REVEALED: The Professions Where Tattoos Are Still Taboo.

• Brits are more likely to be comfortable with a tattooed politician than air hostess.
• Men are more likely than women to discriminate against a tattooed job candidate
• 54% of those hiring think tattoos can have a negative impact on the workplace
• The characteristics we most associate with people who have tattoos include being rebellious, less intelligent, and unhealthy.

The Police Federation announced earlier this month that their campaign for the acceptance of tattooed officers has been met with success. The new appearance standards guidance – developed by the College of Policing and accepted as best practice, has been said by the Police Federation to

“provide officers and staff with clear direction on their appearance, so that they present a professional image while also being allowed some self-expression.”, have delved deeper into the issue of tattoos in the workplace using independent research, alongside reports from Statista and ACAS (employment Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Research has revealed the professions where we are most uncomfortable having tattooed colleagues, as well as the character traits we most associate with those who have body modifications. The survey asked Brits the following question: How comfortable would you be with a person with a visible tattoo working in the following occupations?

Profession % Comfortable % Uncomfortable
Athlete 88% 12%
Chef 81% 19%
Police Officer 73% 27%
IT Technician 72% 28%
Estate Agent 69% 31%
Banker 63% 37%
Doctor 59% 41%
Judge 59% 41%
Nurse 57% 43%
Lawyer 57% 43%
Primary School Teacher 49% 51%
Politican Figure 44% 56%
Air Hostess 42% 58%


Savoy Stewart’s research discovered that respondents were more comfortable seeing a tattooed police officer than a tattooed estate agent. This supports the Police Federation’s own study, which demonstrated a similar level of acceptance, where 55% of fellow officers felt comfortable working with a tattooed colleague.

Interestingly, the public seemed to be more uncomfortable seeing body modifications in female-associated roles such as primary school teachers (51% of respondents were uncomfortable with this), air hostesses (58%) and nurses (43%). Indeed, according to this study by, British workers are more comfortable seeing a tattooed politician (44% approval) than a tattooed air hostess (42%).

According to statistics compiled from Statista, here are the most common industries with tattooed workers.

% of tattooed workers by occupation:
• Agriculture: 22%
• Hospitality, tourism: 20%
• Arts and media: 16%
• Retail: 14%
• Finance and banking: 13%
• Healthcare and medical technology: 13%
• Professional Services: 13%
• Education and family services: 12%
• Manufacturing: 9%
• Energy, design and construction: 9%
• Information technology: 9%
• Government: 8%

The study also revealed the characteristics we most associate with people who have tattoos. These included being rebellious, less intelligent, and unhealthy.

Although more and more of us are inking our bodies, this doesn’t seem to be stopping employers from using this as a reason not to employ an individual, with 54% of hiring decision makers thinking that tattoos can have a negative impact on the workplace.

Currently in the UK three in ten 25-39 year olds have tattoos, which means a serious shrinking of the talent pool if an employer decides not choose a candidate with body art. Studies have shown that British women in particular would be affected, as they are more likely to be tattooed than men.

However, times maybe be changing, as proven by the new appearance standards guidelines by the College of Policing. Hayley Smith, Director of Boxed Out PR, is tattooed on both of her arms, and stated the following on the issue:

“I’m very liberal in the work place, and all of my clients know I have tattoos. I thoroughly believe that as long as the tattoos aren’t offensive, then it shouldn’t matter. It’s the 21st century, people have tattoos, and piercings, and coloured hair. This shouldn’t be a judgement on your abilities and skills. […] Companies need to accept that tattoos are part of our culture, and they’re missing out on some of the best talent because of stigma and views.”

Author: editorialassistant

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