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Consider transferrable skills, retraining as some jobs cease to exist
lumberjack, flight attendant and utilities meter reader are among the
10 jobs most likely to disappear by 2022, joining the ranks of
switchboard operator and stagecoach driver, according to CareerCast’s Most Endangered Jobs of 2014 report.
Eight of the 10 most
endangered jobs—from a list of 200 in the U.S. that CareerCast
reviewed—rank 146th or worse for hiring outlook. Check out the slideshow
below to see the top 10 endangered jobs, then read on about the
implications to HR.
10 jobs are “not good career paths to target,” said Tony Lee,
CareerCast publisher. Fewer people will occupy some of these jobs in the
next eight years, while other jobs on the list simply will cease to exist.“We’re
advising focusing on STEM [science, technology, engineering and math]
jobs and skills for at least the next 20 years,” Lee said.
four core criteria to rank jobs to compile its list—environment,
including factors like physical demand; income; outlook; and stress.
Much of its data, it said, came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS), other government agencies, trade associations and private survey
Most of the jobs on the list are going the way of the dodo bird because they are casualties of technology that:
*Allows more work to be accomplished with fewer resources, such as with farming.
*Automates jobs such as meter reading.
*Changes how a product is produced and consumed, such as news and correspondence.
Mail carriers top
the endangered list, according to CareerCast, mirroring the BLS’s dire
outlook. There were 491,600 mail carrier jobs in 2012; the BLS projects
139,100 fewer such jobs in 2022, a decrease of 28 percent.
Farm jobs also will take a major hit. While technology has reduced the
number of workers needed on a farm, the number of farms overall is
“We need the same
amount of crops from the farm, but they’re being farmed by
corporations” that buy up smaller farms, Lee explained. “The majority
[of farmers] do not own their own farms.”
Four of the jobs
expected to become obsolete—lumberjack, newspaper reporter, mail carrier
and printing operator—are tied directly to the declining use of paper,
Lee noted. As more people read books, magazines and newspapers on mobile
devices, the drop in demand for wood pulp for products such as
newsprint lessens the need for lumberjacks and drill-press operators.
also provides people access to previously inaccessible information,
allowing travelers to book their own flights instead of relying on
travel agents. Meanwhile, flight attendant jobs are declining as
airlines consolidate flights, requiring fewer attendants. Additionally,
flight attendants are working beyond traditional retirement age.
“The average age of the flight attendant has risen,” Lee pointed out.
Workopolis, Canada’s largest online job site, predicted in
2013 that taxi dispatchers and toll booth operators would be among
occupations that will be obsolete in 10 years, as consumers resort to
apps to find cabs and automation eliminates the need for human toll
booth operators. Its findings come from tracking titles most frequently
posted on its portal in 2013.
A list compiled by HR software provider CIPHR singled
out a few of the same jobs as CareerCast—travel agent, postal
worker—likely to become extinct in 10 years. However, others on its
list, such as video rental clerk, did not make CareerCast’s ranking
because those positions, Lee said, are “almost all gone already.”
Implication for Workers, HR
shrinking job market for the positions on CareerCast’s list has less of
an impact on those with many years in their field—the mail carrier of 25
years likely will continue working for the U.S. Postal Service until
retirement, Lee said—there are repercussions for future employees and
young workers in these fields.
while software is tolling the death knell for tax examiner/collector
jobs, teachers could guide someone with an aptitude for math toward
becoming an auditor, which Lee said has “strong growth potential.”
And HR will need
to focus on identifying “solid, transferrable skills” among its young
employees in these dying careers, he said. A drill-press operator, for
example, “would not take dramatic retraining to learn other factory jobs,” he pointed out.
Additionally, employers should consider providing the training for the jobs they want to fill, he suggested.
“If they’re willing to invest in their workforce … [they’ll] end up reaping the benefits in the long run,” he said.
Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News.
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