As the economy continues to soar following the COVID pandemic, surging inflation and mounting costs are becoming the new normal across every employment sector.
While American workers are enjoying sub-4% unemployment rates and a huge spike in wage growth, doubling from 3% to 6% over the past year, corporations are desperate to cut costs. As the cost of labor continues to rise, companies become more and more incentivized to find a cheaper solution.
While automation has been slowly replacing manufacturing jobs for decades, white-collar workers are no longer safe either. With artificial intelligence continuing to make progress, jobs can become redundant, whether they are in a skilled or unskilled trade or even a profession requiring years of education.
The following jobs may still be recruiting, but many of these traditional professions may disappear sooner than people think.
1. Financial Analysts
A financial analyst typically collects data and evaluates it to identify economic trends, business opportunities, and investment recommendations and assesses the results of certain business decisions.
Now there is financial software available that can read and analyze data the same way that humans can and often in just a matter of seconds and minutes. Artificial intelligence will eventually guide businesses to make major financial decisions without the need for people to spend countless hours modeling data in excel spreadsheets.
2. Administrative and Executive Secretaries
More than 1.6 million secretarial and administrative assistant jobs have been lost since 2000, almost a 40% decline.
Why is this job diminishing so quickly? Technology has played a large part because it has allowed the bosses to take on more work themselves. Files are now electronic and easily accessible. Corporate execs are often booking their flights and scheduling meetings themselves. They can also dictate their memos with voice recognition software that types it out for them, leaving little for administrative staff to do.
Companies are also finding it much more cost-effective to outsource any remaining duties to companies overseas.
3. Insurance Underwriters and Claims Representatives
Underwriters at insurance companies help evaluate risk and how much the potential is for a loss or profit. This job will fall victim to artificial intelligence as there is software available that can analyze and interpret all the data, including unstructured text, images, audio, and video, and calculate payouts based on this information. Of course, the software can also work much faster than a human.
Dispatchers work in different industries like emergency services, pest control, plumbing, and HVAC. Typically dispatchers work in situations where fast or urgent assistance or service is required. They coordinate sending employees to the locations where customers are waiting.
With technology like ridesharing apps that companies like Uber and Lyft are using, the need for a dispatcher to be the middleman will no longer be necessary. Technology will show employees where the next job is and let everyone else know they are en route.
With basic accounting software readily available, people can easily manage their businesses without hiring a bookkeeper to keep track of their finances. Some software can even download bank account information and complete simple tax forms. As technology becomes more sophisticated, small business owners will be happy to save money and manage their finances independently.
6. Postal Employees
It’s not just mail carriers who are running out of work with people opting to receive and pay bills online and the death of the handwritten letter. Other positions such as clerks, sorters, and processing machine operators are also losing their jobs to technology. With machines taking on functions throughout the postal service system, several roles in the sector will become redundant.
7. Financial Advisors and Stock Traders
The investment industry has eliminated thousands of jobs with algorithms replacing people. The New York Stock Exchange floor has gone from thousands of traders a few decades ago to merely a few hundred.
As people take on more research roles, they also find less need for financial advisors and to pay high management fees for making investment decisions they can do on their own through inexpensive brokerage accounts.
8. Travel Agents
Many people research destinations and book everything from flights to hotels to tours by themselves. With plenty of information and the ability to make price comparisons readily available, booking time to meet with a travel agent to arrange a vacation is already a thing of the past for many people.
9. Manufacturing, Construction, and General Labor
The labor sector is constantly under threat by automation. Robots have already replaced many repetitious jobs, such as assembly line workers and packagers. In construction, machines will soon take over labor-intensive and dangerous jobs. Many predict that such positions as bricklayers, crane operators, and bulldozer drivers will quickly lose their jobs to AI-controlled machines.
As much as librarians are knowledgeable and helpful, the days of asking where resources are and digging through countless books are gone. But their role is still essential for children. Library science has already evolved into the digital space, and children need help navigating and searching for online resources as it can be overwhelming.
Regardless, schools are steadily reducing the number of librarian positions across the United States.
11. Sales and Telemarketing
With people always online, the way to hook consumers into buying products or services is no longer by calling or persuading them through conversation. Now sales are more visual, and the best way to catch a consumer’s attention is through targeted ads.
Algorithms track user movements online as they go through different websites and shop for specific products. Technology can understand user preferences and place ads on computers and phones to sway consumers to buy directly from their screens.
The use of artificial intelligence for translation services is becoming increasingly popular. There is software already available that helps translate text and documents into the target language. Many people, especially students, have used Google Translate, which is easy to use and provides a quick response.
However, technology for this area still isn’t perfect. Although the demand for full-time translators may be less, they will likely take on the role of editors to review translations produced by technology.
13. Mortgage Brokers
With interest rates rising, fewer people are buying homes which is putting some mortgage brokers out of business. But the other cause for the loss of jobs is, of course, technology. People, especially the younger generations, prefer to find solutions online. They can go to an online mortgage broker and get a quick quote which saves them time and the need to meet someone in person for the same information.
14. Bank Tellers and Branch Representatives
The number of bank tellers available at bank branches is already much lower than a few decades ago. With telephone, online banking, and ATMs, there isn’t a terrible need to have tellers and other representatives physically present in banks.
Many predict that bank branches will continue to close. The bank teller position will eventually be a past job as technology will soon take over opening accounts and processing loans.
15. Restaurant Workers
Servers and fast food employee jobs will soon be on the chopping block. Many restaurants already employing electronic menus and ordering systems no longer require so many servers to walk around taking orders.
Burger-flipping robots are already on the horizon and in test mode. Labor shortages, low pay, and the pressure for fast service are forcing fast-food companies to look for other options. As fast food is simple and repetitive work, making burgers and frying french fries can easily be tasked to machines that can do the job in half the time.
16. Sports Referees
Sports already using instant replays and goal-line technology prove to be much more reliable than humans in assessing plays on the field. Referees can also be subject to abuse by angry fans and players, whether they make the right call or not.
Referee jobs will likely vanish soon with technology being better than the naked eye and unlikely to be challenged.
What Employees Can Do to Prepare
Although the future is bleak for these professions, workers can open doors to new opportunities by learning the technology that replaced them. Some machines require skilled people to operate and repair them. In addition, many jobs that are not going away any time soon, such as plumbers, teachers, and software engineers. But before jumping into your next profession, check out the labor market and make sure a robot won’t steal your job.
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