As businesses are hustling to streamline their processes and pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic, our workforce is changing forever. Consumer behaviour is shifting, forcing people to do things they don’t normally do. Automation and technological development means new roles will be created while some will disappear. Processes which previously took a long time to complete can now be done much more efficiently. The next 10 years will only advance this. Here’s my forecast for the 10 jobs that will disappear in the next decade.
10 Disappearing Jobs
1. Printing and publishing
At Finder we have a bias towards getting things live on the Internet. If something isn’t on the Internet, it doesn’t exist. This era of the Internet is exploding. There will be a point where businesses can’t exist unless they are online and physical content will stop.
In the next 10 years, printers and physical, published content will disappear and those who work in printing will likely lose their jobs.
2. Travel agents
Five years ago, when you wanted to book a holiday you would contact a travel agent. Fast forward to today and innovation has led to better competition for deals and more convenient ways to book the best value travel online.
In an era when we want to be able to make our own choices, travel websites let us do that, at a time that suits us. The travel agent industry has shrunk and as innovation and competition continues to improve, these jobs will slowly finish.
Technology is replacing the need for physical books. Right now, as kids are being home-schooled, their libraries have been replaced by apps that house more books than their school library. Will there ever be a need for a library again? Perhaps they will become museums that store books like a vault of history. And librarians will evolve into digital research teachers who help our kids navigate the Internet instead of aisles of books.
The ways to reach your audience are growing almost daily as new platforms and innovations see different groups congregate in new ways. And the more ways we can get in front of our audiences, the cheaper it becomes as they all compete for advertising dollars. This means the once innovative method of cold-calling customers over the phone, which replaced door-knocking salespeople, is now the slowest and most expensive way to convert sales. Within the next decade, this role will completely disappear and be replaced by automation through app push notifications and messaging.
5. Bank tellers
In light of the current pandemic, we are already seeing governments and healthcare agencies promote contactless payments and discourage physical cash. We’re seeing people using cash dramatically less and this is likely to continue after the pandemic is over.
By 2030, my forecast is that there will be no more physical currency as contactless payments, new payment apps and cryptocurrencies will be used to transfer wealth and transact. This means there will be no need for bank tellers to count physical cash, as we won’t be walking into banks to withdraw or deposit money.
6. Point of sale operators
Coronavirus has caused essential stores to replace more people with contactless checkouts. Online shopping is being hammered as people are forced to stay inside and this trend will continue, reducing the need to go to a physical shop. This shift is not only safer for social distancing, it’s also more efficient and much more cost-effective for businesses. In the next 10 years, contactless checkouts will be widespread and most shopping will be online and delivered to your door. This will mean that point of sale operators will no longer be required and their jobs will mostly disappear.
7. Customer service
During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen a huge spike in people shopping online. This trend is here to stay. As more people get used to online shopping and visit physical stores less, we’ll see stores close and fewer jobs for these customer service workers.
Innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and technology has hit the maintenance space, and we’ll see more automation that will replace people’s cleaning jobs. Soon we’ll see robotic devices that will clean the leaves in the pool and check the chemical levels, and robots in our homes will be housekeepers which will press a button to print our 3D meal.
Cleaning automation isn’t new. The first robotic vacuum cleaner was released in 1996 by Electrolux. There is a lot more scope for innovation in this space that is largely underdeveloped. Once we figure out ways to make more smart cleaning devices that are cost-effective, we will see less need for cleaners.
9. Administration assistants
AI innovation is happening in the personal assistance space, with bots now able to send emails and schedule meetings, and automatically transcribe recordings. It’s only the beginning of how AI will assist us and it could come to a point where it could replace personal assistants.
10. Postal workers
How many letters do you get in the mail? We’re not getting as many letters as we used to because most of what is posted can now be emailed. This will seriously impact postal worker jobs which are declining and won’t exist in the next decade.
Jobs disappearing: Conclusion
Markets are changing. Consumer needs are changing. To match the changing demand, jobs need to evolve. Whilst many jobs will disappear by 2030, there will be growth in new sectors such as data analytics, AI and robotics. Many traditional roles will be digital and managed by computers. At the same time, we will need someone behind the computer ensuring it goes smoothly. The changing nature of the workforce will require us to be agile and constantly learn new skills.
About the Author
Fred Schebesta is a founder of Finder, a world-leading comparison website.