Workopolis research: Ten jobs that will not exist ten years from now

Industry News & Insights 2013 Year in Review: Jobs that won't exist 10 years from now

In our previous Thinkopolis labour report, we featured a list of ten career paths than didn’t exist ten years ago. Now, through tracking online job posting titles on Workopolis, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 job titles that appeared more frequently in 2013, and 5 previously common job titles that have been appearing less frequently.

This gives us a sense of where employment may be heading in the year ahead and beyond. Which also has led us to this time predict ten jobs that will no longer exist ten years from now.

Interestingly, one job makes both lists. It didn’t exist a decade ago – and will cease to exist a decade from now. That just goes to show how fast trends and technologies can change the job market.

5 fast growing job titles on Workopolis

Businesses are trying to expand, and to expand they need customers. While Canada’s economy is on the upswing, consumer confidence remains tepid. In a time when most Canadians are watching their wallets, employers are looking for skilled sales people. Frequent postings for sales representatives could be a sign that employers are getting more optimistic about the future, and are willing to invest in a solid sales force.

The need for financial representatives may also stem from an uncertain economic future. Canadians unsure of their pensions may seek professional advice as they plan for retirement. This has created opportunities for financial advisors, debt managers, and other fiscal planners.

  • Financial Advisor
  • Representative Financial Service
  • Field Sales Representative
  • Sales Associate
  • Social Worker

5 fast declining job titles on Workopolis

  • People Greeter
  • Photo Laboratory Associate
  • Head Cashier
  • Data Entry Clerk
  • Courier

Vanishing vocations: the top ten jobs that won’t exist in ten years

If you’ve been in a taxi lately you’ll notice many drivers are accepting calls over a smartphone app instead of a dispatcher through a CB radio. In ten years taxi dispatchers, much like travel agents, may find themselves in an obsolete profession. Based on trending technology and consumer preferences, we’ve developed a list of jobs that may go the way of lamplighters and elevator operators.

With the growing popularity of self-checkout services, retail cashiers may find
themselves stocking shelves sometime in the near future. Other customer service positions such as video store clerks and tollbooth collectors may also evaporate.

Soon a generation of young professionals who’ve grown up with Twitter and Facebook as part of their daily lives will be entering the job market. With this glut of savvy young online communicators looking for work, social media skills will just become expected communication competencies, like reading and writing, rather than unique areas of expertise. This will end the need for social media experts.

Ten jobs that won’t exist in ten years

  • Social Media Expert
  • Taxi Dispatcher
  • Toll Booth Operator
  • Retail Cashier
  • Word Processor / Typist
  • Switchboard Operator
  • Photo Finisher
  • Postal Worker
  • Video Store Clerk
  • Print Journalist

You can read the full Thinkopolis year-in-review report and view the infographic at


Peter Harris
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  • JP

    One key reason why Financial advisor opening rank in the top 5 is largely due to the fact that the first year washout rate for rookies is in excess of 90%. So if you take one of those posts without a large network of people willing to hire you before you even start, odds are you will be looking for work again in the next year.

  • Kathleen Onhasey Andersen

    I don’t think video store clerk will ever go away.

    • dgl

      Have you ever seen a Red box

      • Wumingren

        Forget Red Box, we’ve got Netflix and Hulu, and other services, so people don’t even have to leave home. With home theater and surround sound, the experience is even better than going to a movie theater, where you have to deal with talkers, coughers, cell phones, etc., not to mention expensive popcorn, uncomfortable chairs, weird smells, and no “pause” button for those little necessities in life.

    • Chuck Vogel

      then why did Blockbuster and other video chains close up shop?

    • Darcy Hudjik

      They are becoming fewer and fewer with each passing year, Kathleen. Have you heard of NetFlix?

      • Kathleen Onhasey Andersen

        Yes I have heard of Netflix but have consistently heard that my store has more newer titles.

  • Derek DeVries

    The idea of a “glut of savvy young online communicators” entering the workforce is hilarious. The vast majority of them are actually terrible at using social media in a business context because they only know how to use it for their own purposes and in their own voice (with no overarching strategy and zero attention to measurement and ideation). Worse yet, they only have experience using one or two platforms and spend little time learning about new tools.

    The same goes for writing; today we have more opportunities to write (and likely more education in writing) than at any other time in history and yet young professionals by and large are terrible writers. Access to more opportunities to write didn’t eliminate “Writing” as a vocation – it actually made it more important.

