In ten years, those who could once easily find a job at a cash register will discover those jobs are few and far between. In fact, those people could have a harder time finding a job than similar job seekers looking for work during the recession, perhaps due to quickly developing automation in the workplace. It might seem difficult to get a job now, but it will probably be even harder in ten years time. Fields that seem like safe bets now, such as some tech jobs, will also be obsolete in ten years.
The recovering economy aside, there are some jobs that simply can't survive the next few years, all thanks to the never-ending march towards better and more useful technology. Some of these soon-to-be obsolete occupations may be pretty obvious, but others could be surprising. With industries shifting to more automated services than ever before, emerging technologies, such as advanced voice recognition and more powerful AI, means businesses will be quickly cutting out the middle-man: you.
The threat of human obsolescence is nothing new, but the way this might happen has evolved with the times. In the past, people were worried about robots taking their jobs, but the reality is it probably won’t be robots being hired by your former employer. It's much more likely that it will be a simple computer program - like Apple’s SIRI, but better. Tired of interacting with people at the supermarket? In ten years, the position of cashier will be all but totally automated. The self- checkouts of today will be laughably outdated in comparison to how easy it will be to check out without the burden of social interaction in the future. Though the convenience will be nice for the upper middle class, people in poverty and those looking for entry level jobs will have a harder and harder time finding work.
Here are five jobs that will probably not exist in ten years. If you’re involved in any of these careers, it might be time to update that resume you’ve been neglecting.
5 Retail Cashier - Avg. Salary: $21,000
Of all of the jobs on this list, cashier may be the most endangered.
Already, some supermarkets have at least some automated checkouts. At present, auto-cashiers are clumsy at best, and downright un-usable at worst. However, the speed with which technology improves means it won’t be long before automatic tellers become the norm and the human retail cashier goes the way of the VHS.
Older generations will be apprehensive of the change, but as people born today grow up, using automated devices will become standard. In all likelihood, kids that enter the workforce in 10 years will not have known a world without automated tellers or checkout lines.
Even now, some prefer the automated interactions over dealing with a real person. Most people can barely put their smartphones down to have a conversation, and the ability to carry out transactions while otherwise engaged will be alluring. Thankfully, humans have some hope in the retail world, as they will probably still have to man the returns desk, a ray of hope for those affected.
4 Postal Worker - Salary: $32,000
The decline of the iconic the traditional postal service is a sad image for some, and a welcomed one for others.
An example representative of the situation of most postal services worldwide, the United States Postal Service is losing money at an alarming rate, almost $5 billion a year, and seems to do worse and worse as time goes on. Despite bringing in record revenue, the fact is the postal service loses billions of dollars every year.
To maintain operations, the postal service will have to cut a number of costs, perhaps too many to maintain the status quo. With Saturday service already on the brink of suspension, it’s possible that services will have to be downsized extensively to be able to have any U.S. Postal Service at all.
While traditional postal services are cutting back, innovators on the outside are coming up with new ways to deliver their goods, further complicating matters. Perhaps the perfect example is the recent announcement by Amazon that it was developing a program called Amazon PrimeAir.
The service would let Amazon customers receive their packages via helicopter drone in under an hour, provided they are located within 50 miles of an Amazon warehouse. Adding to that already gutsy idea is the statement by the president of Amazon that the program will likely roll out within the next five years. Unable to match their competition on the ground, and with new players taking to the skies, postal services will be unable to keep up, and will likely have to shutter their doors.
3 Taxi Dispatcher - Avg. Salary: $43,000
Thanks to mobile internet connections and the enormous number of apps available for use, people already use their smartphones for pretty much everything. That in itself leads to some redundancies; dedicated GPS units, for example, are going the way of the dodo. Phones will also soon be able to replace human taxi dispatchers, with taxi drivers able to route their runs through some sort of app on a personal device, connecting them directly to their clients. For customers, it means that in all likelihood, they will soon be able to more easily get a cab, no longer stuck standing on the side of a road waving at passing taxis, or having to call and sit on hold with a dispatcher.
Being able to go online and “hail” a cab with an app would be much simpler both for consumers and for taxi drivers, and is already happening with apps such as Hailio and Uber. Within ten years these apps will be second nature, and people will wonder what they ever did without them.
2 Word Processor/ Typist - Avg. Salary: $45,000
For those used to a QWERTY input device, word processing probably seems like something that will be around forever. But, when it comes to getting ideas to the page, it would seem that the workforce is quickly heading to dictation- exclusive workplaces. Though there will certainly be plenty of people who prefer to type things out by hand, a huge majority of teens and young adults believe touch screens and voice recognition will be the primary method of input in the future.
To amateur futurists, it makes sense. Why would someone who is 10- or 11-years-old today want to type something out by hand when they can simply dictate it to a computer?
Taking the concept beyond even speech is the research being done to directly interface brain function with computers. In the not-so-distant future, people might not even have to dictate what they want to say, instead think what they want to have appear, and watching it show up on the screen.
Dictation technology is already widely available in a medical setting, and will only improve as time goes on, not to mention get cheaper to produce. In the 1960s, people thought communicator watches were impossibly far away, a product of an advanced future we could only imagine. Today, computers more powerful than Kirk could have ever imagined are right in our pocket, proof that progress in personal computing is advancing at a blistering pace.
1 Social Media Manager - Avg. Salary: $59,000
Considering how much we talk about the power of social media, some might think that a title like "Social Media Mamager" would have some staying power. With Facebook and Twitter totally integrated into the daily lives of so many Americans, it is essential for businesses to use social media effectively to reach consumers. Of course, that's also exactly why a Social Media Manage rcould soon be out of a job. Since social media is projected to become even more integrated into our daily lives, it will soon be expected of employees to have a firm grasp of all forms of social media, regardless of if they are a salesperson or marketing manager.
Having established skills in using Facebook and Twitter professionally, while useful, is itself no guarantee that a social media expert might survive this shift in landscape. In the next few years, Facebook could become as irrelevant as MySpace or AIM, replaced by the latest thing to capture the attention of consumers. Millennials entering the workforce in 10 years will have never known a world without social media, and will be equipped to adapt to the platform changes with ease.
People don’t waste a second thought on whether or not to share everything they do, so a position dedicated to sharing will likely become fat in need of trimming. Social media aptitude will not be something to put on a resume, but something just as necessary as knowing how to use a computer.