On the Downward Slope: 9 Jobs that will Decline in the Coming Decade

This article identifies 9 jobs that will start to become obsolete in the next 10 years and explains why. We will also explore potential opportunities in this new era of technology and discuss practical ways to better prepare for the future.

Key Takeaways

This article identifies 9 jobs that will start to become obsolete in the next 10 years and explains why. We will also explore potential opportunities in this new era of technology and discuss practical ways to better prepare for the future.

The type, nature, and scope of jobs have changed continuously throughout human history. Some jobs adapted to new technology, others gradually morphed into new avatars, while some faded silently into obscurity. 

It’s a part of our cultural and technological evolution that workers such as chimney sweeps, town criers, and switchboard operators, for instance, no longer exist. 

That’s because human innovation gave us electric fireplaces, digital advertising, and mobile phone technology. That same innovation also gave rise to novel jobs like social media influencers, drone operators, and data scientists. 

These are just surface-level examples of the churn that professional fields continuously encounter in every generation. What’s different now is that the speed of change affecting the professional landscape is far higher than ever before. 

And as we enter the brave new world of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), there is no telling what new jobs will be created, and what old ones will disappear.  

For starters, McKinsey estimates that nearly 30% of work hours in the US could be taken over by automation by 2030, thanks to smart machines and AI. In other words, shifts in workplace roles and responsibilities are a call for everyone to adjust and adapt. 

This article identifies 9 jobs that will start to become obsolete in the next 10 years and explains why. We will also explore potential opportunities in this new era of technology and discuss practical ways to better prepare for the future.

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Automation, AI, Robots: Real Job Replacers or Hype?

Before exploring the jobs that might become obsolete in the next few years, let's assess the reality versus hype surrounding the topic of AI, automation, and robots replacing human jobs. The projected influence of AI in the job market has been a subject of much speculation and debate. 

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, about 19% of American workers find themselves in jobs most susceptible to AI influence. These are roles where crucial tasks could either be replaced or supported by AI. It's a shift raising questions about the stability and future scope of various professions.

There is, however, a flip side to the argument. The rise of AI also ushers in a demand for new roles, creating a job market that seeks expertise across a wide spectrum of cutting-edge technologies. 

Positions like Deep Learning Engineers, AI Chatbot Developers, Prompt Engineers, and Automation Experts are witnessing a surge in demand. These roles represent the vanguard of the evolving workplace, revealing how new, tech-driven positions are emerging even as certain positions for other jobs may diminish.

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The Next Decade's Changing Landscape

A recent survey by Resume Builder reveals that 44% of surveyed companies anticipate AI causing layoffs in 2024. 

To navigate potential job replacement by automation and generative AI, options such as upskilling, changing careers, or transitioning to different industries are crucial. 

In that context, let’s look at our compilation of jobs that could begin to vanish within the next decade.

1. Cashiers

The role of cashiers faces potential obsolescence as automation, self-checkout systems, and the surge in online shopping redefine the retail landscape. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected 10 per cent decline in employment for cashiers from 2022 to 2032.

With the increasing prevalence of automated checkout systems in supermarkets and stores, customers can now independently scan and pay for their purchases without needing traditional cashier assistance. 

The growing preference for online shopping is further diminishing the necessity for in-person cash transactions. 

E-commerce platforms, featuring seamless digital transactions, offer a convenient alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar retail. 

As businesses strive for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, integrating automated technologies becomes a logical choice, posing a significant challenge to the continued relevance of cashiers in the evolving retail ecosystem. 

Cashiers can enhance their relevance amid automation by acquiring customer service, technology, and data analysis skills. 

Proficiency in using automated checkout systems, mastering digital payment methods, and cultivating strong interpersonal skills ensures adaptability and relevance. 

a person using a tablet

2. Data Entry Professionals

Data entry jobs may face significant challenges as automation increasingly takes over such tasks. The precision and speed offered by automated tools may soon render manual data entry less relevant. In fact, data Entry Keyer jobs are expected to decrease, with around 21,520 positions projected to be lost by 2029.

Amid this transformation, however, there is a potential pivot towards a more promising career path in data analytics and data science

Elevating skills to understand the sophisticated methods of harnessing data, instead of solely focusing on data entry, can empower individuals to target more advanced and contemporary job opportunities.

3. Food Service Employees 

The rise of AI technology is poised to impact the food service industry, leading to a potential decline in jobs. McKinsey suggests that declining employment in the food service sector may persist. 

Automation and AI-driven systems could streamline processes, reducing the demand for traditional food service roles. 

Individuals in this profession contemplating a career change can explore new opportunities through community college courses on platforms like Unmudl to equip themselves with contemporary skills. 

4. Quantitative Experts

Quantitative jobs face disruption as computerized mathematical modeling, chatbots, AI, and predictive analytics advance, diminishing the need for traditional quants. The precision and efficiency of automated technologies outpace manual quantitative analysis. The use of AI Advisors replacing human advisors in actively managed equity funds is observed in the stock market.

Individuals considering a career shift from this field can pivot towards data analytics, a field aligned with the evolving demands of quantitative analysis. 

Embracing skills in data analytics offers a strategic transition from traditional quantitative roles to positions that harness the power of modern computational tools. This ensures relevance in a landscape where sophisticated technological solutions are replacing conventional quant roles.

a person writing on a chalkboard

5. Assembly Line Workers

Assembly line workers confront potential job shrinkage in the next decade, especially in the manufacturing sector where there is a higher exposure to automating technologies than in the rest of the economy (52% of workers compared to 28%). This is primarily driven by the ascent of automation and robotics. 

