Just picture it, you’ve turned up to the interview of your dream job, you’re punctual, you’re looking smart and you’re confident that you are perfect for the role. You sail through the interview and you tick all the boxes but you don’t get the job.
Why? Because you’ve got a tattoo!
Tattoos and piercings have been widely popular for decades. With a third of young people having one or more tattoos in Britain, body modifications like these are on the increase.
But what does it feel like when they have the potential to hold you back on the career ladder?
Caroline Wiltsher, aged 23, from Kent, has experienced prejudice towards her piercings and tattoos first-hand: “I find that a lot of older people make comments, asking why I would want to pierce my body, even though mine are just in my ears and nose.
“A lot of people stare at the piercings instead of me whilst I’m talking.”
According to a new study, more and more companies are missing out on hiring talented young workers for the simple reason that they have tattoos and or piercings.
According to ACAS, the employment advice organisation, companies are within their rights to have their own rules regarding employees dress code and appearances at work, but they should comply with the law as appropriate.
However, under UK law, there is currently no support for candidates who are rejected from potential jobs for having tattoos or piercings, but it means that many companies are missing out on hard-working employees who just happen to have a tattoo or a piercing. Companies argue that it can project the wrong image and affect the company as a whole.
Brandon Dewar, aged 22, also from Kent, has dealt with negative attitudes relating to his tattoos, but he doesn’t believe that it holds him back at work. “You can’t help but think that it will hold you back within an organisation at first, I work in a local hospital and also part time in the armed forces and I do feel like I am looked upon differently for my tattoos but I don’t think my tattoos affect how I work, in both of my careers I am very driven and devoted.”
He said: “I believe that every person should be given the chance to prove themselves and not be judged on their tattoos or piercings.”
When asked what she thought about why people should be treated the same at work, Caroline replied “Ultimately a piercing or a tattoo does not affect my ability to work, arguably, I have worked harder and better since having them to prove people wrong.
“I think that it’s an old mindset, however in reality it doesn’t matter, why should it be a problem? Tattoos and piercings are a form of art and expression, they are beautiful and can tell a story, they have been around for centuries and will be for many more.”
In the UK, the law on workplace equality does not protect people with tattoos.
This means potential employers can base recruitment decisions on body art alone.
The only exception would be in a case of religious markings under the 2010 Equality Act.
A Yougov poll said that nearly a fifth of UK adults now have tattoos but many of them said tattoos could be a barrier to hiring in their profession.
So, next time you pass by someone with a tattoo or a piercing, remember they are just the same as you!
You’ve chosen to wear that jacket or those shoes today, they’ve chosen to have a nose piercing.