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Tattoos in the Workplace: Is it Still an Issue in 2023?

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Published: 01.02.2023
Updated: 09.15.2023

Is it Unprofessional to Have Tattoos in 2023?

tattoos in the workplace

As tattoos become more popular, we are seeing a huge shift in tattoo policies in the workplace. Historically, tattoos have been frowned upon by professions such as healthcare, childcare, business, military, and law as individuals with tattoos were often associated with prisoners and gangs.

Almost half of the millennials in the United States have at least one tattoo. This is the highest rate of tattoos per age range in comparison to Gen X-ers at 36% and baby boomers at only 3%. This shows that tattoos are increasingly becoming popular among younger generations. More millennials and Gen Z-ers are entering the workforce and the percentage of people who either have a tattoo or accept them in the work environment is growing rapidly.

What Industries Have Changed Their Tattoo Policies?

Below are two industries that historically have had strict no tattoo policies, but have things changed? See the U.S. military and airline industry’s stride towards tattoo acceptance in the workplace.

United Airlines New Tattoo Policy 

Tattoos in the workplace

The airline industry has always been notorious for strict dress codes. If you are or plan to become a flight attendant, it’s important to read up on every airline industry’s tattoo policies. Typically, no visible tattoos are allowed on flight attendants and it’s often asked during interviews if you have a tattoo, which could affect your ability to get hired.

For example, United Airlines’ existing appearance standards state that “tattoos must never be visible while in uniform”. However, Simple Flying reported that United Airlines flight attendants can have visible tattoos starting in September 2021. The new policy limitations state that the tattoos must be smaller than the size of their work badge and cannot contain obscene or offensive imagery or wording. Even with this progress, United Airlines still does not condone customer-facing employees who have tattoos on their hands, neck, or face. Want to become a flight attendant but have too many tattoos? Check out our before and after gallery to get a glimpse of what your tattoos could look like.

Common Questions About Tattoos In The Workplace

Tattoos and Discrimination in the Workplace

tattoos in the workplace

Tattoos promote individuality and self-expression. According to Indeed, industries such as design can actually benefit from hiring individuals with tattoos, because they can appeal to clientele and demonstrates a sense of aesthetics.

Allowing tattoos in the workplace also promote diversity by being inclusive of cultures and a variety of backgrounds. Organizations that allow visible tattoos promote creativity, attract a variety of applicants, and foster workplace friendships.

It’s also important to preserve diversity within the workplace. Data shows that racial minorities in the United States are more likely to have tattoos versus Caucasians. The figures from a 2006 study show that 38% of US Hispanics, 28% of African Americans, and 22% of Caucasians have tattoos (Collegiatetimes). Therefore, tattoo discrimination can in part reduce ethnic and racial diversity within the workplace.

A Word From Removery’s CEO

As part of our society’s ongoing push to be more inclusive, we must normalize tattoos in the workplace. Let’s empower people to be proud of their art, own their self image, and be free to move forward and reinvent themselves– safely making room for new self expression when and if the time is right for them – not their boss.”

-Tom Weber

The Future of Tattoos in the Workplace

tattoos in the workplace

The future of tattoos in the workplace is bright. Accepting tattoos as a norm vs a taboo will in turn increase a corporation’s diversity, creativity, and enrich the company culture. Removery is proud to provide an inclusive, diverse, and non-judgmental environment for our employees and clients. We celebrate tattoos and encourage those who have them to work with us! If you’re interested in starting a career in tattoo removal, check out our careers page. Want to join one of the industries mentioned in this article? Read more about tattoo policies.

Have a tattoo that needs to be removed? learn more about tattoo removal cost and book a free consultation with one of our expert technicians today.

Carmen Brodie VP Clinical Operations

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