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10 jobs that are on the way out and what to do about it

by Yvette Maurice

Is your job on the line? It’s no secret; times are tough in the Australian job market. In a recent report, the ABC found that the number of jobs advertised had fallen for the seventh straight month, hinting at further rises in unemployment ahead.

How do you know if your role is safe? There are some jobs which have been identified as being on the radar for extinction by the Australian government. Just like blacksmiths and buggy-drivers of times past, there are many jobs that are nearing the end of their use-by date.

There is something you can do about it. Here are 10 jobs that are on the way out, and what you can do to move forward with your career regardless.

1. Bank Workers = Job Outlook “in Decline”

We’re doing more and more banking online these days, and even though some Australian banks are advertising that you can find “real people” in their branches to assist you, the customer service element of banking is sharply in decline.

Services that have been traditionally performed by tellers are now done electronically. Automatic teller machines are being used more frequently and tellers are only needed for complex transactions. A bank teller needs to have very good attention to detail and they often have to learn about a particular banking product that their company offers. They also generally need to be good with people and customer service.

What could you do instead? Bank workers might enjoy a role in Accounting and Finance. Offering similar skills to those required by tellers, there are a range of varied positions in many different industries. An entry-level accounting or BAS course could be completed in as little as six or 12 months.

2. Filing and Registry Workers = Job Outlook “Slight Decline”

We’re not using paper files as much anymore; with some school leavers not having that many opportunities to even use a pen these days. Environmental factors also come into play, with lots of businesses choosing to limit the amount of paper files that they keep or print.

It’s becoming less and less important for most businesses to employ someone just to file documents as technology has increased; most workers are able to perform this function themselves. Keeping copies of important documents in hard copy is still a necessary occurrence in many cases, but more often than not, having digital copies of documents is more time and space efficient. Filing workers need to have great organisation skills and be good with systems and dealing with different types of people and management levels.

What could you do instead? People who have been employed as filing or registry workers might be well suited to a career in Business Administration. There are many exciting opportunities out there for people with nationally accredited skills, including choosing areas of specialty such as occupational health and safety, IT or finance.

3. Manufacturers = Job Outlook “in Decline”

In Australia, we are seeing more and more manufacturing moving overseas. It’s well understood that Australia is a high wage country, and has been since the 1820s. After Federation, high wages were cemented in place by reformers and trade unions; Australian governments were among the first to grant age pensions and other welfare benefits as well.

The downside is that Australian manufacturing has become uncompetitive against nations whose manufacturers “carried lighter burdens”. Chesty Bonds, King Gee and Hard Yakka have joined “a conga line of Aussie brands exiting the country” leaving many individuals jobless.

What could you do instead?  Perhaps you might consider doing a course in Information Technology? If you’re good with specialist equipment and have a creative mind, you might enjoy learning about creating web pages, capturing digital images and operating database applications. There are many careers where IT skills come in handy, and studying this discipline could make you more employable in the long term.

4. Data Entry/Keyboard Operators = Job Outlook “in Decline”

Over the last two decades, the amount of data generated has grown, but these days there is less need for a person to translate, transfer or manipulate this data, as a lot of this is now done automatically. Another reason for the drop in employment is the fact that where companies still use data entry operators, they may outsource this function to overseas where wages are lower.

For those people who are thinking about a job in this field, or for those who are currently employed in this line of work, contemplate expanding your skill-set to encompass other valuable office skills.

What could you do instead?  Have you considered Business and Management as an option? There are dozens of courses in areas such as team leadership, office management and project management that you might find exciting and dynamic. By having more strings to your bow, you could ensure you remain employable for many years to come.

5. Postal Worker / Mail Sorter = Job Outlook “in Moderate Decline”

The number of people who are employed in positions where they sort and distribute mail has sharply declined. More mail these days is electronic, so there is a drop in the amount of paper mail being collated in post offices.

Today’s postal workers have new technologies to allow more work to be done with fewer people, meaning that there is a declining employment rate. Postal workers need to be physically fit, with a good comprehension of language and numbers, as well as being good with people and the chain of command.

What could you do instead?  People who are currently working as postal workers might find some interesting courses to study in the area of Community Services. This broad area covers aged and community care, children’s services, counseling and life coaching. It could be a good fit for those people who love working around others and enjoy providing a service.

