Currently, we are witnessing a transformation in the job market. A new wave of innovation is sweeping the globe and those clinging to a job that is being reinvented better hold on tight. Not since the industrial age have we seen the way we produce, invent and create change so drastically. This ultimately means a change in employment. Is your job becoming marginalized? Odds are if a computer can do it, it is. Let’s try to imagine jobs that may become obsolete in the next 10 years.
For the past 20 years, globalization has led to outsourcing and has put a wrinkle in certain jobs in the U.S. Particularly, jobs centered around customer service and call centers have been effected. It has developed into an almost running joke. A call halfway around the world is made just to get a statement on your Visa card, whose customer service representative has an accent whose name is Randy. But the fact is, as long as there is cheaper labor out there, it’s going to be exploited, whether it’s to countries like India, or computers that are built and ultimately work for nothing.
Recently, the United States Postal Service (USPS) services have been dwindling. According to a CNN article, there is 22 percent less mail delivered than there was four years ago. The main culprit? Email. Both companies pushing to go “greener” and reduce paper use, accompanied with just being more practical, bills, letters and invitations are all being sent electronically. This new process has just taken form in the last five years. Imagine what the postal industry is going to look like in 10 years. Heck, even virtual flowers are being sent online. Try justifying that to the misses on Valentine’s Day.
It’s not just the age of the internet that is making some jobs obsolete, but technology in general. Here in Illinois, there are quietly becoming more I-pass lanes on I-90 then there are toll collectors. Visiting a downtown Walgreens or Target will almost ensure you being frustrated at a self-checkout line. Not to mention behind the scene jobs like inventory control and order fillers are being occupied by HAL 9000 and other computers alike. Remember how cool it was to say how you were talking to your travel agent and you’re getting a really good price on your trip to Vegas? Well, those days are gone. Now all travel arrangements are done through one of the many online travel sites. Even the offshore outsourcing call center jobs are becoming obsolete in other countries. Calls to Com-Ed and other institutions have you talking to an automated machine that asks you to repeat your address five times before acknowledging it.
The fact is companies look for a way to cut costs. Machines are cheaper than human labor and they’re easier to deal with. But the good news is technology may take away jobs, only to reinvent newer ones and create a whole different demand for the future.