In a Harris Poll, it was found that 14% of Americans (of all ages) had at least one tattoo while over half of Millennials are rocking ink.  In UC Merced, tattoos are as prevalent as ever.  It’s not uncommon to find classmates who are sporting a dragon on their back or a red rose on their shoulder.  However, one posing question remains, “How are you going to find a job with tattoos?”

In today’s overly competitive workforce, it’s even more crucial for future employees to present themselves as competent, reliable workers.  When prompted, many UC Merced students shared the comments they heard from friends and family, many of which worried that the students decision to ink up had the potential of jeopardizing their future.

Some believe that appearance should not speak for experience or ability. This group includes Professor Bruce Potts of the University of New Mexico, who was interviewed by Forbes magazine on his view of tattoos in the workplace.  Potts, who sports a tribal tattoo on his face, was quoted as saying that he “[hasn’t] had trouble getting a job because success is all about how one presents him or herself and doesn’t solely depend on appearance.”  Despite Pott’s positive view on his employers, it’s definitely not a shared idea among other professionals.

For example, those working in the medical field undergo a large amount of scrutiny in their field.  As a result, students hoping to enter the field are in danger of suffering discrimination in the hiring process.  In the same Harris Poll, pollers found that only 35% of respondents would be comfortable with having a primary physician with visible tattoo.  The profession with the lowest rate of tattoo acceptance was an elementary school teacher, with only 32% of respondents stating that they would be comfortable with a teacher with tattoos.

UC Merced students, however, spoke kindly of tattoos. One hopeful student stated that she thinks that at some point “ everyone will have one.” If her hopes are shared, the prevalence of tattoos will bring in an acceptance in professions where tattoos are currently not accepted.  As Millennials begin to replace retiring Baby Boomers in the workforce, over half of future employees will be showcasing their body art in their field.


Photo Credit: Rae Anne Tamayo

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