As the United States matures into an all accepting country there are still few things that lead to others judging you before you open your mouth or shake a hand.  The color of your skin, your sexual preference, or the fact that you or male or female has grown inconsequential in your acceptance into most areas of business (many will argue against this).  Visible tattoos have not.  We’re not talking tramp stamp or that stupid barbed wire you got on your arm because you though Brian Bosworth was cool.  We’re talking a sleeved arm or anything on the neck or face.

Tattoos have become commonplace in today’s society.  There isn’t a clean body in the world of music, athletics,  or Hollywood.  Today’s youth often forget that their idols never have to enter the working world and have millions of dollars and other skills to offset the damage the tattoos may have done to their ability to get a job “working for the man”.   Tattoos on the young are often dismissed as youthful ignorance and often followed by “they’ll regret that one”.  But as these people age and try to land that job as a first year lawyer with “smoke weed” etched across the back of his neck, he likely will face some apprehension from the group of partners.

A few business people give their opinions of tattoos

I like tattoos. They are truly works of art not to mention they usually hold a lot of meaning to the people that have them. I am honestly thinking about one someday myself. But I will definitely be getting one in a location that is not so obvious.

Just just like anything else in this world there is a consequence. And honestly if someone gets a tattoo on their forehead they have to accept the discrimination, dirty looks, etc that go along with that decision. Not everyone shares their view of tattoos and by recognizing that.. it may help in the long run to avoid problems. -Sativo

As an employment recruiter with a very large local employer, I do not hire people with visible tattoos. It is unprofessional and despite what those who have them think, people are often uncomfortable with someone covered in tattoos.

I’m not against them at all, but if you expect to work in the current workforce, you need to be conscious of how you look and present yourself. Are you a less productive employee because of them? Probably not, but you will be a distraction to others.

Right or wrong, most of the world isn’t ready to see your body art, regardless of how beautiful it is. -Hope

Tattoos are less of a taboo now then when I entered the workforce but piercings, other then ears on females, are still frowned upon. If you want to get into a high payed position in corporate American then in most cases Tattoos need to be covered and facial piercings taken out. IMO it is just the nature of the beast and you can either adapt or work under a proverbial glass ceiling for the rest of your life.. -Anon

Visible tattoos used to be completely taboo, but it’s gotten to the point anymore where small tattoos are generally more accepted. I have seen women and men alike with tattoos on their arms, ankles, upper back, wrists, etc. in professional situations (much to my disdain – how tacky!).

Piercings are a different story altogether. I think they’re still considered unprofessional, and, since you can remove them, unaccepted.

However, I do not EVER see anyone with visible tattoos or piercings in a HIGH position – only in the lower echelon. Keep that in mind, if you consider getting a tattoo.

There will always be cases of companies that are more accepting of tats.  Web 2.0 companies seem to have a higher percentage of tattooed higher level management but I would venture a guess and the higher you go on the pay scale the lower the percentage of tattoos.  Take away the celebs and athletes and you will most likely not find very many lower arm tattoos.  Ask me that same question in 10 years and I feel pretty confident that percentage won’t change.  Remember,  talent always overshadows a bad tat but you may never get the chance to display that talent.