Are tattoos associated with employment and wage discrimination? Analyzing the relationships between body art and labor market outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Do job applicants and employees with tattoos suffer a penalty in the labor market because of their body art? Previous research has found that tattooed people are widely perceived by hiring managers to be less employable than people without tattoos. This is especially the case for those who have visible tattoos (particularly offensive ones) that are difficult to conceal. Given this backdrop, our research surprisingly found no empirical evidence of employment, wage or earnings discrimination against people with various types of tattoos. In our sample, and considering a variety of alternative estimation techniques, not only are the wages and annual earnings of tattooed employees in the United States statistically indistinguishable from the wages and annual earnings of employees without tattoos, but tattooed individuals are also just as likely, and in some instances even more likely, to gain employment. These results suggest that, contrary to popular opinion as well as research findings with hiring managers and customers, having a tattoo does not appear to be associated with disadvantage or discrimination in the labor market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHuman Relations
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

art market
tattoo
Wages
wage
discrimination
labor market
Personnel
employee
hiring
Managers
manager
estimation procedure
applicant
Labor market outcomes
Wage discrimination
Employment discrimination
Art market
Employees
Labour Market
Discrimination

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • Equalities
  • labor supply
  • tattoos
  • wage differentials
  • wages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

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abstract = "Do job applicants and employees with tattoos suffer a penalty in the labor market because of their body art? Previous research has found that tattooed people are widely perceived by hiring managers to be less employable than people without tattoos. This is especially the case for those who have visible tattoos (particularly offensive ones) that are difficult to conceal. Given this backdrop, our research surprisingly found no empirical evidence of employment, wage or earnings discrimination against people with various types of tattoos. In our sample, and considering a variety of alternative estimation techniques, not only are the wages and annual earnings of tattooed employees in the United States statistically indistinguishable from the wages and annual earnings of employees without tattoos, but tattooed individuals are also just as likely, and in some instances even more likely, to gain employment. These results suggest that, contrary to popular opinion as well as research findings with hiring managers and customers, having a tattoo does not appear to be associated with disadvantage or discrimination in the labor market.",
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