10 jobs going extinct in 20 years (or less)


Guess what a dinosaur and a travel agent have in common? They’re both extinct. Obsolete. Dead. Well, in the travel agent’s case, almost. But, they are not the only ones succumbing to time and tide. We tell you what the 10 jobs that will be outmoded in the next 20 years are, so you can put that money towards a degree that’s more likely to get you hired.

1. Travel Agent

Travel Agent

Travelling brings infinite opportunities, but not for travel agents it seems. [Image: totaladvantage]


Why: Aside from your parents, can you remember the last time you went to an actual tourist agency to book a flight or arrange for a tour? If you can’t, chances are it’s because you are one of many who have migrated online to look for the best vacation deals.

Major airlines like Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines now have their own websites that regularly offer attractive promotions, with hotels and tour packages included to lure in customers with extreme wanderlust. In the States alone, the field has downsized drastically in over a decade, going from 142,000 employees to half that number.

So, if it’s a hospitality or tourism degree you’re pursuing (or thinking of), don’t opt for this route. Work a little harder and a plum spot in a hotel chain definitely isn’t out of reach.

2. Agricultural engineers

Agricultural Engineer

One of the possible reasons why the agricultural scene is losing talent. [Image from: pigroll.com]

Why: Yet another industry hit by technological advances, agriculture used to require large numbers in manpower to thrive. However, as scientists develop new and more time-, cost- and energy-efficient ways to cultivate produce, metal is in and flesh is out. In fact, a Forbes report written in 2011 stated that agricultural engineering is a sector that employs fewer people than any other engineering field.

The good news is, it is still an industry that needs people to oil the gears and work the machines. So, while it may never be completely extinct, a smaller job market means a smaller chance of getting hired, so just adjust your hopes accordingly and make sure you have a backup plan, as one should in all things. No joke about the National Feedlot project here people, move along now.

3. Proofreaders


Only Ryan Gosling can revive the proofreading industry now. [Image from: memegenerator.net]

Why: Believe it or not, professional proofreaders actually require a four-year college degree to be qualified. Well, times have changed and a degree that takes this long and pays this little is unsurprisingly going out of fashion. In the States, it gets you an average salary of $30,000 per year, which isn’t much at all.

In five years, the market has shrunk by over 6,000 positions, and the outlook appears bleak no thanks to smaller media organizations and hungry jobless English major graduates everywhere who will proofread your documents on a freelance basis for much less.

4. Semiconductor Processors

Semiconductor Processor

It’s a small world after all, and an (increasingly) smaller job market for the microchip geeks. [Image: esa.int]

Why: The fact that this job title puts us to sleep should already be indicative of how archaic it is becoming. If you’re still with us, here’s what a semiconductor processing person does: they manufacture tiny electronic devices and instruments. It is another branch of engineering, and while that may seem profitable, think again of the many sub-fields that engineering encompasses.

 When it comes to microelectronic engineering, which semiconductor processors study before coming out into the big bad world, it has been projected that the employment rate will go down by as much as 27% from now until 2022. Also, there’s the small problem of the current average salary of $33,950 annually. Bummer.

5. Newspaper Reporter

Newspaper Reporter

Lois Lane IRL might be out of a job by now if she wasn’t so good at what she does [Image from: spinoff.comicbookresources.com]

Why: If you’re a traditionalist who likes starting your Sundays with a cup of coffee and your favorite daily, we have some bad news. But then again, you’ve probably heard it already – print is dying. More and more magazines and newspapers are making the move to the interwebs – that’s just where the readers are now.

As gratifying as it might be for some to inhale the smell of ink and caress the physical pages, it’s even more important to know exactly what Cara Delevingne is wearing right this second on your fave gossip site. Information age, baby. If writing is still your undying passion, don’t fret: there will always be a need for news, so you will be able to produce content one way or another – just don’t expect it to be in print.

6. Librarian


The menacingly butt-ugly librarian in Monsters University probably didn’t help business. [Image from: wrotetrips.wordpress.com]

Why: The days of spending hours at the library were fun while they lasted, but the last time I set foot into a library, it was to bug my friends while we were studying for uni finals. Even then, the library drew us in not because of an appealing fiction archive, but because of its direct access to extra information that would help us score an A, and of course, the delusion it gave us of being hardworking students.

While my example shouldn’t be used as a generalization, I think I speak for more than a few youths today when I say that information sourcing has gone to the internet, thanks to players like Google and Yahoo! (mostly Google). Is it any wonder then, that librarians are no longer flesh-and-blood employees, but ever ready, never tiring search bars that are always available to you with a proper internet connection?

7. Office Clerk

Bank Clerks

The truth about clerks. [Image from: onlinenews.ga]

Why: Between 2004 and 2009 alone, as many as 300,000 office clerk jobs were vacated, and are expected to decline further by 23%. The harsh truth is, administrative jobs have been made a lot easier by Microsoft Office, voicemail and the internet, and these are all skills which any full time employee who has ever worked with a computer will have.

We’re probably just bluffing here, but one day we might just have humanized versions of J.A.R.V.I.S from Iron Man answering our phone calls and making our coffee in offices everywhere. One can dream.

8. Photographic Processors

Photographic Processors

From analog to digital. [Image from: wallpaperstock.net]

Why: If you have an affinity for photography, and you’re thinking about opening a photo development shop, here’s why it’s a bad idea. The numbers don’t lie – 350 million photos on average are uploaded to Facebook daily, and £2.25 billion (RM13 billion) in revenue is projected to be generated in the US by 2017.

Where does that leave photographic processors? In the dust, we presume. You’d be better off offering your services to an online stock photo archive, or hustling at magazines until someone takes you on for editorial work.

9. Paralegals


Thankfully these people are really employed as stock photo models and not actual paralegals . [Image from: isango8.co.uk]


Why: Your super Asian parent has been hounding you all your life to get that law degree, so imagine the shock on their faces when you show them this. A recent Associated Press analysis put it under the microscope and found the position to be ‘obliterated by technology’. While the job might have used to be a stepping stone on the way to courtroom glory, most of its tasks have been relieved by software.

 Young and desperate lawyers are also not helping, as they are volunteering to take on a wide range of duties for the experience and connections. In other words, fear the fast and the young.

10. Stockbrokers


The speech of a stockbroker that’s so 1985. [Image from: todayfm.com]

Why: For a long time, stockbrokers, especially the ones on Wall Street, were looked upon as major moneymakers. That may all soon go away as people turn to, once again, the great big internet to strike investment gold and doing it themselves. After all, when the economy’s not so hot, people naturally have a lot less money to invest in, so why put some of that precious money towards hiring a broker when you can do it with a laptop and Wi-Fi?

Thanks to tools like Forex’s online trading and more autonomy afforded to the investors, stock brokers are rendered even more obsolete. If you are going for a degree in Investment Banking, perhaps a Financial Advisor position would fill your pockets better.

Rachel Fong


Rachel Fong

A writer by day, and voracious sitcom viewer by night (or any other hour if she could), Rachel is also an overly enthusiastic online shopper whose look has swung from wannabe retro housewife to couldn't-care-less-couch potato. She loves petting (friendly!) fluffy dogs and wants to be a well-fed sloth in the Costa Rica sanctuary when she grows up.

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