Tattoo or not tattoo?

The BBC have published another article to add to the list on whether tattoos are acceptable in the workplace: Should anti-tattoo discrimination be illegal?

The question of whether tattoos should be a reason for an employer not to hire an individual / to fire an individual is again debated here. The article highlights that “Policies which restrict tattoos are commonplace in the UK.” Many companies do not allow their employers to have visible tattoos, and the article cites cases in which employees have been dismissed as a result of body art.

The article also discusses styles of body art which is more acceptable, such as butterfly and flower designs.

The concluding advice is: “For the time being, it’s advice worth considering when balancing the appeal of that new tattoo against the prospect of a dream job.” Individuals with tattoos still need to be aware of the possible consequences when applying for jobs.


Dress Codes and Appearance Policies: What Not to Wear at Work

I’m working on a literature review for an article to hopefully come out of the Graduate Dress Code project. This article, Dress Codes and Appearance Policies: What Not to Wear at Work highlights most of the areas students have been discussing. The article demonstrates that factors of appearance such as stereotypes, religious discrimination, gendered dress code policies, weight, hair, make-up, facial hair and general attractiveness have all been causes for complaint against employees.

The article also brings up complex areas discussed by students. Questions such as why earrings are acceptable for women and not men; why certain tattoos are acceptable and others aren’t; should long hair be alright for men if it is for women, and so on.

The article concludes with ideas about how to draft a company dress code. It stresses that input from current employees is advisable if they want the dress code to be acceptable. Finally, Hazen and Syrdahl note that “employees generally do not like to be told what to wear, how to wear their hair, or how to express themselves.” Whilst many of our participants have been willing to compromise aspects of their appearance to get on the ladder, they have indicated that they do not see this as a long term solution.

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Dress codes: Suitable disruption

Dress codes: Suitable disruption

The article above states: “don’t do business with anyone dressed in a suit”. It highlights that our perceptions of what is professional have changed. No longer is a suit seen as a symbol of respectability, but rather, people in suits are perceived to be less trustworthy.

Our research has uncovered various emotions regarding the signification of a suit. Our student interviews have illustrated that suits are still deemed the only acceptable formal wear for men. Students have reiterated this on a number of occasions, one stating that, to an interview, he’d “wear a suit. There’s nothing else you can wear really. I wouldn’t give myself the job if I walked in without a suit.”

However, suits are also seen as intimidating, and actually put people off the wearer. One student stated that “I was absolutely terrified of the one who came in a suit”. Others have highlighted similar views, one saying that “you can’t identify with someone in a suit”. So, whilst it’s seen as necessary for men to don a suit and tie for an interview, suits also seem put people off the wearer.

Does this trend toward informality really signify a more relaxed attitude to appearance at work? Or, as the article indicates, are we just replacing one set of requirements with another?

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Ink Blots – The Economist

The article above re-iterates what so many students have stated, that tattoos are ok so long as they can be hidden. It also highlights that there is a stigma still surrounding tattoos which is connected with their history. Tattoos traditionally indicate some form of rebellion, and this article indicates that they still signify in this way today.

The fact that tattoos are becoming increasingly fashionable does not indicate that they are increasingly acceptable. The research carried out in the survey quoted indicates that “Inked candidates consistently ranked lower, despite being equally qualified.”

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That’s my prima ballerina outfit back in the wardrobe then. Dreams. Crushed.

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Esther McVey – is her “thigh slit” more than one biro length above the knee?!

The controversy caused by the Daily Mail’s article on new female MP’s fashion sense has re-emphasised the relevance of some of our female interviewee’s views on appearance in the workplace. The BBC’s article below highlights that McVey isn’t exactly mortified by the Mail’s comments. After all, does she really need to take the Daily Mail’s opinion too seriously?

However, such sexist critiques of appearance are not helpful for future female graduates. In view of the anxiety female students experience over how they should present themselves at work, we could really do without such inane criticism of every last detail of female appearance. The message the Mail’s article gives is: Yes, you will be judged on how short your skirt is and no, not even cabinet ministers are deemed successful as a result of what they do, rather than what they look like.

Hats-off to Nick Clegg though for that yellow tie. Very on-trend for Summer 2014…

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Derby Telegraph article: Why are we so hasty to judge job applicants on clothes they wear?

As a way of increasing awareness of the project, we’ve had an article published by the Derby Telegraph. Aside from the image used, perhaps, it’s a good overall representation of our findings so far:

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