Tattoos may be more mainstream, but are they still taboo in the workplace? This is a question that has been making the rounds on LinkedIn. We are calling out to freelancers with tattoos to share their experiences and tat pics!
Research now shows that more than 30% of Brits aged between 25 and 54 have tattoos. LinkedIn News UK asked members: Are tattoos no longer taboo? Should you hide them in an interview or business meeting? People who responded, like Bhavana Angadi called tattoos “a good conversation starter” and others such as Paul Fores said they were “the equivalent of a haircut of an outfit choice“.
However, some tattooed LinkedIn members also shared moments they felt they’d been discriminated against because of their body art: Lisa Webb said she was told she wouldn’t “fit into [a company’s] corporate environment”.
Whether or not tattoos are still taboo in client meetings depends on a number of factors, including the industry, the company culture, and the client’s expectations.
Industries that are slow to accept tattoos in the workplace
In general, tattoos are becoming more accepted in the workplace, including in client-facing roles. However, there are still some industries where tattoos are seen as unprofessional, such as law, finance, and healthcare. In these industries, it is generally suggested to cover up tattoos during client meetings.
Even in industries where tattoos are more accepted, it is still important to be aware of the client’s expectations. If you are meeting with a conservative customer, for example, you may be expected to err on the side of caution and cover up your tattoos.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to cover up tattoos during client meetings is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer, and it is important to do what you feel is most comfortable and professional. How much you want to land the job with the client has to be taken into consideration. You probably want them focused and impressed by your talents rather than your tattoo. However, having a client who is accepting of tattoos can also be liberating.
Here’s what our research says about tattoo etiquette during client meetings:
- The location of the tattoo: Tattoos that are visible on the face, neck, or hands are more likely to be seen as unprofessional than tattoos that are hidden on the arms or legs.
- The size of the tattoo: Larger tattoos are more likely to be seen as unprofessional than smaller tattoos.
- The design of the tattoo: Tattoos with offensive or controversial imagery are more likely to be seen as unprofessional than tattoos with more neutral imagery.
- The client’s culture: If you are meeting with a client from a different culture, it is important to be aware of their cultural norms regarding tattoos. What is considered acceptable in one culture may be considered offensive in another. Most people can guess the difference.
Calling all freelancers with tattoos!
We put it to you #freelancerswithtattoos to share your personal experiences in our comments section about how you and your clients have handled your tattoo(s) (if on show, of course!).
Proud to be a freelancer or contractor with a tat? Share your images with us along with your name, profession and social media handle or website and we will select a few to showcase in this story! Please feel free to add a caption on why and in which city you got your tattoo and any special meanings behind it.