40 per cent of adults in the US have at least one tattoo. Photo not of TikTok poster. Pixabay-Annie Spratt

According to statistics provider TeamStage, a staggering 76 per cent of adults in the US believe that visible tattoos could negatively impact an applicant's chance in an interview.

Moreover, a TeamStage job interview report also found that 71 per cent of companies in the US would reject a candidate for their appearance.

Ash Putnam, a 23-year-old content creator residing in the US, is a living example of this issue. With multiple facial piercings and tattoos, Putnam represents the 40 per cent of adults in the US who share this form of self-expression.

"I hate that my tattoos are such a defining factor for me getting a job or not," the content creator, whose face is covered in different tattoos, said in a recent TikTok. "Just because I have tattoos doesn't mean I'm not going to be a good worker."

After TJ Maxx, known as TK Maxx in the UK, denied her job application, Putnam told her followers that she went into the store to find out why she had been rejected.

While the hiring manager at TJ Maxx informed the content creator that her tattoos were not an issue, Putnam said she was unconvinced and took to her social media platform to share her frustrations.

In a video posted on TikTok, the content creator said that she was told her rejection was due to her lack of experience instead.

"I don't think that – that is true, but whatever, I will leave it at that," Putnam continued. "Quite literally, some of the most smart and intelligent people I have ever met are people with tattoos and piercings."


I want to know who is also having a hard time finding a job right now! #jobs #jobmarket

♬ original sound - Ash🖤

Putnam's video, which quickly went viral, garnered over seven million views. This significant reach sparked a discussion among a diverse group of individuals, including former TJ Maxx employees, hiring managers, and tattoo artists, in the comments section.

One TikTok user, who said they used to work as a hiring manager for the brand, wrote: "I will tell you it's the facial piercings and tattoos."

Another user, who claimed to be an HR supervisor, commented: "There is no way any company would put you in front of customers like TJ Maxx."

International Business Times UK has approached TJ Maxx for a comment.

In the TikTok video, the content creator went on to note that in Europe, "people with tattoos and piercings can get jobs way easier there."

While Putnam argued that it is easier for tattooed applicants to get jobs in Europe, in the UK, the 2010 Equality Act does not explicitly protect those with tattoos or piercings from being victims of discrimination.

In the UK, employers are not legally obligated to consider an applicant's body art or piercings. They are also within their rights to enforce rules that require employees to conceal tattoos or remove piercings while at work.

According to a YouGov study, just 26 per cent of the British public have tattoos. While tattoos are not considered a taboo in the UK, the poll found that 30 per cent of Britons feel positive, 33 per cent feel neutral, and 38 per cent feel pessimistic about tattoos in general.

Younger Britons are more likely to have a favourable view towards body art than older Britons, who tend to have a negative outlook, the YouGov study revealed.