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

Michael French, Karoline Mortensen, Andrew Richard Timming

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
Pages (from-to)962-987
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Relations
Volume72
Issue number5
Early online date7 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

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

Cite this

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Are tattoos associated with employment and wage discrimination? Analyzing the relationships between body art and labor market outcomes. / French, Michael; Mortensen, Karoline; Timming, Andrew Richard.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 72, No. 5, 01.05.2019, p. 962-987.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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