    If anything is going to eliminate social media it will be the evolution of the technology to something else. Fortunately social media experts are fast learners (a core competency in a field where the status quo doesn’t exist) – so they’ll be on their way to carving out a way to add value there.

    • Andy Hollandbeck

      Are you writing from a position of knowledge, experience and hard data? Or is your comment just a reflection of the standard pessimism about future generations that infects most of us as we grow older and more jaded?

      As far as being “terrible at using social media in a business context” is concerned, businesses will be marketing to those same people, so those “savvy young online communicators” will be perfectly primed to to use social media the way their peers — which is to say, their audience — use social media. Your supposed shortcoming is actually a boon.

  • Joe

    Cmon guys, the typist/word processor and switchboard operators became extinct way back in the 90’s in developing countries….where ironically labor costs were one tenth those of developed countries….and to imagine these jobs still exists…beats any logic…

    • Wumingren

      The saddest thing is that there are so many self-published books and blogs that never get proofread by an experienced editor. I am becoming more and more disgusted with the poorly written materials we read today. Even the major newspapers are failing to correct the stupid misuse of words like “then/than,” “passed/past,” and too many others to mention here.

    • Chris Edgar

      I’m a virtual assistant, with many, many years of experience as a typist, word processor and secretary. I learned how to format letters and other documents back in the day of manual typewriters – count the letters in your heading and backspace from the centre of the page, etc. Perhaps the “rules” of document set-up have gone out the window, but a properly formatted document will always look more professional than one that isn’t, and if you’re trying to put forward a professional image for yourself or your business, you should use every advantage you can.

      As a secretary, I was trained to make sure the document I put on the boss’s desk for signature was letter-perfect – proofed and edited.

      Relying on your computer to correct your grammar, spelling and document set-up is, in my opinion, foolish. I’ve corrected many errors that have managed to get past the “eagle eye” of my clients’ computer programs.

  • bingbingwa

    I was hoping one of the jobs to disappear would be feminist.

    • Wumingren

      Yes, that and “community organizer.”

    • smscamp

      That would involve elimination of these Liberal Arts educational jobs, like Professors, particularly in Wimins/Wymyns programs
      Else, unions having to represent all their due payers, not just a select few.
      Like it or not, most Lesbian related employment are staffed by feminists
      Finally, happy male bashing day on Dec 6, the day Marc Lepine (in his mind) killed feminists, which feminists bullied politicians to make it a day involving the mourning of domestic violence, but only if it involves male violence against women.
      Would they take a similar act of female violence against children and turn it into an act of female bashing/misogyny by having a day of mourning involving only female violence against children?

    • Mo86

      HA! I wish!

  • Shirley5412

    a local restaurant now takes orders only by iphones, or by facebook at home or by laptop they dont use waitresses or barstaff anymore on a full time basis, lots of employees are a thing of the past there, they have one person who has your drink ready when you sit and your order is cooking. The chef and him handle the odd walk in who hasnt already ordered.

    • Bill Murphy

      Excellent love this. I know Applebees is implementing a lot of automated tablet ordering etc.

  • Susan Joseph

    Stop putting in self serve cash outs then may there would be a need for cashiers.

    • Sayidh Al yankovich

      stop making idiotic comments, then maybe we won’t think you are an idiot.

      particularly the one about “effing kill you asshole”

      that is going to buy you a whole lot of hurt my retarded friend.

  • John B Liedtke

    Completely wrong about print journalist. As long as there is man there will be paper. We are a tactile sentient being. We relate to touch. Good journalism will always prevail.

    • The300Spartans

      Where do we have good journalism here today. The standard of journalism on TV and in the big newspapers all sucks!

    • Anna Wild

      Out of the more than 20 people who graduated from my journalism degree program, only 2 or 3 are working in print journalism, and all of them have had to relocate to small towns in the middle of nowhere to work at the bi-weekly locals for very meagre wages. Facebook, Twitter and blogs didn’t exist when I entered the program. When I graduated in 2010, online media had completed its almost full takeover of the industry. It’s still quite easy to get a job in journalism (print or otherwise) as I have had many. The problem is getting paid…at all, let alone enough to live on. To this date, the only articles I’ve ever been paid for were for a student-run school newspaper…at $10.00 a piece. There may always be some form of print journalism, but never enough positions available to stake your life on. I quit my job as a travel agent for the same reason.

  • MrRtd

    I don’t think retail cashiers are going to disappear in 10 years time, that would suggest every retailer is going to switch over to self-serve checkouts, and a cashless environment.

