Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

The 10 creepiest jobs and careers in the world, according to science

women writers.jpg

It may come as a surprise to hear that there has never been a scientific study into the concept of “creepiness”.

Until now, that is.

Read more: The jobs that are most often linked to depression

To celebrate the return of winter – with all of its wild weather, darkened nights, and shorter days – a group of scientists have decided to get their creep on. 

And, after surveying 1,341 individuals from around the world, they came up with surprising results; there are certain jobs which are more strongly linked with creepiness than others.

Scientists have unveiled the creepiest jobs in the world

Scientists have unveiled the creepiest jobs in the world

Explaining how they gauged whether a job was creepy or not, they explained that it was based on people’s reactions; they would often find their trigger response to be “both unpleasant and confusing”, and it “may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as feeling cold or chilly”.

With that in mind, what was the job that left people feeling the most creeped out? 

Yup, you guessed it; clowns topped the chart as the creepiest job at all – which should come as no surprise, considering the spate of ‘Killer Clowns’ that have been spotted across the UK and the USA of late.

They were followed closely by taxidermists and sex shop owners.

However, some of the ‘creepy’ jobs unveiled by scientists at Knox College in Illinois were very unexpected.

Read more: These are the countries with the happiest workers

Seriously, what’s wrong with writers?

You can find the full list of the world’s creepiest jobs, ranked in order of creepiness, below:

  1. Clown
  2. Taxidermist
  3. Sex Shop Owner
  4. Funeral Director
  5. Taxi Driver
  6. Clergy
  7. Janitor
  8. Garbage Collector
  9. Guard
  10. Writer 

Explaining the results, the researchers said that it has a lot to do with ambiguous threats, particularly when its related to “non-verbal behaviour” – which explains the cold pit of fear we feel in our stomachs at the sight of a wordless clown.

They added: “We are placed on our guard by people who touch us or exhibit non-normative non-verbal behaviour, or those who are drawn to occupations that reflect a fascination with death or unusual sexual behaviour.”

Clowns were ranked as the creepiest jobs

Clowns were ranked as the creepiest jobs

People who collect items as a hobby, particularly objects which we are naturally predisposed to (such as dolls, spiders, or skulls) also tend to trigger our ‘creepiness’ radar.

However certain behavioural traits can cause us to react fearfully to others, the scientists added, saying that “individuals who display unusual patterns of nonverbal behaviour, odd emotional responses, or highly distinctive physical characteristics are outside of the norm, and by definition unpredictable.”

They continued: “This may activate our ‘creepiness detector’ and increase our vigilance as we try to discern if there is in fact something to fear or not from the person in question.”

Read more: The 10 bestselling horror books of 2016

Unusual behaviour, such as working odd hours, can contribute to this – which may go some way towards explaining why taxi drivers and garbage collectors made the list.

Researchers concluded: “Everything that we found in this study is consistent with the notion that the perception of creepiness is a response to the ambiguity of threat.”

Images: Rex features, iStock


office stunt creativity.jpg

Revealed: the jobs that are most often linked to depression


The two little words you should never use when asking for a raise

woman at work.jpg

Revealed: the most profitable second languages that we need to learn



Golden rules of work happiness from Europe’s female tech leaders

From nap rooms to therapists and no overtime

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017

How hot does it have to get before you can legally go home from work?

As temperatures climb, it’s time to talk about your rights

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jun 2017

Are you self-employed? These newsletters will help your business bloom

On-point emails packed with entrepreneurial tips

by Anna Brech
15 Jun 2017

How changing your name on your CV can boost career success

No deed poll required

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Jun 2017

This nanny job pays £50,000 – but you have to live in a haunted house

So… do you see dead people?

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Jun 2017

Annie Mac nails why maternity leave can be so difficult for many women

“It’s always weird when someone else does your job”

12 Jun 2017

The surprising way being friends with co-workers affects your career

Work wives, assemble

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Jun 2017

Laptop with a view: how getting closer to nature fuels creativity

Fire up your imagination by heading outdoors

by Anna Brech
08 Jun 2017

Borrow Amazon’s ‘pizza rule’ for more productive meetings

Napkins at the ready...

by Anna Brech
08 Jun 2017

Women doing ‘men's work’: striking images smash gender clichés

Photographer wants his two-year-old girl to know there are no limits

by Anna Brech
08 Jun 2017