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With it being reported that 1 in 3 young people in the UK now have a tattoo, it has raised the question on whether your employer or potential employer can dismiss you for having one? ACAS, the workplace advice service, has said that employers could be missing out on top staff because they are rejecting candidates because they have tattoos.

Accountancy firm Deloitte, have claimed Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. So, is it time that employers started facing up to the fact that there is an increase in young people getting tattoos and that they aren’t going to stay young forever?

In the UK, the workplace equality law does not cover tattoos, so this means that potential employers are free to base their recruitment decisions on body art alone! The only tattoos that may be an exception are religious markings, as these may fall under the 2010 Equality Act.

The size, location and content of the tattoo is crucial. It seems that the most unaccepted place to get tattoos is on your hands, neck and face; the most visible areas on your body. Many employers completely ban these types of tattoos in their workplaces. It has been found that consumers preferred non-tattooed front line staff and that hiring managers are judging a potential employee based on what they believe is their consumers expectation. Yet, the question that comes up time and time again is, does having a tattoo affect your ability to work?

On the other hand, some employers believe that hiring people with tattoos will attract the right customers to their stores or businesses. Dr Timming from St Andrews University, found there were some organisations where a tattoo might be deemed an asset – those marketing towards younger people, including bars and clubs or in the creative industries where it can be seen as a sign of original thinking.

As the business world progresses, we may see workplace rules regarding appearance relax and see a greater acceptance of those with tattoos.

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