5 Jobs Nearing Extinction - And What's Taking Their Place
These five careers are nearing the end of their lifespan, but five others are set to take center stage.
It's a fact of life: Some life forms die out, while others evolve. This pattern isn't only limited to the natural world, but also applies to the professional realm. Certain jobs are on the decline, unable to keep up with the rest of the job market. But it's important to remember that for every job that is in danger of going extinct, there's another one ready to take its place.
Of course, it's better to be proactive and adapt to the ever-changing career world than to be forced to make a last-minute change. "Even when clients love their jobs, evaporating opportunities or stagnant paychecks can force them into exploring other employment avenues," says Lyn O'Brien, a career expert and co-owner of Your Hidden Advantage, a company that provides specialized career training support.
The endangered jobs below are either contracting or lagging far behind the national growth average for all jobs, which is 14 percent,
according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Fortunately, we've identified alternative careers that are expected to flourish. Keep reading to learn more.
Endangered Career #1: Desktop Publisher
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -15 percent,
3,300 lost jobs
Brick-and-mortar bookstores have almost become as rare as unicorns. Newspapers are closing down or laying off entire departments. And desktop publishers are the ones who design the layouts for these dying industries.
Why It's Nearing Extinction: "No big surprise here," says Julie Bauke, career strategist and president at The Bauke Group, a career coaching and consulting firm. "Print publications are on the decline, and with them, so is the need for desktop publishers."
"Additionally, the software used in desktop publishing is easier to use and more powerful than ever before, making it easier for relative novices to utilize," says Bauke.
Evolving Career: Graphic Designer
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +13 percent,
37,300 added jobs
At first glance, this job looks similar to a desktop publisher; that is, graphic designers
also develop layouts for magazines, ads, and brochures, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, they are responsible for creating images used for logos, websites, and illustrations, too.
How It's Evolving: As content continues to move online, graphic designers are becoming more and more important, says Nick Gidwani, the founder of SkilledUp, a site that curates online education resources and teaches people how to improve their job skills.
"Graphic designers, unlike print designers, create their designs for multiple sizes and platforms, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers," he explains. "Their designs are being used more and more to communicate quality and to market online products and services."
But Karen Elizaga, the founder of the career coaching company Forward Options, says that it's not just an increase in where design is needed, but also by whom.
"Let's be serious here," she says. "Everyone needs a graphic designer. Business has become increasingly competitive, so even little mom-and-pop shops are hiring graphic designers to help their brands to pop."
Education Options: Typically, the Department of Labor says that a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related subject is usually required in this field. If you've earned a bachelor's degree in another field, they report that you may pursue "technical training in graphic design" to get up to snuff with hiring qualifications.
Endangered Career #2:
Reporter or Correspondent
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -8 percent,
3,900 lost jobs
Getting the Sunday newspaper delivered to your doorstep is becoming a thing of the past. Sadly, the reporters and correspondents who inform the public of news and events through newspapers and TV are losing their audience - and their jobs.
Why It's Nearing Extinction: Gidwani says that a number of factors have contributed to the decline of the modern day journalist, from dwindling newspaper readership to the consolidation of news organizations.
"The real driving force, however, has been the Internet, where millions of amateur reporters blog for free, hundreds of sites copy, aggregate, and curate other people's content (often without due credit), and millions of millennials have learned to get their news from alternative sources, such as Twitter."
Public Relations Specialist
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +23 percent,
58,200 added jobs
Just like reporters, public relations specialists also work directly with the public, but unlike journalists, the U.S. Department of Labor says they work most often for organizations to help maintain a favorable public image. That might include writing press releases, helping clients communicate effectively and helping develop an overall corporate image.
How It's Evolving: Elizaga says that just like the graphic designer, there is increasing demand for PR specialists who can help their clients differentiate themselves so that people know of their products and services.
Additionally, Gidwani explains that as the media world has become more cluttered, there has been renewed value placed by businesses on public relations. PR specialists provide an important service, enhancing the reputation and visibility of a business by getting press coverage from reporters and media outlets, explains Gidwani.
"In addition, the raw proliferation of media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, in addition to the typical news outlets, has made the job of the PR specialist that much more difficult. As a result, PR is one area that is really growing."
Education Options: To pursue a career as a PR specialist you'll typically need a bachelor's degree, according to the Department of Labor. Fields like public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business could give you a leg up, as according to the Department, employers usually want candidates who've majored in these subjects.
