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Postal workers are in decline. Postal workers are in decline. Featured
18 November 2018 Posted by 


Changing face of work
THE world of business has become a precarious place in the 21st century with whole professions disappearing or changing dramatically in just few short years.

Choosing the correct career or making a vital career change will be critical to your chances of financial security. Even those with secure footing in their field of expertise have to constantly update and learn new techniques to hold their rung on the corporate ladder.
So, Western Sydney Business Access decided to look at some of the careers which will either disappear or change dramatically in the future.
And in a future edition we will look at the careers expected to boom.
Most of the disruption to industry has been caused by either the coming of the internet, automation and social media or the importation of cheaper imports from overseas.
Checkout Chicks
A career in danger which is obvious to all of us is the role of the traditional “checkout chick”. Any regular visitor to their local supermarket will have noticed the number of checkouts operating have shrunk dramatically in recent years as more and more people use the self serve checkout. Instead of a dozen checkout ladies putting your order through, it takes just one junior staff member to check your items as you depart.
Eventually your items will automatically be tallied on a phone app and you will simply walk out with your account debited. The same goes for many stores where sales assistants will be few and far between as you buy a new suit or raid Ikea for that new bookshelf.
Travel Agents
The demise of traditional travel agents has been one of the oft cited results of the internet age. So far, it hasn’t happened, principally because it is easy to book a flight online, but organising a complicated itinerary still requires a skilled agent to handle it.
Also, over 50s provide the bulk of the travel market and they have not totally embraced the internet. Thanks to online travel booking sites, everyone else is their own personal travel agent these days. As a result, travel agents are expected to decline by more than 10% in the next 10 years.
There is, however, an alternative travel career on the rise. There will be an increase in the need for people who are experts in specific destinations or particular types of travellers. That could include corporate, luxury, overseas cruising and seniors.
Mortgage Brokers
The number of traditional mortgage brokers dropped by 80% during the Great Recession and for those who were able to keep their jobs, average salaries dropped by 30%. And the profession hasn’t really recovered, thanks to online brokers that make getting an online quote quick.
Add in that Millennials, the home buyers of the future, have grown up doing everything online, and the outlook for mortgage brokers looks bleak at best.
However, don’t despair, many of the numeric and financial skills possessed by those who might be attracted to that profession could be utilized elsewhere in the financial services industry.
Blame artificial intelligence for the decline of the bookkeeping profession. With the technology constantly improving experts believe the age old job of bookkeeping will be eliminated.
The world will always have lawyers, but a lot of the work they do — or used to do — is quickly being taken over by technology. A lot of the work once done by case researchers can now be done with increasingly sophisticated algorithms. The recommendation for aspiring legal eagles is to focus on specializing in non-routine human emotion intense areas, like jury selection or witness profiling.
One in 10 of the nation's radio and television announcers are expected to see their jobs disappear by 2026. Consolidation in the industry, as well as increased use of syndicated content, is fuelling the decline. There's also the explosion of streaming music services. More and more listeners prefer that over their local, drive-time disc jockey.
Party DJs however, are seeing an uptick in business with demand for their services projected to grow about six percent by 2026.
Middle Managers
The paper pushing done by middle managers is increasingly being done by enterprise software like Oracle and Salesforce. People in those jobs should focus on revenue-producing functions like client relationships, sales or new product development.
Casino Cashier
There are plenty of opportunities in gaming, but cashier is not one of them. Casinos are increasingly turning to automated machines to reduce labour costs, meaning the man or woman in the casino cage is going the way of the one-armed-bandit-style slot machines. The growth in the industry is expected to fuel demand for dealers. But there is a downside: While the number of dealers is expected to grow by 10%, they earn significantly less than cashiers.
IT Guys
Or, as they’re also known, system and server administrators. With so much of computing becoming cloud-based, the IT guy who patrolled your office is becoming less and less relevant in today's workforce. The change is already happening at smaller businesses, which find it cheaper and more efficient to outsource the work.
The good news is, it is creating the opportunity for programmers, freelancers and system administrators willing to pivot to manage their client servers remotely and profitably, and at better scale.
Financial Planners
Tasks once performed by low-level retail financial planners are quickly being outsourced to planning software, apps, robo advisors and investing algorithms. However, an opportunity remains for those than can implement market-timing strategies along with asset protection and risk mitigation.
Floral Designers
The number of flower arrangers in the USA fell 25.6% between 2005 and 2015 and is projected to fall another 16.6% to 2025. Blame the internet and its burgeoning business of flower delivery, as well as a push by supermarkets to bolster their floral departments and sell loose flowers directly to customers.
The visual design skills used by floral designers, however, are easily transferable to the higher-paying professions of interior design and merchandise display, both of which are growing.
Postal Workers
It is predicted the number of postal workers, including mail carriers and clerks, will drop by about a quarter by 2026. Online bill paying and keeping in touch with friends on social media are the biggest culprits in the dreary outlook for workers in the postal Service. Mail sorters will be hardest hit, with a drop of 50 percent in available jobs.
