home icon

Is Your Job One of These 10 That Could Disappear?

If you're in one of these fields, it may be time to consider a career switch

By Erik Sherman, AOL Jobs | December 19, 2013

(This article appeared originally on AOLJobs.com.)

Research from Workopolis, a Canadian job search board, suggests that at least five types of work will disappear after the next 10 years, and another five could be in danger. 
 
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 10 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.

(MORE: Where the Jobs Will and Won't Be)

Here are the top five ripe for industry-wide retirement (or a massive downsizing) thanks to technology and another five that are quickly declining in demand on Workopolis.
 
Taxi Dispatcher
 
When people can order taxis online or through an automated phone system with the request passed on to a driver via email, text or voice mail, who needs to sit behind a desk? Consumers get connected 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.

(MORE: Career Shift: When Your Field Has Seen Better Days)
 
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 might eliminate the need to type at all. People will talk to their computers, like on Star Trek.

(MORE: A Midlife Career Shift Against All Odds)
 
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.

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