Social Media Expert an Obsolete Job in 10 Years?

By Kathy Gurchiek Dec 12, 2013

Social media expert, taxi dispatcher and toll booth operator are among the occupations that will disappear in 10 years, according to trends unearthed by Workopolis, Canada's largest online job site. Its findings come from tracking titles most frequently posted on its portal in 2013.

Managing a company’s social media presence is now “a hot skill, and it’s very critical,” said Tara Talbot, CHRP, vice president of HR at Workopolis. However, it’s an ability that will become more commonplace and part of an overarching job, such as public relations or marketing, and less of a specialty like today, she told HR News.

As young professionals who have grown up with Twitter and Facebook enter the workforce, businesses will expect them to possess social media competencies and will not see those skills as a unique area of expertise, according to Workopolis.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at, doesn’t think the social media expert will completely fade away. Instead, she thinks the role “will modify in some way.”

“The reality right now is companies are still trying to figure out what the tangible [aspect]” of social media is to business. “It’s very time intensive,” and currently, an aspect of the role is to make sure an organization is “playing in the social media space.”

She thinks new companies may appear on the horizon to help organizations aggregate social media efforts.

“We’ve seen a lot of change in 10 years. …The social media space is only getting more complicated and more crowded. There will be some streamlining and efficiencies, but those will come at a slower pace than we might want because of how crowded that space is getting,” she said.

Other jobs that Workopolis predicts will disappear in 10 years:

*Taxi dispatcher. The need for dispatchers will lessen as customers, using their mobile apps, inform a taxi company where they are and their intended destination. “Essentially, the role of the person with the microphone [dispatching] the cabs is already going [away, but] it doesn’t mean somebody won’t be at the head office looking at the traffic patterns” and performing other duties, Talbot said.

*Toll booth operator. This job will be automated.

*Word processor/typist. This occupation will disappear as workers increasingly assume this skill as part of their job.

*Retail casher. This job will be subsumed into a role that includes greeting customers, taking inventory, stocking shelves and managing customer issues, according to Talbot. She predicted that the practice at H&M clothing store, which launched a “try and buy” option in November 2013 that allows customers to purchase merchandise directly in the changing room, will become more commonplace.

New Resume Keywords

Job candidates are highlighting proficiencies with keywords such as mobile apps, SharePoint, anti-virus, artificial and business intelligence, content management, and social media platforms, according to data that Workopolis pulled from its site.

Promoting your social media skills “shows you’re current, adaptable, comfortable with technology,” Talbot said. “And people like to know you have an online presence. It’s again showing that basic proficiency. Down the road that will be [commonplace], like putting WordPerfect” as a skill on one’s resume.

Additionally, resumes in Canada that showcase proficiency in Cantonese, Chinese and Arabic are “very reflective of our demographic,” said Talbot. In parts of Toronto there is a “high need” for those language skills as well as Mandarin, she added.

Workopolis reports that the following keywords are disappearing from resumes:

  • Switchboard
  • Fax machine
  • QuarkXPress
  • Lotus
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Bank deposits
  • Word processing
  • Telephone
  • Visual Basic

“Being in HR really shows to me … how quickly the world of work is evolving and how the dynamic is changing constantly,” Talbot noted. “We in HR need to be on top of this data, and it’s never going to be static.

“We need to get on the bus from a technology perspective,” she added. “We need to be using social media, streamlining ourselves to understand what’s going on in the labor force.”

HR also can do a better job of using metrics and analysis, Talbot noted.

“We need to use that and bring that to [the] organizations we are supporting.”

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News.


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