Move backward in 1950, blue-collar industrial and agricultural jobs were common, with a modicum of clerical work thrown in for women who worked outside of the home. Unfortunately, faster than you could say “job security,” such jobs as secretaries, steel manufacturers and newspaper printers diminished rapidly – and are still dwindling today.
Thanks to the advent of technology like computers, automated machines, voice recognition systems and cell phones, many jobs that used to be deemed essential to the work force are on the decline. Thankfully, workers who hold these positions will be able to transition their skills to similar occupations with more job growth.
If you’re looking for job security during the next 10 years, here are 10 jobs to eye with caution and their more secure job alternatives. While they’ll have job openings to replace workers who leave the industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects they’ll have fewer new jobs over time.
1. Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers
Why it’s evolving: Many companies now use self-monitoring production machines, which alert inspectors to flaws they would normally detect by hand.
Decline rate: **7 percent
Instead: Try your hand as a different type of inspector: Agricultural, construction and building or transportation inspectors are all growing occupations.
2. Data entry and information processing workers
Why it’s evolving: Personal computers are abundant. People either do their own word processing or contract out their work, rather than hiring full-time staff. Other technologies like bar-code scanners and voice recognition systems reduce the need for data entry keyers.
Decline rate: 7 percent
Instead: Other growing jobs that deliver information in a timely manner include dispatchers and interpreters and translators.
3. File and order clerks
Why it’s evolving: Organizations use automated systems to place orders and most files are now stored digitally and retrieved electronically, thus reducing the need for file and order clerks.
Salary: $32,190 (file clerks) and $28,130 (order clerks)
Decline rate: 41 percent (file) and 24 percent
Instead: Employment for shipping, receiving and traffic clerks is increasing, and they also handle and keep records of materials.
4. Photographic process workers
Why it’s evolving: Since digital cameras have virtually taken over photography, digital camera owners have the ability to download, view, retouch and print pictures on their own computers, reducing the need for workers to do so manually.
Decline rate: 45 percent
Instead: Use your knowledge of photo processing as a photographer or printing machine operator.
5. Telephone operators
Why it’s evolving: Cell phones and 411 call services have reduced the demand for telephone operators, because fewer people use directory assistance, collect calls and pay phones.
Decline rate: 45 percent
Instead: Try another informational job. Hotel, motel and resort desk clerks, and customer service representatives are both growing occupations.
6. Pharmacy aides
Why it’s evolving: Pharmacy technicians will perform many of the duties aides normally do, like answering phones, stocking shelves and operating cash registers. Pharmacy aides will also receive more training, moving up to the technician position.
Decline rate: 11 percent
Instead: Get more training to becoming a pharmacy technician, where employment is increasing by 32 percent.
7. Bindery workers
Why it’s evolving: Computers allow binding to be automated and now, printing companies are binding products in-house, so the need for binding shops is decreasing.
Decline rate: 22 percent
Instead: Unfortunately, many production positions are declining, but printing machine operators are decreasing the least.
8. Radio and television announcers
Why it’s evolving: New technology and advancement of other media sources like satellite radio and syndicated programming mean less need for radio and TV announcers.
Decline rate: 8 percent
Instead: Use your communication skills as a news analyst, reporter, correspondent, interpreter or translator.
9. Floral designers
Why it’s evolving: Many people leave the job because of its low starting pay and limited opportunities for advancement; also, Internet florists take away the demand for designers at independent floral shops.
Decline rate: 9 percent
Instead: Give other creative positions a try. Landscape architects also create designs with plants and flowers. Or, try working in a nursery or greenhouse.
Why it’s evolving: Thanks to the “do not call” registry, the need for these pesky sales people is not as prevalent.
Decline rate: 21 percent
Instead: Other sales or telecommunications positions are steadily growing, like retail sales or data communications analysts.
By Rachel Zupek