    • Bill Murphy

      Soon maybe a little more than 10 years for common place, but we will scan a product, pay on our mobile device, and walk out of the store. No need for current self checkout or cashier. Online shopping is also continuing to grow. Cashiers will be minimal or gone in this time.

      • tongster

        …except if it’s for a produce store. I can’t see how buying vegetables and clothing online will become the norm.

        • Darcy Hudjik

          I have some friends that buy their organic produce that way.

      • Darcy Hudjik

        Bill, if you mean the setup like the Apple stores have, i tend to agree. In fact,they give you the potion of an electronic or paper receipt, which I find to be rather innovative.

  • The300Spartans

    What perplexes me more are not the jobs that won’t exist but the senior jobs in AccountingIT and other professions that have been outsourced to places like India, remember the Royal Bank fiasco! If theses senior jobs keep disappearing we are screwed and it’s time Canadians stared taking notice of this and doing something about it!

    • The300Spartans

      PS my concern is also how much of our confidential data that has gone offshore too!

      • Doug Champigny

        “confidential data”? That term became obsolete in the 90’s too…

    • LaszloZoltan

      worried about senior jobs now hmmmm ? well it’s a bit late for that, you should have worried about outsourcing long before it got to you, now the birds have come home to roost and all I can say is you earned it.

      • The300Spartans

        Actually “Genius” the focus of my concerns is with the younger folks coming up today in Canada in the various professions who are going to get screwed over. I’m a CPA, CMA, FCMA (UK), CGMA and I have no worries. I retired as a CFO from my company on my terms at age 58, as I had worked for 40 years and decided to call it quits to do things that I wanted to do with my wife and family. I have more than enough RRSPs and other pension plans saved up to keep me comfortable until I go to the Big Accounting Office in the Sky! However, you are correct about one thing I did earn it, my retirement that is. I worked damned hard for 40 years and saved up carefully, now I can enjoy my retirement years. However, I still feel bad for the kids starting out who will, as we are now seeing, are having huge problems getting reasonable jobs or salaries and it will get much worse as the jobs ebb out of Canada!

  • PhilPSDP

    I think the list is hilarious! As long as there are toll roads there will be toll booth operators, more than one of my local stores installed retail self-serve a few years ago and have since removed them because of too many reliability issues, I could probably walk the entire list and only agree with the first entry, even that is a reach, there’s a big gap between use and knowledge

    • TruthSayer42

      Many toll roads are going electronic. Either you have a transponder, or they take a photo of your license plate and send you a bill. Might keep the postal worker working for a little longer,,,,,,

  • JosephGuindi

    I find the list of disappearing professions interesting. But I wonder, will print journalists really disappear? Will newsstands also disappear? There are less people working in it than before, but it is also equally possible that it will just bottom-out.

    Also, I’m not sure that a cashier will disappear. In supermarkets, yes. But in all of retail? Department stores, specialised shops, small convenience stores, not sure. But for sure, with automation on one side and online shopping on the other side, being a cashier is in decline.

    If anything, the list highlights how much more important than ever it is to learn a suitable trade or profession, more than just a high school diploma or a generic university degree in any number of non-career-leading majors. I find it equally interesting how many people are studying particular fields that have essentially no career prospects whatsoever and still manage to complain about how ‘unfair’ the job market is upon graduation. Not everybody is suited to be a plumber, electrician, welder and so on, but these folks are graduating with better career prospects than ever. It’s good to find your calling, but it’s more valuable to be earning a living. It’s great when both coincide.

    • Darcy Hudjik

      Hohesc, that’s so true!
      I’ve been upgrading my job skills via various MOOCs to help myself keep current while working part time and looking for work. The great thing about them is that the courses can be worked around your work schedule and responsibilities, not the other way around. Another great thing about them is that they are free, which is incredibly helpful when you’re unemployed.

  • Jimbobogie

    The problem is that the changing face of the economy has “lapped” our educational systems and jobs that may have looked promising when a student enrolled at university may either be:
    1. Obsolete
    2. In India
    …by the time the student graduates. Unfortunately, Global Free Trade does not include the people whose jobs have been “Globally Free-Traded”. Hint to the folks in Seattle-I suggest you pray that Bill Gates lives to be 100, because the day he dies, Seattle will cease to exist-Starbucks can only take you so far. Frankly, a great number of “Major” North American cities will be rendered ghost towns within the next 50 years.
    The jobs in the “New” North American economy aren’t labour-intensive…it’s not going to be pretty…

    • The300Spartans

      Agree 100% as professional jobs continue to ebb offshore to places like India, the Philippines and South America. Lots of US cities are now jobless wastlelands and we are seeing it happen now in Canada too!

