The "successful psychopaths" at work

by Caitlin Nobes01 Nov 2013

Psychopaths are self-confident, charming and care-free, as well as cold-hearted, manipulative and lacking empathy. Sound like anyone you work with?

A survey from psychologist Kevin Dutton indicates there is a split in which professions attract psychopaths, and some of the results are a little surprising.

While most of us could guess that CEO, lawyer and surgeon would make the list, clergyperson, civil servant and journalist are more surprising. As for the professions with the least psychopaths, many health and care professions make the list including doctors (other than surgeons), nurses and therapists.

The good news is that while psychopaths are best known as killers in TV shows and movies (indeed, up to 25% of inmates are psychopaths) many people with psychopathic tendencies are quite successful in their lives. While some psychopathic tendencies could be considered useful, overall most psychopaths have fewer successful relationships, earn less money and do not reach senior positions.

Most psychopaths:

1. CEO

2. Lawyer

3. Media (TV/Radio)

4. Salesperson

5. Surgeon

6. Journalist

7. Police Officer

8. Clergyperson

9. Chef

10. Civil Servant

Least psychopaths:

1. Care Aide

2. Nurse

3. Therapist

4. Craftsperson

5. Beautician/Stylist

6. Charity Worker

7. Teacher

8. Creative Artist

9. Doctor

10. Accountant



  • by Anonymous 1/11/2013 5:14:40 PM

    all employers need a good profiling process to help identify the psychopaths.

  • by Marina Dzuba 3/11/2013 8:53:17 PM

    Seems to me that the professions that are listed as favoured by psychopaths, are those that are associated with status, prestige and attention of others. Perhaps a degree of control over others. Not sure how civil servants fit in there, perhaps the opportunity to "climb the ladder" is attractive?

    On the other hand, many of the professions listed with "least" psychopaths seem to centre around looking after or caring for others, thus generally require some degree of empathy. Seeing that, (I understand) by definition of a psychopath is meant to be lack empathy, this is not surprising.