Career Trends: Five Career Paths On The Decline. Is Your Job Going The Way Of The Dodos?

Leon Jesmanowicz, Vice-PresidentAssessments, Careers, Resources, STRONG

Career trends can be difficult to predict, but there is one steadfast factor that we can always rely on: time and technology change everything.  In the last fifty years we have made more life altering technical advancement then the rest of human history combined, and we continue to increase our technical advancements exponentially.  When planning your future career it is important that you not only find a job, but also make sure that it will be relevant for the foreseeable future (check out our blog on the 5 fastest growing occupations in America).  There are career paths that have thrived for decades, but are now on a path of rapid decline.  If you are entering the job market for the very first time or looking into making a major career path change, then you might want to think long and hard before committing to career field on the decline.  According to the career trend data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Jan 2012) , here are five career paths on the decline that you may want to avoid.

1.  Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural ManagersThe era of small town farmers and ranchers is on the way out.  Replaced by major corporations using high tech machinery, cutting edge science, and mass cheap labor has been strangling small independent farmers and ranchers for years.  According to projections 96,100 (8%) of jobs will be lost between 2010 and 2020.

2.  Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators: Ever since the advent of email the postal service system has seen a steady decline.  In today’s age of instant messaging and email prevalence the traditional snail-mail is quickly becoming obsolete.   In addition, sorting and processing has also become increasingly automated requiring less labor capital to operate.  According to projections over 68,900 (48%) jobs will be lost by 2020 meaning almost half of all the people working the sector will be out of a job.

3.  Sewing Machine Operators: Another sign of increased outsourcing and the increasing trend toward automation of most menial tasks in mass production fields.  Sewing Machine Operators, and many other similarly categorized positions, are on the decline in the United States.  According to projections over 42,100 (25.8%) positions will be eliminated by 2020.

4.  Postal Service Mail Carriers: As volume of mail decreases, so will the need for mail carriers.  As seen with the continued woes of the USPS, in order to remain in business serious cuts will be required and those that keep their jobs will be put under increased workloads.  According to projections 38,100 (12%) positions will be eliminated by 2020.

5.  Fast Food Cooks : The general food service industry is growing, but Fast Food Cooks are the exception.  The lowest common denominator of fast food preparation is also getting increasingly automated.  According to projections 19,100 (3.6%) jobs in this sector will be eliminated by 2020.

This list illustrates a cyclical career trend : technology replacing or completely eliminating jobs.  If you find yourself in a declining industry then feel free to check out our complimentary Job Resources page Here you will find information on career development, job searches, and assistance with resume writing.  If you’re not sure what career path to pursue I would highly recommend taking the Strong Interest Inventory® testI’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  It provides a highly personalized report painting a clear picture of how your specific interests and preferences link to various jobs, working environments, and career fields.  You can learn all about the Strong Interest Inventory HERE.

Based on your results you will be able to more clearly identify your natural career focus.  It’s a great way to save time and might even bring up careers that you’ve never thought about before, but that might lead you to happiness and success.

Assessment Categories