Endangered Career #3:
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +7 percent; 9,500 added jobs
Computer repairers fix computer systems and hardware, but unfortunately, as technology advances, these professionals are getting left behind.
Why It's Nearing Extinction: "When computer problems occur, today's tech-happy users don't call a computer repairman. They pop in a utility program and go to lunch, or call one of a variety of competing on-line support technicians who will happily answer even in the middle of the night," O'Brien says.
Gidwani says that's not the only reason this career is dangerously close to petering out:
"When people owned their computers for 6 or 7 years, then the repairman was necessary," he says. "Today, with the majority of computers sold costing less than $500, and most of them laptops that offer little or no upgradability, most people simply buy a new one every few years instead of repairing them."
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +12 percent,
43,700 added jobs
Computer programmers are responsible for writing the code to create computer programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That includes doing things like writing in a variety of computer languages and code, updating existing programs, and yep - even testing and fixing errors, just like the outdated computer repairer.
How It's Evolving: Bill Peppler, managing partner at Kavaliro, an organization that offers staffing services, says that with the evolution of technology, computer programming has become a rising and growing industry within the last few years.
"Just as technology has progressed, a career such as a computer repairman has changed from diagnosing and fixing problems to evolving into computer programmers creating automated systems. In addition, with the boom of mobile apps, computer programmers are now in the forefront of every company's mind."
Education Options: The Department of Labor says that most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree. Though that's the norm, they also say that some employers may hire workers with an associate's degree, and that they value experience, often in the form of internships. And what do computer programmers major in? Most of these professionals get a degree in computer science or a related field, says the Department.
Endangered Career #4: Floral Designer
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -9 percent,
6,200 lost jobs
Daisies are stylish. Sunflowers offer your best wishes. And of course, roses are romantic. Floral designers create flower arrangements for special occasions and celebrations. But with this career not growing fast enough, they may not have much to celebrate themselves.
Why It's Nearing Extinction: Floral designers largely work in florist shops, where overall employment is expected to decline, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Instead of purchasing elaborate floral decorations from such shops, customers are increasingly buying loose cut fresh flowers from grocery stores and general merchandise stores.
Evolving Career: Event Planner
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +44 percent,
31,300 added jobs
Event planners take a wider role than a florist in arranging things for presentation. According to the Department of Labor, they meet with clients to plan the scope of an event, then coordinate the event's services, and monitor activities to ensure their clients are satisfied.
How It's Evolving: O'Brien says that sometimes floral designers don't recognize the hidden skills that they have developed which could be applied toward a career in event planning.
"A floral designer must meet several times with a client to find just the right bloom and color combination to fulfill the bride's vision for her perfect day. That same expertise at managing details from start to finish, the same ability to visualize someone's desire and bring it into reality could take the designer from the flower shop to the boardroom at double the salary."
Additionally, Gidwani says that event planners are benefitting from the rise in international and national companies that increasingly require regular meetings or conferences.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.
Education Options: The Department says that applicants should have at least a bachelor's degree. Some related undergrad majors include hospitality management, marketing, business, communications, and public relations. Additionally, the Department notes that aspiring event planners should have some work experience related to planning.
Endangered Career #5:
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -5 percent,
8,800 lost jobs
Paper trails - every company has one. File clerks are used to managing companies' mountains of documents. But they face a steep valley of decline when it comes to their career.
Why It's Nearing Extinction: Gidwani says that this is a classic case where automated technology and software is literally replacing humans.
The U.S. Department of Labor agrees and says that "declines are expected as businesses, including doctors' offices, increasingly convert to electronic recordkeeping systems." Because of this shift towards electronic records, fewer file clerks will be needed to organize these files.
Evolving Career: Medical Records and Health Information Technician
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: +21 percent,
Pursuing a career as a medical records and health information technician would be a better professional choice in the long run, because the demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. If you're currently a file clerk, this could be a good transition, since both careers specialize in organizing and managing data.
How It's Evolving: The same skills used as a file clerk can be utilized in this field, says Gidwani.
"Health care is one area where patients do not have the requisite information or expertise to input their own data, and as our population ages, there will be a lot more data required to be entered," he continues. "In addition, there is also a hefty backlog that must be converted to electronic records due to Obamacare, further enhancing the attractiveness of this field."
Education Options: The Department of Labor says medical records and health information techs typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation. However, they also note that these professionals may have an associate's degrees and that many employers require professional certification.
* Projected job growth rates from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 edition.
Next Article: Degrees You Can Earn Anytime You Want »