Machines are increasingly taking on repetitive tasks, reducing reliance on human labor.  To stay relevant, professionals in this field can future-proof their careers by acquiring skills in systems automation

Learning how to manage and optimize automated systems ensures continued employability and positions these workers as integral contributors to the evolving manufacturing landscape, where adaptability to advanced technologies is crucial for sustained career growth.

6. Telemarketers

Telemarketers face obsolescence as AI voice-generated calls, automated systems, and chatbots redefine customer outreach. The advent of targeted ads further diminishes the effectiveness of traditional telemarketing. The Future of Jobs 2023 Report from the World Economic Forum identifies Telemarketers as a declining profession.

To navigate this shift, telemarketers can explore alternative career paths such as digital and social media marketing by leveraging their communication skills in crafting online campaigns. 

Customer relations roles focusing on personalized interactions and relationship-building provide a meaningful segue for their expertise. Adapting to these changing dynamics opens doors to roles aligned with the evolving times and ensures continued professional relevance.

a group of people wearing headsets

7. Entry-level Content Writers and Editors

With the rise of AI tools like ChatGPT and Grammarly, entry-level content writing and editing roles face rapid obsolescence. 

The Washington Post emphasizes the risk to jobs at the entry-level.

Writing and editing tasks devoid of deep research, human perspective, or in-depth analysis are especially susceptible to automation. To stay relevant, writers must elevate their skills by incorporating depth, nuance, expert observation, and thorough research into their work. 

The key lies in adding strategic value to content creation. Courses in content strategy, digital marketing, and related fields are pivotal in this context, offering writers the tools to navigate the evolving landscape. Adapting to this paradigm shift ensures sustained relevance in the content domain.

8. Street Cleaners

The worldwide market for cleaning robots is experiencing significant growth, with a projected reach of $24 billion by 2026. This indicates a transformative shift in the operational dynamics of the cleaning industry. Robotic systems can potentially replace traditional street sweepers and transform the maintenance of public spaces. 

Equipped with advanced sensors and automated navigation, these robots can efficiently traverse urban landscapes, identifying and cleaning debris without human intervention. The consistency offered by robotic sweepers enhances the effectiveness of street cleaning, reducing the need for manual labor. 

These automated systems present a cost-effective and efficient alternative, potentially reshaping the future of street maintenance by streamlining operations and ensuring cleaner environments through the seamless integration of robotics. 

Personnel can future-proof their skills by learning about operating robotic systems to stay relevant. Acquiring expertise in maintaining and overseeing these automated solutions ensures job security and positions individuals as essential contributors in integrating technology for public space upkeep. 

Switching careers to specialize in robotics within the cleaning ecosystem would be prudent for individuals currently working in this field.

9. Clerical Jobs in Post Offices

Clerical roles in post offices may become redundant due to increased automation. Machines can now handle tasks like sorting and managing mail more efficiently. Individuals working in these roles can explore careers in tech support for these systems

Customer service roles assisting with online inquiries and addressing concerns provide additional opportunities. Pursuing technology or customer relations courses can open doors to diverse job possibilities, helping individuals transition seamlessly into new and relevant roles beyond traditional clerical responsibilities.

Changing Careers: What to Do When Your Job is Going Away

Facing the possibility that your job might become obsolete can be unsettling, but taking proactive steps can pave the way for a successful professional transition

An effective strategy to that end involves upgrading your skills. Identify the skills in demand in your industry or explore emerging fields. Online platforms such as Unmudl offer many courses to help you acquire these skills conveniently.

  • Consider formal education as a powerful tool for career transformation. Enrolling in courses, workshops, or degree programs related to your field of interest can provide valuable knowledge and credentials. Many institutions now offer flexible, online options to accommodate diverse schedules.

  • Changing industries is another avenue to explore. Analyze your current skills and see how they align with other sectors. Many skills are transferable, and industries such as technology, healthcare, and renewable energy are attractive because they are experiencing rapid growth.

  • If opportunities for your job are on the decline, contemplate a more profound shift – a change in your career path. Assess your passions, strengths, and interests to identify a new direction. Utilize career exploration tools and guidance from professionals in the field you're considering.

  • Networking plays a crucial role in any career transition. Connect with professionals in your desired field, attend industry events, and join online communities. Networking provides insights, mentorship, and potential job opportunities.

  • The gig economy presents another alternative avenue. Freelancing or consulting allows you to leverage your expertise while exploring new opportunities. You can be a working learner as you take up a freelancing role.

  • A well-crafted resume and a solid online presence are vital during a career transition. Tailor your resume to highlight transferable skills and accomplishments. 

Build a professional online profile on LinkedIn that showcases your skills and experiences. Building a robust personal brand is essential for enabling potential employers to recognize you as a formidable candidate while you transition careers.

  • Utilize career counseling services to gain personalized insights and advice. Professionals in this field can help you navigate the transition, offering guidance on viable options and potential challenges.

  • Remember, financial planning is crucial during a career shift. Evaluate your budget, save strategically, and plan for potential changes in income. This ensures a smoother transition period without unnecessary financial strain.

How Can Unmudl Help

Unmudl offers a wide variety of courses that serve as pathways to skill enhancement and career transitions. As a skills-to-jobs marketplace, the platform covers courses across multiple fields. Be it a job shift or skill refinement, Unmudl's courses empower you to stay adaptable and relevant in this rapidly ever-changing professional ecosystem.

With Unmudl, learning becomes a conduit for career growth, providing a space for continuous development. Explore the long list of courses and commence your journey with Unmudl today.

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