Think about ink-are tattoos hurting your career?

Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - Tattoos, we all know someone who has one, or many!  In fact, you may be noticing even more body art in recent years, especially in the work place. 

National statistics show tattoo popularity has grown 13% since 2007, and 2016 research showed nearly 40% of millennials have at least one tattoo.

"I've tattooed people up to probably 80ish,” said Austin Grove from Evolution Tattoo Studio. “Anyone from 18 to 80.”

Austin Grove runs three shops in Centre county and has been giving tattoos for 16 years.  He says he sees anywhere from 2 to 6 people daily throughout the week.

"I've had the opportunity to tattoo all kinds of people.  A lot of students of course, international students, people from all over the world, “said Grove. “We tattoo a lot of the football players and athletes.  A lot of the athletes have gone pro now, so it's kind of cool to follow them.”

When we stopped into his shop in pleasant gap, Gabrielle Yunis was adding to her many tattoos.

“The first one was meaningful, the other ones not so much after that,” said Yunis. “It's just fun to get them."

While Beth Franks, a nurse, was building on one of hers.

With the rise in popularity, what happens when a young person who has some visible body art enters the professional world?  Or maybe advance their career?  Do they experience discrimination or maybe even get rejected? What we found, in fact, was just the opposite.

“I was a little nervous about it at first, but it didn't come up at all in the interview,” said Christina Maher.

Christina Maher is a sales associate for a local company.

 She says in some cases her sleeve tattoo has worked to her benefit.

“Actually, most of the time it's a conversation starter.  A lot of people see the tattoo and they're like, oh that's great, what does this mean?” said Maher. “Especially that I've incorporated my kids in to it."

"I have two friends in California, they work at the jet propulsions laboratory for NASA and they are actually pretty heavily tattooed,” said Yunis.

And Beth, who works as a nurse at UMPC Altoona, says her tattoo on her upper arm has never been an issue either with her employer or patients.

"Research shows that tattoos are not a negative for a lot of people that are in and out of restaurants every day, so we relaxed our policy,” said Nick Ruffner.

Nick Ruffner is the public relations manager for Sheetz, a company that employs close to 18,000 people in six states, and who hires roughly 9,000 new employees a year.

"About 3 years ago, we had a policy that no tattoos could be visible for our employees, but what we noticed was that we were seeing a shift in culture. With a lot more people having tattoos, we found that we were missing out on some of the best talent because of our policy,” said Ruffner.  “So, like a lot of policies, we tried to adapt to that to make sure that we were recruiting the best talent. "

And it's that increase in popularity, that not only keeps companies up to speed with the always changing in modern day culture, but also keeps business booming for guys like Austin Grove.

"I think a big factor is the quality of the tattoo for one.  I think if your tattoos are showing and are well done, I think you can come across as more presentable sometimes,” said Grove. “Obviously, you can have some bad looking tattoos or poor subject matter, so I think if you have a nicely done tattoo, I think 9 times out of 10, it helps."


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