Tattoos are more popular than ever, so it’s natural to assume that the taboo about body ink at the office is a problem of the past. The truth is, it’s complicated. Read ahead to find out what workplaces are more accepting of tattoos, what types of tattoos receive the most judgement, and what prospective employees should do when they can’t show off their body art.

Creative Industries Are More Tattoo-Friendly

Since body art has gone mainstream, many employers know that expecting all of their employees to be tattoo-free or covered up is not realistic. According to a 2012 IPSOS poll, 1 in 5 Canadians have tattoos — and that number has likely gone up since then. Because of the prevalence of body art, more workplaces are relaxing their dress codes.

Some workplaces will be drawn to applicants with body art. Visible tattoos can boost the business’s brand as creative, young, or cool. While a traditional office-space may not be happy about someone’s full sleeves, a design studio or trendy retailer may see them as real assets.


Some Workplaces Are Still Traditional

On the other hand, lots of workplaces are still not okay with visible tattoos. A 2014 Workopolis poll found that 13.85% of employers would be less likely to hire someone that had tattoos. The number is not too high, but 35.08% said that their choice would depend on the job role. Only 0.31% said they would be more likely to hire a person with tattoos.

Even if an employer personally believes that your tattoos are fine, they may still reject you because they’re worried about what customers and clients will think. Employers know that lots of people still believe in harmful stereotypes about tattoos and piercings. To avoid customer comments and complaints, they will consider hiring people that can’t be associated with the negative stereotypes.

It will be more of a challenge if you’re looking for a role that requires a lot of interaction with the public. Think of jobs like bank tellers, elder care nurses, or childcare workers.


It Depends on the Tattoos

The fact that you’re tattooed may not be a problem, but the type of tattoo could be. Here are some problematic tattoo features that will hurt your job prospects:

  • Violent imagery
  • Nudity
  • Swear words
  • Sexual content
  • Offensive content (slurs, hate speech, etc.)


An embarrassing tattoo could also give your employers the wrong impression of you. An idea that seemed funny or clever in the tattoo parlour could make you look immature or impulsive in a professional context. Take a look at our blog about the worst celebrity tattoos that should be removed to see some examples of body art that weren’t well-planned or well-executed.

The location matters, too. In the 2014 Workopolis poll, 28% of employers said that their hiring decision would depend on the number of tattoos that the interviewee had and where they were located. The face, neck and hands are not ideal spots because they’re difficult to hide. Many tattoo artists will refuse to give clients these types of tattoos for this very reason.

So, What Should You Do When You’re Looking for Work?

Unless you’re positive that the industry is completely accepting of visible tattoos, you should cover up during an interview. That way, you can be judged on your qualifications and character, not your body art.

The moment that you get hired, you should look up their dress code policy. Explore the office and see if anyone else is exposing their tattoos. If there appears to be no issue with body art, you can test the waters by showing your tattoos off.

If your tattoos are inappropriate or placed in an area that you can’t cover up, you may want to consider getting the tattoo removed.


Laser Tattoo Removal

You don’t want your tattoos to hurt your future job prospects. You want to go into interviews, transfer to new departments and take on ambitious side-projects without worrying that you’re being judged by your appearance. Laser therapy is a great solution for people who are concerned that their body art is holding them back in the workplace.

One of the biggest benefits of laser tattoo removal is that the complication rate is very low in comparison to other removal methods. We have removed over 30,000 tattoos for clients, and the rate of complications is near zero. And we have never had one of our patients scar after the removal. Our medical clinic is one of the best tattoo removal Toronto locations out there because we use board-certified physicians to perform the treatments and teach patients proper aftercare techniques.

Occasionally, we see patients that have gone to other locations that don’t have the same standards for safety and customer care. When those patients come in with complications like scarring, hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, we offer services to correct the side-effects.

Other methods like surgical excision, dermabrasion, salabrasion and chemical peels are more likely to leave scarring behind. Even tattoo removal creams can cause scarring — since they aren’t regulated, they can contain chemicals that cause burning, scarring and infection.

 Are Tattoos Becoming More Acceptable in the Workplace?


Book a Consultation

If you’re interested in getting rid of your tattoo, you should book a consultation at our clinic. At the consultation, you will meet with one of our board-certified physicians to see whether you’re the right candidate for the procedure.

If they determine that you’re safe to go ahead with the treatment, they will go over the details of the tattoo. The tattoo’s location, size, age, skill-level and colours will determine how many sessions of laser therapy you will need to consider. The average amateur tattoo takes 3 to 6 sessions, while the average professional tattoo takes at least 8 to 12.

After your consultation, you should read these tattoo removal tips to guarantee that you’re prepared for your first session and ready to practice safe aftercare. And if you have any questions that you can’t find answers for on our website or blog, you can always call us at 416-515-0007. We’re happy to help.

Navigating the workplace with tattoos is a challenge. Some industries seem to be completely fine with body art, as long as it’s not inappropriate, while other industries have more restrictions and roadblocks. If covering up your tattoos isn’t an option, laser treatment is the best solution for you.