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Tattoos are still taboo at Singapore’s workplaces, despite increasing openness

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Nearly two in five (38%) Singaporeans have a negative impression of people with tattoos, a recent YouGov Omnibus research revealed.

In fact, nearly half (47%) of the 1,075 surveyed are less likely to hire a job candidate with a tattoo, even those who qualify for the position. This mindset is more prevalent amongst older Singaporeans (59%), versus 33% of those aged 18 to 24 who feel so.

This reflects a more conservative perception of tattoos in the workplace, the research showcased – while half of those surveyed believed tattoos should not be a deciding factor in one’s employability, about 58% (six in 10) still believe they should be covered at the workplace.

Further, 70% believe there are still professions that are unsuitable for people with tattoos, but these professions were not mentioned.

The tattoos that were deemed to have the most impact on hiring were face tattoos (87%) followed by neck tattoos (73%), hand tattoos (61%) and arm tattoos (59%). At the same time, due to their lesser visibility, back tattoos were the least likely to have an impact on hiring decisions (11%).

Commenting on this, Jack Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus, said: “Though tattoos are becoming more mainstream, they appear to be largely unwelcome in the workplace. Not only do tattooed people leave a bad impression on a significant proportion of Singaporeans, they also affect employability.”

From the positive angle, 48% of Singaporeans surveyed said a job candidate’s tattoo would not impact their hiring decision, while 5% even said it would them more likely to hire the candidate.

Would you hire someone with a tattoo?

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