THE INC. LIFE

4 Jobs That Will Probably Disappear in the Next 10 Years

Is yours one of them?

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BY Quora - 10 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

What jobs won't be around 10 years from now? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Bonnie Foley-Wong, CEO Pique Ventures, on Quora:

The NY Times ran an article about a switchboard operator that had worked almost fifty years before retiring and her job becoming nearly obsolete. Human computers date as far back as the seventeenth century. It's estimated that their jobs finally became obsolete in the 1970s. It can take a long time for a job to fully disappear.

Indeed, some jobs will be replaced as a result of technological advancement and automation. Some jobs will become obsolete. Jobs might disappear from one geography, only to rise in another due to global outsourcing. Some jobs dwindle to small numbers and remain in existence in an artisanal or craft sense. As such, answering the question of what jobs won't be around ten years from now is not easy to answer. But let's take a stab at it.

A Local Perspective

Here are cases of jobs that likely won't exist in my local economy ten years from now (but they might exist elsewhere in the world or in an artisanal sense):

  • Handmade furniture maker. There is a local business I know of that churns out vintage replicas, each one made by hand. They also produce handmade custom furniture direct-to-consumer and on commission for commercial purposes (including reality TV!) Compared to mass-produced, factory-made furniture, demand is relatively low and the business does not create very many new jobs.
  • Umbrella manufacturer and retailer. After eighty-two years and three generations of management, an umbrella manufacturer and consumer retail business in Vancouver is closing its doors. But here is a tale of business models and relevance. Its sister company, founded around the same time, went the route of umbrella distribution and corporate supplier of suppliers - it continues to thrive.
  • Bank tellers and cashiers. Mobile banking and electronic fund transfers are eliminating the paper trail for banking transactions and one day we will never need to walk into a bank to carry out day-to-day activities in person (that day could be today, except for some reason, I still have to process checks/cheques in person at the bank, especially when it's cross-currency).
  • Travel agents. In US, the number of travel agents dropped from 124,000 in 2000 to 74,000 in 2014. At that rate, it is conceivable that all travel agent jobs will disappear in ten years. Booking travel will be entirely through digital online platforms and the activity of booking travel will be performed directly by travelers themselves or by virtual assistants (I was about to type personal assistants and replaced it with virtual assistants).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has a great searchable database, with predictions about jobs in decline, fastest growing, as well as specific occupations.

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