  • Matthew

    I cannot say that I have a prediction for what will and will not exist in 10 years, but I find it hard to believe that some of these will be gone in 10 years.

    1: Social Media Experts will always be required; however, I do not disagree that it might become expected for people to have these skills. We will always need people who can keep on top of the latest developments and properly engage the audience. You cannot tell me that some random 16 year old off the streets can engage the target audience as well as an educated and trained professional. I would have to say, maybe the title of “Social Media Expert” will not exist, but the actual duties of the social media expert will still exist.

    2: Retail Cashiers are already on the way out, which makes such a prediction feasible; however, I cannot say that I like the idea! Those self checkout machines are the most annoying things and they consume far more time than having a cashier help. With that said, I highly doubt small businesses will replace the cashier with a machine. Can you really see yourself walking into a convenience store and never having someone there to run the cash register? It would seem like a waste to have someone in the store if they are not serving customers as well…i.e. I can see Retail Cashiers being less common in 10 years, I cannot see them being completely non-existent.

    I also find it hard to believe that Postal Workers and Print Journalists will be gone in 10 years, but I do not have sufficient data to really argue the conclusion.

  • Hami Asni

    So much Hate; a shame

  • The300Spartans

    Actually “Genius” the focus of my concerns is with the younger folks coming up today in Canada in the various professions who are going to get screwed over. I’m a CPA, CMA, FCMA (UK), CGMA and I have no worries. I retired as a CFO from my company on my terms at age 58, as I had worked for 40 years and decided to call it quits to do things that I wanted to do with my wife and family. I have more than enough RRSPs and other pension plans saved up to keep me comfortable until I go to the Big Accounting Office in the Sky! However, you are correct about one thing I did earn it, my retirement that is. I worked damned hard for 40 years and saved up carefully, now I can enjoy my retirement years. However, I still feel bad for the kids starting out who will, as we are now seeing, are having huge problems getting reasonable jobs or salaries and it will get much worse as the jobs ebb out of Canada!

  • hmbrown

    I don’t think Retail Cashier will disappear. I understand many retailers with self-checkout are removing that option from their locations because it slows down the process. I know from my experience (and am certain many of you are, too) that watching some one use the self-checkout can be agonizing. You want to walk over and yell, ‘You don’t need to read every screen! You just have scan! Scan and pay! The bar code!”

  • Fran Curic

    Our natural resources define our technologies and our jobs. I
    do not see these 10 jobs disappearing. I see these jobs going into more specialized
    areas, areas that are influenced by technology, economy, and natural resources.
    We will always have a need for people to do these jobs, but not in the same
    business set up and not doing exactly the same work. Will still have a large
    population of people who do not understand or use technology. We will always
    have a given number of people who will not have the resources or luxuries of
    having certain technologies available to them.

  • Chilli56

    The idea of automated check outs is interesting however I cannot see that cashiers will completly vanish. Automated check outs are good for saving money on staff but extremely poor when it comes to monitoring stock shrinkage. It is very easy to slip several items through one without paying, in fact several stores in the US have removed them for this reason.

    • TruthSayer42

      Parcel delivery will be taken over by drones, all ready working on that! New jobs coming up, drone pilot, drone builder, drone repair,,,,,

  • Mo86

    Word Processor / Typist
    Looks like I’m in big trouble.

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  • ooomatrix

    What about recruiting agencies???

  • hohesc

    That’s great Darcy. I’ve found that the worst thing to be doing when you’re unemployed is to stay home and look for work. It’s much better to be doing precisely what you’re doing: keeping busy.

    The two most dangerous things that can happen when looking for work is either (a) not looking enough or (b) looking too much and then giving up. It’s much better to have something useful occupying your time and/or having money coming in. Part-time work or temping not only brings in cash but opens up doors you would have never had. I got my first real job out of university by temping as a secretary in a nuclear facility.

    When keeping yourself busy, you just have to make sure to remember your ultimate goal, and include looking for work in your daily routine, like setting aside a couple of hours every day. I’ve gone through this process three times in my life so far. It’s never easy, but the important thing to remember is that most everybody goes through it, even when sometimes one feels alone in the world going through it.

    The 2nd and 3rd time I went through it, it made me feel better to know that it always worked out in the end.

    Good luck

  • Christine

    How about community worker? is this also going to die?