Are tattoos becoming more openly accepted in workplaces? And do tattoos affect your likeliness to get a job?

Those questions are difficult to answer, but Sandy Mancilla Rannow, an executive director in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University’s downtown campus, believes tattoos are becoming more accepted in workplaces.

Tattoos have been a controversial topic the past few years, especially when referring to employees having visible tattoos. Throughout recent years, tattoos have become exceedingly popular, specifically among the younger generations. According to a recent study, the tattoo industry in the U.S. has grown on average 8.4% annually in the past five years.

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Due to this consistent growth, employers have become more lenient when hiring new people that have visible tattoos. Sandy Mancilla Rannow oversees “budgets, finance, HR and operations,” and in doing so, is responsible for hiring many Cronkite staff members.

Rannow said, “We’ve hired people with tattoos, but that’s not something that we normally look at or look for.” She goes on to say that if people do have visible tattoos it’s not an issue and “doesn’t play into the decision.”

While many employers no longer take people having visible tattoos into their hiring consideration, employees continue to worry about their tattoos when applying for jobs because of the stigma that has been attached to tattoos. According to AIMS education, the American Institute of Medical Sciences and Education, “76% of employees feel tattoos and piercings hurt job interview chances.”

Annamaria Heredia-Alvarez, a 19-year-old college student who worked as a Service BDC representative at a car company in Phoenix, Arizona, gave her insight into what it’s like to be a young, tattooed employee nowadays. She stated that during her hiring process she was very nervous that her multiple visible tattoos would affect her credibility and chances of getting the job.

One of the first questions she asked was, “Do I need to cover up my tattoos?” The answer to her question was “no.” In her workplace, tattoos ultimately are not a problem and not taken into consideration when hiring new people.

Heredia-Alvarez also stated that through her work experience she believes that employers aren’t as likely to discriminate against people with visible tattoos. She said “In all of my inter-views I’ve never been asked if I had tattoos, which shows me they aren’t going to hold it against you. I also think that employers are expanding more on equal chance employment.”

According to AIMS education, “73% of people say they would hire staff that had visible tattoos.”

This dramatic shift in the past couple of decades has influenced younger generations to be accepting and open about tattoos in the workplace. It allows people to have a creative outlet and form of self-expression without living in constant fear of losing their job or not being able to find one.

According to the National Library of Medicine, tattoos can even improve mental health because “tattoos have the power to improve self-esteem and satisfaction.” This can be connected back to the fact that employees struggling with mental health, which nowadays is one in four adults according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, can have improvements in their mental health when they get tattoos.

In addition, Katie Dierks, former assistant director at the daycare’s Kinder Care and Sunrise, said that she does not consider people’s tattoos when hiring them. She said they are a personal choice but they weren’t always. Many companies incorporated rules against tattoos into their dress codes and rules. Dierks stated “I’ve seen quite a jump in tattooed employees throughout the last few years I believe due to the rising popularity of them and acceptance in the workforce.

Tattoos will continue to be a widely discussed and debated topic. The workforce continues to grow with tattooed people. Discrimination against tattooed people in the workplace has gone down to 4% according to AIMS Education. More people continue to get jobs while having visible tattoos.