Is Your Job One Of The Ten That Could Disappear?

These jobs are ripe for downsizing, thanks to technology

The young typist
Flickr/Mikamatto
Some new research from Canadian job search board Workopolis suggests, as you might think, that when the world changes, so do the types of jobs that are in demand. But the site goes further and suggests that at least five types of work will disappear after ten years, and another five could be in danger.

Of course, given a prediction that half of all jobs today will disappear by 2030 because of massive changes in some industries, a handful of positions would seem nothing in comparison. But the difference between ten years and 26 is significant, and if Workopolis is correct, people in these jobs could get a head start on new careers before they lose their present ones. Here are the top five ripe for industry-wide retirement, or at least a massive downsizing, all thanks to technology.

Taxi Dispatcher
When people can order taxis online or through an automated phone system with the request passed on to the appropriate driver via email, text, or voice mail, who needs to sit behind a desk? Consumers get connected quickly to the nearest available vehicle and drivers are out from seeing their income controlled by the dispatcher.

Toll Booth Operator
In a quest to lower operating costs, many states have already begun to move toward electronic booths on toll roads. Rather than paying salaries, benefits, and retirement, they install systems that use electronic sensors to identify the car and charge the owner's account. For drivers who don't get the sensors, cameras take a picture of the license plate and a bill is sent. Massachusetts, for one example, will spend an estimated $250 million to eliminate toll takers.

Retail Cashier
We've already become accustomed to seeing self-service check-out lines in many stores. Consumers scan their own goods and insert payment into the electronic system. As stores add more wireless electronic tags to items, it will eventually become unnecessary to even scan, as the contents of a shopping cart can quickly be totaled. There will be need for some attendants, but nowhere near the number of people currently employed as cashiers.

Word Processor/Typist
Over time, expertise in word processors and the ability to type have gone from specialized skill to something every child learns how to do. Now add in speech-to-text translation technology and you could and will eliminate the need to type at all. People will talk to their computers, like on Star Trek.

Social Media Expert
This may seem like one of the least likely vulnerable jobs. How much more cutting edge can you get in communications than social media? That is true, but younger generations are growing up with the technology and arrive in the workplace fluid in its use. It would be like saying you needed an expert to use a TV or telephone. Furthermore, marketers and other communicators in companies would similarly know social networks inside and out.

In addition, there are five other positions -- people greeter, photo laboratory associate, head cashier, data entry clerk, and courier -- that are quickly declining in demand on Workopolis. They could go the same route as the above supposedly doomed positions: robots can replace greeters, people can print out their own photos or look at them on screen, head cashiers and data entry clerks are really variations on two of the positions above, and drones could replace couriers.

A caveat: the study was of one site's job listings in Canada. But it's still more insight than none and Canada isn't that dissimilar from the United States if you forget universal healthcare and French fries served with vinegar.

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Erik Sherman

Erik Sherman

Contributor

Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman

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devin92butler

To replace human labor for technology is what you call automation. Business want to replace most human activities through the use of technology. By doing this, a business can save costs such as salaries and other impressive benefits. However, I believe that in a way could hurt the economy. If you keep laying off workers in large quantities, cash inflows into businesses will totally decrease overall. What is the point of selling good and services to the general public if nobody has any income. This effect will create adversity within the economy.

December 04 2013 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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