10 Jobs that are on the Way Out: Are You at Risk?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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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