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10 careers with the most psychopaths

By Freya Millard
10 careers with the most psychopaths

According to expert psychologist Robert D. Hare’s book, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, about 1% of the general population meets the clinical criteria for psychopathy. Now, 1% might not sound like a lot, but considering the world population is estimated to be around 7.6 billion, that means there are around 76 million psychopaths potentially walking among us and you betcha they’re in the workplace too.

According to Business Insider: ‘In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, [...] someone with a psychopathic personality type is defined as having an inflated, grandiose sense of themself, and a knack for manipulating other people.’

Since they are renowned for being charismatic, remorseless, ambitious and overall lacking in empathy, then you can possibly imagine that there are a few career choices that suit a psychopath very well.

After several studies into the workplace, Oxford psychologist Kevin Dutton, compiled a list within his book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths, of the 10 careers that attract the most psychopaths and some of these might surprise you.

Find out below who in your life might be a secret or not so secret psychopath…


10) Civil Servant

Coming in at number 10 on the list is civil servants. This may be a little worrying since these jobs require someone who will make the public’s interest their first priority but psychopaths are known for displaying self-centric traits and lacking in empathy.


9) Chef

I guess psychopaths can handle the heat of a kitchen! Being a chef can be very tense and full on and psychopaths tend to be very good at remaining level-headed even under pressure. 


8) Clergy Person

You have probably never imagined psychopaths and religion interlink, but according to Dutton, they really do. Religious organisations can and have many times before been exploited and as we know very well, manipulation is a powerful drive in psychopaths.


7) Police Officer

Number 7 might raise a few eyebrows but actually someone with psychopathic traits could thrive in a high pressure, fast-paced and even dangerous job like being a police officer. 


6) Journalist

I mean with traits like ruthlessness, determination and charm, there is no issue seeing why a psychopath might find great success as a journalist.


5) Surgeon

Any medical profession making this list might seem a little bizarre because we assume compassion and healthcare go hand in hand. Whereas Care Aide and Nurse fill the 1st and 2nd spot on the list for lowest rates of psychopathy, surgery is a different ballpark, possibly because the job requires a person who can handle making big life or death decisions on the spot.


4) Salesperson

Well you’ve got to have a lot of self-confidence to succeed in sales and that’s a key psychopathic trait, so it all adds up.


3) Media Personality

A narcissistic tendency is a trait that fits perfectly with those whose faces end up plastered all over the media and elsewhere.   


2) Lawyer

Runner-up is a lawyer, whose job is literally to convince a panel of strangers that their version of events is the truth. It’s no easy task and it most definitely requires charm, confidence and even a little bit of ruthlessness to guarantee a win for their client.


1) CEO

According to Dr. Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and medical doctor, psychopaths ‘thrive on chaos’ and create more of it because ‘they know other people find it very stressful,’ and surely there are few more controlling and stressful jobs than CEO. Taking the top spot in life and in this list, the CEO position is renowned for being filled by determined, fearless, unsympathetic and manipulative individuals. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the studies found a higher percentage of psychopaths in these roles than any other?

Did you or anyone you know make the list? Tweet them the link!

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