewhat as well—some parts of the United States are more progressive and accepting of new social norms than others. Even some large corporations are starting to lift bans and ease up on tattoos in the workplace. Starbucks, for instance, recently began allowing workers to have visible tattoos, as long as they are not on the face or throat, and are considered “tasteful.”
The Impact of Industry
Some industries are much more conservative than others, and while tattoos may be considered perfectly acceptable in some industries, in others, they may be a dealbreaker. Office and business professions tend to be more focused on personal appearance and may find that tattoos look unprofessional in this kind of setting. For jobs taking place in a more relaxed setting, visible tattoos may not be an issue.
Personal Preference and the Impact of Youth
While tattoos were considered more taboo for earlier generations, Generations X and Y are now in control of much more of the hiring, and thus, are influenced by their own values. Young people nearly always have different values from their parents, and the fact is that younger people tend to be more accepting of tattoos than previous generations. In addition, personal preference comes heavily into play when it comes to the influence of tattoos in the workplace.
Types of Tattoos
Naturally, not all tattoos are received with equal enthusiasm. As with the new Starbucks policy, location and content are important. People with facial body art or certain types of tattoo content may encounter a more negative reaction than someone with just a small tattoo on the arm or wrist. Large and/or brightly colored pieces also tend to draw more criticism from others.
Think Before You Ink
If you are worried about the impact your future tattoo could have on your job search, then it may be best to hold off, or simply skip it altogether. Removing or modifying a tattoo is not easy, and it is better to take your time in making a decision instead of regretting your tattoo later on.
If you think your current tattoos may be hurting you in the workplace, or you are simply tired of the design you picked out long ago, there is a solution available: laser tattoo removal treatments. While these treatments are quick and straightforward, the process is lengthy and may not be able to remove the tattoo fully. Modern tattoo ink is very persistent, and it may take many treatments for sufficient fading of the tattoo.
Treatments typically last ten minutes or less, and patients often describe the sensation as similar to a series of snaps from a rubber band. Topical anesthetic may be used if needed. Following treatment, a special ointment must be used during the healing process, and the area must be kept out of the sun to prevent hyperpigmentation complications. Treatments are spaced a few months apart, to allow the skin to break down and absorb the pigment for optimal fading. The number of treatment varies widely depending on the tattoo’s color, size, and complexity.
Talk to a Specialist
With the increase in tattoo popularity, more people are also interested in tattoo removal. This has caused a surge in tattoo removal clinics with laser technicians who are not qualified to ensure patient safety and consistently good results.
If you are interested in tattoo removal, it is best to speak with an expert board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in laser treatments. While risks associated with the treatments are low, it does take a great deal of skill and knowledge to be able to give patients great results.
Dr. Stuart Bentkover of New England Tattoo Removal is renowned for his work in fading difficult tattoos and helping patients reach their goals. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentkover in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA, call Bentkover Plastic Surgery & Laser Center at either location today.