6. Photographic Developers and Printers = Job Outlook “in Decline”

When is the last time you had a photo printed by a professional? With the proliferation of digital media, it’s becoming less and less common for people to have their photos developed the traditional way. The same goes for printed publications, as more and more media companies move their operations to concentrate on online, the demand for printing is not what it was.

This is a specialised industry which requires workers to have a specific skill set and good understanding of technologies which continue to develop, and yet become more outdated. Photo processors who used to run machines in retail stores as well as in processing centres, are becoming obsolete.

What could you do instead? Photographers need to have an interest in design and creative thinking, as well as business planning and marketing. A career in Design or Freelance Photography might be appealing, where you could explore your love of graphics, interiors, photography or many other exciting careers.

7. Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers = Job Outlook “in Moderate Decline”

The implementation of labour saving machinery as well as the changing demand for goods has lead to a decline in these sorts of roles. There is also significant competition from overseas where wages are lower.

If you are employed as a cutter, puncher, or press machine worker, it’s likely that you have some classroom training in your chosen area as well as a high-school education at a minimum. Often people who work in these fields have great maths and computer knowledge and may oversee or manage other workers.

What could you do instead?  Employees with these skills might find that they are suited to roles such as Automotive Repairs or even Locksmithing. There are many levels of study available and people who are great with their hands may find that their skills are put to good use in these interesting and lucrative industries.

8. Clothing Trades Workers = Job Outlook “Slight Decline”

If you work in textiles or the clothing trade, you may have already felt the pinch. Australian industries have been increasing their production and aiming to contain costs, often taking lots of their business and manufacturing overseas.

Textiles themselves have also changed. These days many modern textiles, sewing and manufacturing machines require less production and processing, meaning that more and more jobs are becoming obsolete.

If you have been working in the clothing trade your skills may have been learned on-the-job, but manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude are valuable skills as well.

What could you do instead?  If you love clothing and textiles, have you considered a job in Pattern Making or Fashion Design? There are lots of great options for people with a creative spirit who might like to expand their knowledge of the textile industry. From general interest courses to Advanced Diplomas, there’s a course to suit all levels of experience.

9. Printers = Job Outlook “in Decline”

Less is being printed these days and the size of printing departments is expected to decline because of improvements in printing technology.

Usually those who work in the press have received their training on the job, but with the advent of digital technology, there are fewer positions than there were. As the media market continues to trend online, and because of the lax advertising markets and cost of printing on paper, this is one of those jobs that will continue to decline.

In Australia, this is a very small area of occupation, with less than 4000 jobs held nation-wide last year. The Job Outlook government website states that “the mix of industries employing binders, finishers and screen printers is not favourable for employment growth prospects.”

What could you do instead?  If you are one of the people who work in this industry, or its associated industries, you might consider becoming a Small Business Manager. There are great courses available to allow you to hone your management, organisation and planning skills and to take those skills into many exciting career opportunities.

10. TV and Radio Presenters = Job Outlook “in Decline”

It’s sad but true: numbers of announcers and presenters in radio and TV broadcasting are declining. This is due to less localisation and more networking of shows and programs as well as the fact that these jobs are often highly in demand, meaning there is lots of competition for the roles that remain.

After the GFC in 2008, many media corporations were forced to tighten their belts, and due to the many changes in the way that the population now consumes media, lots of the traditional broadcasting roles are being cut back or diversified so that one person is now doing the work of three prior roles.

With some evidence suggesting that wages for these roles have not grown much in the last 10 years, it may be time for people in these positions to consider their options to remain employed into the next decade.

What could you do instead?  Don’t despair! There are many other places and positions where you might be able to indulge in your love of media and news. Consider doing a course in Freelance Journalism and learn the skills to work for yourself or in many exciting industries.

A better career tomorrow

Even though not all jobs have a permanent shelf life, remember that you do have many skills which you will carry with you, no matter where you go. Make a list of all your talents, professional and otherwise, and hone this list down to your top three skills. Consider your interests and what you’ve always wanted to delve into. Study is a great way to explore your options and to connect with people in the industries or areas that you are excited by.

Note: All statistics are from the Job Outlook Australian Government website.

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