Tattoos and degrees fail to enhance job prospects

Women with A levels and degrees were 40-50 per cent more likely than men to be underemployed

If you’re looking for a job, having a tattoo may prove a problem – and it seems a university degree might not be much help in finding full-time work either.

Two studies presented today at the British Sociological Association conference on work, employment and society revealed hiring managers feel visible tattoos give a negative impression of candidates and, more surprisingly, that having a university degree does not increase one’s chances of being fully employed. Women with qualifications are more likely to be under-employed, the survey found.

Dr Andrew Timming, of the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, spoke to 15 hiring managers about their reaction to interview candidates with visible tattoos. The managers worked for organisations including a hotel, bank, city council, prison, university and bookseller.

“Most respondents agreed that visible tattoos are a stigma,” Dr Timming told the conference. One manager said “they make a person look dirty”, while another told him “subconsciously that would stop me from employing them”.

As a rule, the managers were concerned about what their organisations’ customers might think. “Respondents expressed concern that visibly tattooed workers may be perceived by customers to be ‘abhorrent’, ‘repugnant’, ‘unsavoury’ and ‘untidy’”, he explained.

One in five Britons has a tattoo, according to a study cited by the British Association of Dermatologists cited in 2012.

Meanwhile, Dr Surhan Cam, of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, presented his findings that women with degrees, or O or A levels were 40-50 per cent more likely to be underemployed, with 13 per cent wanting to work longer hours compared to 9 per cent of men.

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