Its not you, its your tattoos...

UG Miner

In last month's edition of MPi LIFE we ran a competition giving away five double passes to the Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo, and guess what?

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In last month’s edition of MPi LIFE we ran a competition giving away five double passes to the Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo, and guess what? We received a record number of entries (and congratulations to the lucky five winners)! But, what this massive response shows, it that tattoos and getting inked is a popular issue for you (our readers).

In fact, body art and piercing is becoming more popular than ever it seems. However, I think an important question surrounding getting inked, is will it have a negative effect on your job chances?

A recent article posted on HC Online, Are you thinking of the ink? Tattoos impacting hires, found that public perceptions of tattoos mean that (despite how we personally feel about our own ink) many recruiters and managers will turn down candidates with visible tattoos. The article goes on to say:

While not all managers expressed a disdain for tattoos, some claimed they would “think twice” about hiring an inked candidate due to public perception damaging their corporate image, Management Issues reported.

“Hiring managers realise that, ultimately, it does not matter what they think of tattoos. What really matters, instead, is how customers might perceive employees with visible tattoos,” Dr Andrew Timming of St Andrew’s University School of Management, said.

As previously reported by HC, Air NZ came under fire for refusing to hire a woman based on her ta moko – a traditional Maori tattoo.

Many of the respondents felt that customers and the general public may view tattooed workers as untidy or ‘repugnant’. The negative stereotypes that still persist paint tattooed individuals as criminals, despite their popularity in a plethora of subcultures and broader society.

In some cases, respondents acknowledged only certain tattoos would trigger concern – such as those associated with a criminal past (spider-webs or tear drops), sexual or violent imagery, or racist insignia such as swastikas.

Tamer tattoos such as flowers or butterflies raised less concern, and those easily concealed were not seen as an issue.

However, some respondents saw tattoos as a positive. An HR manager for a prison said that tattooed guards provided “something to talk about”, and allowed guards to form a connection with prisoners.

Additionally, tattoo stigma appears to be fading. The research suggests Intolerance against those with tattoos is most common in the older generations, and with tattoos increasing amongst younger people, they are likely to be further accepted in the future.

Do you think having tattoos reduces your job chances? Have you ever been turned down by a potential employer because of your tattoos? Is the mining industry more accepting of tattoos than other industries? We would love to hear your thoughts on this… comment below!

The MPi Team

This article was contributed by the MPi Team. Any comments or feedback on this blog can be sent to

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of authors expressed do not necessarily state or reflect those of Mining People International. This content does not represent personal advice and you should in all cases seek professional advice and counselling tailored to your individual circumstances.