From professional cuddlers to real life mermaids - these are the UK’s most unusual jobs 

For those who live outside of the 9-5 working life, a unique-sounding job may be the ideal career path for you.

Whether it’s professional bridesmaids, cuddlers, or even mermaids – we have set out to uncover the most unusual and highest paying careers that you can actually do, with some earning up to £100 per hour! 

Alongside this research, we surveyed 2,000 UK adults to reveal which of these roles takes their fancy the most, by asking them which they'd be tempted to swap their current role for.

We also asked the nation to reveal what their dream jobs were when they were younger and highlighted key patterns in the data such as the most popular unusual roles, and most common dream jobs in each major UK city.

The findings are in; these are the most popular unusual jobs across the UK…

Most Popular Unusual Jobs in the UK
% of UK Residents That Would Work These Roles
Average Annual Salary
Food Tester27%£30,000
Full Time Netflix Viewer22%£48,984
Ice Cream Tester22%£47,105
Professional Tea Tester15%£25,000
Professional Sleeper15%£23,552
Furniture Tester10%£26,000
Professional Cuddler10%£62,400
Bed Warmer10%£20,000
Waterslide Tester10%£20,000
Costume Character Actor8%£30,000

According to our findings, the UK are clearly big foodies, as out of the top five roles selected, three consisted of testing different delicious food and drink.

Firstly, more than a quarter of the nation (27%) would happily give up their day job to become a food tester. The average salary for this position sits at £30,000 a year but think about all the cash you’d be saving on food!

And it seems as a nation, we love to relax. Almost two in five adults between 18 and 24 dream of working from home as a full time Netflix viewer, a role that would pay about £49,000 per year on average. The Netflix viewer role engaged over a fifth of the survey results overall (22%) – it looks like we really loved the new Black Mirror season?

For those who love kicking back with a tub of ice cream, securing a role as an Ice Cream Tester may be a dream come true, especially when it brings in an average yearly salary of £47,100 a year. And it appears from our survey that a fifth (22%) of the nation agree. 

Next up, both claiming 15% of survey votes each were the roles of Professional Tea Taster, which pays around £25,000 a year and Professional Sleeper, a position that averages £23,552 per year. 

The least popular jobs include Snake Milker, Odour Sniffer and Billboard Installers

Our findings revealed that the nation isn’t a fan of snakes, with only 3% of the nation willing to take on the role of a Snake Milker. Similarly, only 3% of respondents would happily become an Odour Sniffer as part of their day-to-day. 

Only 4% would endure the, potentially dangerous, role of installing billboards and the same percentage of respondents admitted they’d become Pet Food Testers – yuck!

For even the biggest driving enthusiasts, being a portable toilet delivery driver may be a step too far. Only 4% of the nation would bare this job, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. 

For those adrenaline seekers based in London, being a Window Cleaner for the Gherkin building may seem like a good gig, however, only 4% of survey respondents chose this job as their ideal option.

Other unpopular jobs included being a Professional Queuer (4%), Golf Ball Diver (4%), Professional Mermaid (4%), Iceberg Mover (5%), The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) (5%) and Seagull Scarer (5%).

Regional dream jobs: 22,000 Norwich residents aspire to scare seagulls

The streets of Norwich are sure to be safe with over 22,000 official seagull scarers. Over one in ten (11%) of those living in the city say they’d swap their current role to pursue this career. Perhaps this is influenced by living so near to the coast?

Unsurprisingly, 19% of those in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield said they’d pack in the day job to become a professional tea tester.

Has anyone checked on Leeds recently? Sounds like they need a hug! 15% of the people in this city say they dream of becoming a professional cuddler - that’s over 79,000 hugs! 

Elsewhere, it appears that a fifth (20%) of those in Glasgow and Southampton are desperate for a good night sleep, as they said they’d love to get paid to sleep as Professional Sleepers.

However, not everyone is convinced across the nation. Our study shows that Belfast is the most difficult city to win over with the unusual roles, as a quarter (25%) said they loved their current role too much to consider handing in their notice. But if they were to, a fifth (20%) said they’d choose to become Iceberg Movers – potentially a long commute for the residents of Belfast!

The unusual jobs with the highest pay checks

The study also looked into what the potential pay checks for these unusual roles are and what skills are needed to secure the role. 

These are the highest paying unusual jobs in the UK…

Yearly Salary
Professional Bridesmaid£208k
Professional Cuddler£62.4k
Professional Mermaid£59.5k
Window Cleaner for the Gherkin£50k
Full-time Netflix Viewer£48.9k
Seagull Scarer£48k
Flavourist Chemist£47.6k
Ice Cream Tester£47.1k
Snake Milker£45.6k
Chief Listening Officer£42.5k

In the number one spot for the highest paying unusual job was Professional Bridesmaids! Have good people skills and an inclination for partying? Why not pursue a career as a stand-in bridesmaid? Hired to assist the bride on her wedding day or step in for bridesmaids who are unable to perform their tasks. This job has the potential to pay more than £208,000 per year. 

And if you view yourself as comforting, kind and supportive – a job as a Professional Cuddler could be in your future. This cosy job racks up an average yearly salary of £62.4K and is the second highest paying out of the list. 

Similarly, if you have good swimming skills and enjoy performing, becoming a professional mermaid could be the position you were born to do, with an annual pay that’s just shy of £60,000. 

Window cleaning for the Gherkin was also amongst the highest paying unusual jobs in the UK, with an average of £50K per year, and being a full time Netflix Viewer was not far behind this - bringing home 48.9K yearly.


In summary, there are certainly some weird and wonderful jobs available across the UK – we love a bit of quirkiness! 

And for those who like to break away from the norms of the modern-day workplace, roles such as Full Time Netflix Viewer or Professional Sleeper could be the ticket to ultimate work satisfaction – whilst also being in the comfort of your own bed. 

Not only that, but our study proves that you can still make a very comfortable living whilst working in an unusual role – as proved by the average pay cheque of a professional bridesmaid!