That inking feeling: the tattoos employers don't want to see

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
June 05, 2018, 11:00 PM GMT+0

A new YouGov survey of HR decision makers finds that face tattoos are the most likely to put employers off a candidate

A New Zealand teen made headlines around the world last year after he complained that a large “DEVAST8” tattoo covering the bottom half of his face was making it hard for him to find a job.

While he eventually found a job in construction, the results of a new YouGov Omnibus HR decision makers survey about tattoos and employment would have let him know earlier about the problems he was likely to face.

The results reveal that face tattoos are the most likely to put employers off a candidate. Six in ten employers (61%) say that they are “substantially” less likely to hire someone with tattoos on their face, with a further 17% saying they make them “slightly” less likely to take them on.

Neck tattoos and hand tattoos are likewise not viewed kindly by most employers, with 66% and 60% respectively saying a candidate sporting them is less likely to be hired.

Employers are relatively split on ‘sleeve’ tattoos – inkings that cover the whole arm. Half (50%) say they are less likely to take someone on who has one, while 45% say their presence makes no difference to their decision to employ a candidate.

The majority of employers aren’t worried about forearm (53%) and upper arm (66%) tattoos, while ones on the lower back are the least likely to jeopardise your employment prospects, with 78% of employers saying they would make no difference as to whether or not they hired a candidate.

Overall only between 4-6% of employers said they were more likely to hire someone with tattoos.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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