Company views on tattoos ‘out of date’

By BBC/Evelyne Wareh

Employers have been warned they could be missing out on top staff because they are rejecting candidates with tattoos. The conciliation service Acas said negative attitudes about visible tattoos are outdated.

Employers could be drastically reducing the pool of potential recruits because so many young people now have tattoos, Acas said. It said employers should be thinking about relaxing dress codes in general.

A Yougov poll in 2015 suggested that nearly a fifth of UK adults have had tattoos, with those under 40 significantly more likely to have them. In his research Dr Timming found there were some organizations 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.

“Isn’t that what employers are looking for these days? Someone who doesn’t always toe the line?”

“Isn’t Richard Branson talking about disruptive talent in the workplace? This is the kind of person who would fit that bill, I would think.”

Stephen Williams, head of equality at Acas, said: “Whilst it remains a legitimate business decision, a dress code that restricts people with tattoos might mean companies are missing out on talented workers.”

“We know that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds.” Legally businesses may require tattoos to be covered up in the workplace, if they have a business case for doing so, said Acas.



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