Careers That Are Possibly on the Way Out…And Alternatives You Can Consider

postal worker

*A 2013 Oxford study named “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs To Computerization,” claims 47 percent of total U.S. unemployment could see job loss or a decrease in employment due to technological advancements.

Where will that leave you?

“Job seekers should follow the wisdom of hockey great Wayne Gretzky who said, ‘I skate to where the puck will be, not where it is,'” says Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and managing partner of career guidance organization Steve Langerud & Associates, LLC in Grinnell, Iowa.

The key lies in researching to explore which jobs will become obsolete and which ones are growing – and then preparing to pursue what’s poised to thrive.

If you’re worried that there’s no way to protect yourself from the inevitable loss of your livelihood to automation, there’s good news. The Oxford study also found that the more education you have, the less likely it is that your job will be computerized.

With that in mind, Yahoo Education highlighted six jobs that may be slipping away according to the study, and six high-growth alternatives to consider pursuing.

Career That’s Slipping Away: Postal Service Clerks

Likelihood of Computerization: 95 percent

Before email and online postage sites, most people couldn’t communicate without these workers. Postal service clerks are the people who sell money orders, stamps, envelopes, and other mailing-related products, along with calculating postage and answering postal questions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bleak Outlook Factor: As automated bill pay and email use increases, the subsequent decline in first-class mail volume will adversely affect employment, says the Department of Labor. Eric Miranda, a career counselor at, agrees.

“The volume of mail going through the postal system has decreased over the years with the increased use of email,” says Miranda, “That’s not going to change. More people are emailing documents – and mailing letters less.”

This may be why employment of postal service clerks is projected to decline 32 percent from 2012 to 2022, representing a loss of 139,000 jobs.*

Career That’s Here To Stay: Human Resources Managers

Likelihood of Computerization: 0.55 percent

The unsung heroes of virtually any company with more than a handful of employees, human resources managers coordinate administrative functions for an organization. They interview and hire staff, consult with top executives, and serve as a link between management and the workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Brighter Outlook Factor: One thing a computer can’t replace is human interaction, and human resources managers’ jobs are all about human interaction. “While technology will assist HR managers in doing their jobs, I don’t see a total elimination of HR staff happening anytime soon,” says Amanda Haddaway, career expert and author of “Destination Real World: Success after Graduation.”

“As compliance and employment law have taken center stage, there’s still a need for human interpretation and application that a computer just simply isn’t capable of yet.”

The statistics seem to confirm this. Employment of human resources managers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, adding 13,600 new jobs.*

Next step: Click to Find the Right Human Resources Program.

Preparing For This Career: Interested in this field? According to the Department of Labor, you’ll usually need a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration, although an alternative is to complete a bachelor’s in a different field and take courses in subjects related to human resources like organizational development, industrial psychology, or labor or industrial relations.

The Department also notes that experienced individuals with backgrounds in areas such as business management, finance, information technology, and education can fill some positions, and that for higher level jobs, a master’s degree in labor relations, human resources, or a Master of Business Administration degree are sometimes required.

Career That’s Slipping Away: Embalmer

Likelihood of Computerization: 54 percent

An embalmer is probably the last person you want to meet, and he might end up being just that. Embalmers are the professionals who prepare human remains for burial, making sure to conform with legal requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bleak Outlook Factor: Considering the fact that death is a part of every life, you might not think the need for embalmers would decrease over time. However, both the Oxford study and the Department of Labor numbers suggest decreasing opportunities for this field, and it’s only partly due to technological advancements.

It may also be people’s preference for cremation that is leading to the anticipated loss of jobs for embalmers. “While technology is not the main cause of a diminishing need for embalmers, societal trends certainly are,” says Berner. “More and more people are opting for cremation as an acceptable, if not preferred, form of interment.”

Not even an embalmer can make this profession look good. It’s already down to 4,390 workers according to May 2013 data, with an anticipated loss of 800 jobs, a 15 percent drop, from 2012 to 2022.*

Career That’s Here To Stay: Registered Nurses

Likelihood of Computerization: 0.9 percent

registered nurse

Who doesn’t feel all warm at the sight of a caring nurse? Registered nurses (RNs) care for patients, consult with doctors, and provide emotional support and advice to patients and to their family members, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Brighter Outlook Factor: Considering the amount of person-to-person interaction, and the emotional support they offer to both patients and their families, RNs should be around for a long time to come.

“There’s no substitute for the power of touch, the ability to listen, and even the capability of sharing real tears (of joy or sorrow),” says Sandra Davis, an RN with MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, which cares for pediatric and adult patients in NYC. “Nursing is far more than medical check-ups or taking temperatures and blood work. It’s conversation, guidance, interacting with family members and even providing (or helping someone access) social, emotional, spiritual, psychological support. This is particularly important for nurses who provide care in patients’ homes.”

It seems we need that support more than ever. Registered nurses are projected to add a whopping 526,800 positions, growing 19 percent, from 2012 to 2022.*

Next step: Click to Find the Right Registered Nursing Program.

Preparing For This Career: If you’re interested in preparing to pursue this career, the three usual education paths are an associate’s degree or bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program, the Department of Labor states.

There is still more to go. And some surprising ones at that. Find out what they are at Yahoo Education.

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