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Employers can more effectively hire, recruit and retain staff once they understand the answer to why do people get tattoos. Unfortunately, the media often reinforces negative stereotypes. Here is an objective look.



It's true many criminals, delinquents and dead beats have tattoos. However, just as many aren't inked. It's also true, millions of great employees don't have tattoos or piercings. However, millions of tattooed and pierced people in the workforce are highly qualified and hard-working staff. Currently, 42% of the adult workforce has tattoos, and 61% has piercings. Tattoos can't solely determine the character, education, skills, drive or merit of an individual.



So, why do people get tattoos? The reasons are as unique as the individuals who get tattooed. Often tattoos are memoirs to their family. They have meaningful and inspirational verses, sayings, or symbols. For employees, tattoos can capture what means the most to them: God, family, friends, values, moments, travels and more.

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We believe success isn't defined by status, education or income. It's determined by happiness and the impact that you leave. However, socially speaking, you probably drove by dozens of successful people with tattoos just on your way to work this morning. Here's a list of famous successful people with tattoos.

  • George Orwell

  • Thomas Edison

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Teddy Roosevelt

  • King George

  • Winston Churchill

  • Andrew Jackson

  • James Polk

  • Sarah Palin



Beyond just successful people with tattoos, there are also major companies that directly attribute their success to their acceptance of tattoos and piercings. They also have CEO's, CFO's, directors, and upper management with visible tattoos and piercings. Here's a list of examples:

  • Boeing

  • Ford Motor

  • Borders

  • MetLife

  • All State Insurance

  • Red Roof Inn

  • Apple

  • IBM

  • Forever 21

  • Shell Chemical

  • RE/MAX Realty

  • UCLA


People with Tattoos


People with tattoos often highlight this double standard. Plastic surgery, breast implants, Botox, fake nail extensions, and colored hair are body modifications. However, they’re not considered discriminatory factors at work. People with tattoos merely see ink as another form of beautification modification.


96% of people with tattoos said their ink was not worn out of rebellion. 

When asked, "why do people get tattoos," 43% of tattooed people said to look more beautiful.

The number 1 reason in America that people with tattoos get inked is to honor loved ones.

People with Piercings


People with piercings get them for many reasons. The largest reason people get pierced is to look "more beautiful." 61% of American adults have had piercings other than earlobes. People with piercings and ink are statistically more commonly female.

getting tattooed




One of the biggest ways how ink and piercings affect business is recruitment. Lots of people with tattoos and people with piercings turn down jobs if the tattoo and piercing regulations are too strict. Businesses always hurt chances of finding qualified, experienced and skilled employees when they restrict their hiring pool with tattoo and piercing regulations. Disney recently changed their recruitment policies and dress code because they, "couldn’t find enough qualified staff without tattoos or piercings."



When a company tells staff to cover up ink that symbolizes a memory, family member, or value that holds intrinsic meaning to the staff, it hurts company strength. When companies value the individuality and character of their employees, the employees in return value the character and culture of the company.



According to FOX News, 96% of American adults would not change their current product shopping habits if a business had staff with tattoos and piercings. As long as they felt they received the same quality and pricing. Customers who do stereotype set the bar low for tattooed and pierced employees. If you hire qualified inked or pierced staff they actually exceed expectations faster than non-tattooed staff.




According to polls, a majority of American’s don’t find tattoos and piercings unprofessional. However, a large portion of shoppers would possibly change product shopping habits if they felt a business discriminated against staff with tattoos and piercings. 


Recently, PetSmart changed their corporate policy to allow staff to have visible tattoos and piercings as long they weren’t vulgar. Here's the result:

  • A sharp increase over the next few months of over 20,000 new social media followers.

  • They gained 1000’s of new website back links within a few weeks.

  • Dozens of national magazines, television stations and newspapers covered the story. A press value of over $500,000.

  • Direct publicity reached almost as many impressions as Sunday Night Football on any night.



Recent polls still show negative perceptions of tattoo and pierced staff in personal sales industries. However, there were industries where polls showed customers viewed staff with tattoos and piercings more favorably than non-tattooed staff. The creative arts, music, acting, writing, culinary, athletic and design fields were examples.



Tattooed and pierced staff should not receive preferential treatment and benefits. However, giving managers the flexibility and freedom to allow staff to have ink and piercings provides more company hiring options, higher retention rates, and better public relations. Net output and company profit is affected by the character, skill level, and merit of the individual staff, not by their exterior appearance.

  • Bank of America

  • PetSmart

  • Ticket Master

  • Flagship Cinemas 

  • Sprint

  • Wells Fargo

  • Home Depot

  • National City Bank

  • Kmart

  • Sally Beauty Supply

  • Target

  • Amazon

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