Yes, many online retailers use the postal service to deliver packages, but that demand doesn't make up fully for other areas of decline.  Automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes and tight budgets will adversely affect employment. And if you think Amazon will save the U.S. Postal service, think again. The company is building its own network of delivery drivers in an effort to reduce costs and increase productivity.
Photo Processor
Digital photography continues to make job hunting more difficult in the photo processing industry. The best idea would be to buy a good camera and do some intensive training. You see, the need for photographers is on the increase. That profession is expected to increase dramatically by 12 by 2026. Portrait and commercial photographers – the people who take photos for businesses and advertising firms – are expected to see the greatest growth over the next decade.
Data Entry Clerks
We are witnessing the decline of traditional office and administrative workers. Once again, we can thank – or blame – technology. Word processing, voicemail and the internet means we end up doing a lot of the tasks that once would have been delegated to an administrative assistant. The profession had been in decline for several years and then saw a rapid increase in decline during the recession. The economic recovery hasn't been applied to people in this line of work.
Telephone Switchboard Operators
Yes, there are still a few people who work as operators, but their numbers have been declining for decades and are projected to fall another 33% in the next 10 years. Once again, blame technology. Texting, voice mail and other A.I.-enhanced systems could make this job obsolete even sooner than projected.
We all know the sad story of many of our farmers battling the biggest drought in history. Adding to their woes is the demise of the traditional farm handed down from father to son with loving hands. The number of agricultural workers is also expected to decline by around 10% in the next few years. It’s not because people are eating less, but because farmers are getting more efficient, replacing workers with machinery and getting bigger yields out of smaller plots of land.
Fast Food Cook
The promise of technology is that it will make low-paying jobs obsolete. And nothing is more symbolic of the bottom of the employment food chain than fast food cook, which is one of the few jobs in our list that require less than a high school diploma.
The reason? Fast food is increasingly becoming an automated industry. The chains have found it cheaper to prepare food off site and simply have employees reheat it in their stores. That was unthinkable in most fast food businesses even a decade ago, but food technology has advanced to the point where the microwaved version doesn’t lack the flavour of the cooked-on-site version.
With more and more jewellery being produced overseas, there are fewer and fewer jewellers working in the traditional outlets.
Textile Machine Workers
Another job that requires minimal education, low-skilled machine working is increasingly being done overseas. The decline affects setters, operators and tenders of textile knitting and weaving machines.
But workers who have slightly more specialized skills, like skilled manufacturers, are seeing a slight increase in the number of opportunities available to them. An even better option? Train to be a machinist. The number of people who use lathes, milling machines and grinders to make bolts and other parts are expected to see the number of available jobs grow by 14% by 2026.
Furniture Finisher
These craftsman shape, finish and refinish damaged and worn furniture. But with furniture prices constantly declining it's now often cheaper to replace than it is to repair a broken chair or table. Furniture finishers who work in production — the making of new furniture — are no better off as the process becomes automated, moved overseas or both.
Door-To-Door Salespeople
It really is the death of the salesman: About one in five of these jobs will be gone by 2026, according to statistics. Online advertising is far more efficient than having someone brave the elements, over-protective dogs and customers who just aren’t interested.
There are, however, still plenty of opportunities for salespeople. Insurance sales agents, on average, earn close to double what door-to-door salesmen earn, and their numbers are growing: the number of people working in the field will expand by 10% by 2026, according to US statistics.
Print Binding and Finishing Workers
While this job is expected to diminish at a slower pace in the coming decade than it did in the past decade, it’s still not a good time to be in the printing business. Hardest hit in the industry are the people who bind and finish books, thanks to increased automation and decreased demand. By 2026, the number of people working in binding and finishing will drop by 10.6%.
Surveillance cameras, spyware and DNA databanks make it easier to solve crimes. Experts predict a decline of the traditional detectives depicted for generations in mystery novels and TV shows. Police work in the future will focus more on criminal rehabilitation and reducing crime and less on investigations
Routine Architect
There doesn’t seem to a bright future for people looking to get into the field. To become a licensed architect requires several years of tertiary study and another three to five years of internships. All that to earn far less than the public assumes and provide a service that is not exclusive or in demand. A lot of the services architects provide can now be pro
vided by people who do not have licenses.
In the corporate world, engineers can do the same tasks and in a residential application, anyone can draw plans for new homes or for remodelling permits as long as they comply with the current code.
Family doctor
The primary care GP you go to for your annual physical or when you're feeling under the weather may be going the way of doctors that make house calls. Routine diagnostics for things like strep throat and ear infections will be replaced with cheap, in-home tests.
The alternative will be for doctors to spend less time diagnosing illness and more time on addressing human factors that produce better wellness outcomes: counselling for obesity and addiction, performance coaching, or addressing urgent conditions like emergency room doctors or first responders.
Don't worry, artificial intelligence (AI) isn't about to replace your doctor anytime soon, but it may shift the job market and change the day-to-day work for many GP’s.




Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.