Employers are missing out on talented workers because of negative attitudes towards people with tattoos, says a new report.
The conciliation service Acas said a third of young people have a tattoo, but some firms, and individual managers, are worried about the image it would give to potential customers or clients.
Acas, which commissioned research at King’s College, London, says negative attitudes about visible tattoos are outdated.
Stephen Williams, head of equality at Acas, said: “Almost a third of young people now have tattoos so, whilst it remains a legitimate business decision, a dress code that restricts people with tattoos might mean companies are missing out on talented workers.
“We know that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds.
“Businesses are perfectly within their right to have rules around appearance at work but these rules should be based on the law where appropriate, and the needs of the business, not managers’ personal preferences.
“We have updated our dress code guidance, which also includes advice for employers to help ensure they don’t fall on the wrong side of the law with their dress codes.”
The research suggested that some managers think tattoos on staff can “positively convey an organisation’s image”.
The BBC reports ‘the research suggested there is a strict approach to appearance in the airline industry’.
The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in England and Wales, recently called for a ban on officers having visible tattoos to be lifted.