Tattoos and their perception in Irish workplaces

Tattooed Girl by tattoologist (Instagram)
Tattooed Girl by tattoologist (Instagram)

“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story” – Johnny Depp

But that’s not the most common opinion on tattoos. People, especially a lot of older generations, still see tattoos as something only criminal, rebellious or uneducated humans have and they don’t respect inked people. I even heard stories, that people left the restaurant, when a guy with visible tattoos entered or that patients didn’t want to be treated by a nurse with tattoos or piercings.

The two things every person, who is tattooed or plans on getting a tattoo, has to hear from people who are against it, are: “But how will it look when you are old?” and “Do you think you will find a job like that?”
About the first question: I guess it’s everyone’s own choice and obviously tattooed skin looks different than skin without any tattoos when it’s wrinkly, but at the end of the day it’s wrinkly and that’s all that matters.

But what about jobs? Obviously, you will never know who is going to interview you and what their opinion on tattoos is.
Matrix Recruitment Group conducted a survey in 2015, where they asked over 200 HR professionals in different industries about how they view tattoos and piercing at the workplace. 53.8% of them said, that visible tattoos and piercing don’t have any impact on the candidate’s progression.
This might sound like tattoos are pretty accepted at workplaces around Ireland, but still 36% of the HR professionals said that they would treat tattooed or pierced people somewhat unfavourably.

“It is industry and role specific”, says Joanne from Matrix Recruitment, “In a company where you are expected to be dressed in formal business attire on a daily basis, tattoos are likely to be viewed less favourably than in a more creative industry where self-expression is encouraged and embraced”.

Something that has to be kept in mind at all times: Tattoos are a part of your appearance. If you are meeting costumers all the time, you should be able to cover up your tattoos.
Should you bring up your not visible tattoos in a job interview right away? Joanne says with bringing up tattoos it’s the same as it is with bringing up salaries in your job interview – it’s not been talked about. An interviewee should, bring up their tattoos once they got accepted and make sure that they are no problem in the workplace though.

In jobs, that are creative and where the only people you’ll meet on a daily basis are going to be other creative heads, it might be no problem at all. It might even show your creativity more if you’re covered in different artwork. But just make sure that you are certain that that’s the direction you want to go in careerwise before you start tattooing your hands and neck.

Therefore, at the end of the day, the most important thing before getting a tattoo is, to think about what career you want to choose and if the place on your skin you want to get it at is easy to conceal in case that’s necessary. A lot of tattoo artist also discuss it with you before you make an appointment, because all they want is for you to be happy with the tattoo as long as possible without having any regrets.


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