Going, Going, Gone! Which Jobs Are Disappearing?

Ten common jobs face negative potential for hiring and growth in 2015.

By Kathy Gurchiek Oct 19, 2015
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  • No. 1: Mail Carrier—Median Salary: $53,100. Hiring Outlook: -28 percent. Salary and negative job growth projection is unchanged from 2014 when it also topped the list.

  • No. 2: Meter Reader—Median Salary: $36,410. Hiring Outlook: -19 percent. Salary and negative job growth projection is unchanged from 2014, but this job has moved up from the third-most-endangered job, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics information.

  • No. 3: Farmer—Median Salary: $69,300. Hiring Outlook: -19 percent. Salary and negative job growth percentage is unchanged from 2014, when CareerCast ranked it the second-most-endangered job.

  • No. 4: Newspaper reporter—Median Salary: $37,090. Hiring Outlook: -13 percent. Salary and negative job growth percentage is unchanged from 2014, as is its No. 4 ranking.

  • No. 5: Logging worker—Median Salary: $33,360. Hiring Outlook: -9 percent. Travel agent ranked No. 5 in 2014.

  • No. 6: Jeweler—Median Salary: $33,350. Hiring Outlook: -10 percent.

  • No. 7: Flight Attendant—Median Salary: $37,240. Hiring Outlook: -7 percent. Salary and negative job growth percentage is unchanged from 2014, as is its No. 7 ranking.

  • No. 8: Drill-Press Operator—Median Salary: $32,950. Hiring Outlook: -6 percent. Salary and negative job growth percentage is unchanged from 2014, as is its No. 8 ranking.

  • No. 9: Insurance Underwriter—Median Salary: $62,870. Hiring Outlook: -6 percent. This job is new to the list; in 2014, printer worker was named the ninth-most-endangered job.

  • No. 10: Seamstress, Tailor—Median Salary: $26,460. Hiring Outlook: -4 percent. In 2014, working as a tax examiner and collector ranked as the 10th-most-endangered job.

The mail carrier continues to head into the sunset—much like the Pony Express rider of a different era—as it again tops CareerCast’s list of the 10 most endangered jobs in the U.S.The future looks gloomy for farmers, insurance underwriters and jewelers, too.

More than half of the jobs on the list are repeats from the California-based company’s 2014 list, and technology appears to be a major factor in the demise of many of these roles. It has transformed how news is disseminated—and, in the process, affected jobs in the logging industry; eliminated the need for onsite reading of utility meters; and changed how people correspond.

Technology has even affected farming jobs. The number of farms decreased by 400,000 between 1982 and 2012, CareerCast said, citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As corporations buy small farms and create mega-farms, they rely on technology to perform labor that previously required more workers.

In that respect, farming has become “one of the most technologically advanced fields” over the last several decades, said Kyle Kensing, online content editor at CareerCast.com, a California-based career site.

Newspaper reporter jobs, which remain at No. 4 on the endangered list, have been declining for nearly a decade. The industry lost 3,800 full-time editorial professionals in 2014, according to the Poynter Institute, a provider of journalism education and training.

Even insurance underwriter—ranked No. 9 on this year’s list of disappearing jobs—has been affected as software programs streamline that work.

“It’s work that’s still around and needs to be done,” but it has been folded into tasks performed by insurance agents, Kensing told SHRM Online.

A few of the jobs considered endangered in the U.S. are the result of outsourcing, mergers or a society prone to replacing rather than repairing material goods.

The job of a jeweler—No. 6 on this year’s list—increasingly is being outsourced outside the U.S. and also has been affected by how consumers purchase jewelry, according to Kensing.

“More people are buying jewelry from places like Costco [and] Amazon,” he said, instead of from specialty stores that employ jewelers.

The job of flight attendant, which again ranked No. 7, has been affected by airline mergers and a reduced number of flights, Kensing said.

The decline in seamstress and tailor jobs is the result of consumer habits.

“It’s more cost-effective or efficient for people to replace clothing,” Kensing said. “Typically you’re now going to visit a tailor if you have a new suit that needs to be fitted [or to have repairs made] to something that has sentimental value, like a wedding dress.”

The key lesson for HR professionals is to “stay ahead of the curve,” he advised, by “examining how technology impacts your specific hiring needs.”

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News.Follow her @SHRMwriter.

Related Resource: Workforce Readiness Resource Page

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