Uber Images/ShutterstockEver heard of a lamplighter? Up until the early 1900s, gas lamps lit up streets, and these lamps didn’t light themselves. Lamplighters would climb ladders and then strike matches to light each lamp. But once electric street lights came along it was lights out for those guys. Unfortunately, there are many jobs today that will being going the way of the lamplighter, the telephone operator, the toll collector, and other weird jobs we no longer need. Automation and technology are replacing them, whether by faster means of doing the job or rendering the job obsolete.
Common jobs that are slowly disappearing
Over the next five years, The World Economic Forum estimated automation will cost 5.1 million people their jobs. That’s a lot of people out of work, but it really depends on what you do. Here are the jobs at the highest risk for extinction:
- Fast food cooks
- Construction managers
- Truck drivers
“Often jobs we see on the decline are ones where technology or automation have become more prominent,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “For example, in the case of fast food restaurants, there is technology on the rise that is automating the preparation process.” According to The Los Angeles Times, half of America’s truckers could be out of a job within the next ten years due to fully automated trucks. Zerohedge.com noted that it’s already happening. Otto, an automated trucking company now owned by Uber, has already delivered beer and has been approved to travel two routes in Ohio.
A need for skilled workers
It seems that jobs that are on the upswing are those that require a higher level of skill set. For instance, Forbes noted the need for more physicians especially in geriatric and psychiatric care as baby boomers age. With a starting base salary of $200,000, becoming a doctor sounds pretty good if you’re willing to hit the books to obtain that medical degree. But wait! There’s a catch: It could cost $300,000 or more to earn that degree in the first place.
Computers can’t do it alone
According to Forbes, when it comes to marketing, social media and the internet has provided vast new opportunities. However, determining where to spend those advertising dollars so companies reach the right audience is more tricky. A computer can help, but someone still needs to interpret data and make recommendations.
Look for new opportunities
Whether or not you should worry about your position is really dependent on your field and expertise, but it might behoove people to keep an eye out for opportunities that materialize from these changes.
“We know from our research that only one in ten people say they are afraid robots are going to take over their job. There will always be a need for human interaction across all industries,” says Haefner. Follow these steps if you need to search for a new job while you’re still employed.
A flexible position may be easier to find and, according to Flexjobs, have real earning potential.
“Flexible work options like remote work and flexible schedules are increasingly common. But some of the biggest myths about them are that they are all lower-level jobs, or that they don’t pay well, or that they’re only available in fields like data entry and software development,” says Brie Reynolds, Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs. “The truth is that there are a wide variety of flexible, lucrative jobs out there, many of which might surprise people.
According to their job-finding data, current flexible positions such as a technical recruiter were offering up to $130,000 a year, while both a music instructor and a medical writer were paying $45 per hour. Bonus: Many of these positions have telecommuting options which can be good for way more than your wallet.