business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Chicago Tribune reports that a new study suggests that tattoos no longer seem to be taboo for employers.

“The research, published this month in the journal Human Relations, surveyed more than 2,000 people and found that the inked were just as likely to be employed and to earn as much as the uninked, regardless of the number, visibility or offensiveness of their tattoos,” the story says.

The results actually surprised the study’s authors, who came from the University of Miami Business School. In the past, the story says, “research has found that hiring managers widely perceive people with tattoos to be less employable than those without, even in recent years when the popularity of tattoos has surged. That negative perception is driven in part by other research that has found customers frown upon being served by or buying from people with tattoos, which years ago were associated with countercultural delinquents.”

But now, there appear to be “no adverse employment outcomes for the tattooed, regardless of whether they were men or women, blue-collar or white-collar workers, in management or not. In fact, having one or more tattoos was associated with slightly higher employment and more hours worked, the study found.”

Probably a good thing, and an Eye-Opener, now that unemployment is low and the job market is tight. The story notes that :”thirty percent of Americans had at least one tattoo in 2015, up from 20 percent four years earlier, according to the most recent Harris polls available. Seventy percent of people with tattoos had more than one. Nearly half of millennials are tattooed, compared with 13 percent of baby boomers, the poll found. A third of 40-somethings had tattoos in 2015, up from 14 percent in 2003, changing what it looks like to be middle aged.”

A lot of things are looking different these days, and past expectations may be at odds with present circumstances. The only thing we can do is adjust.
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