10 jobs that might disappear forever

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1950s secretary

During the last seven years, jobs have been disappearing all over the place. A huge number of business have closed, while others downsized dramatically in an effort to scrape through the tough times. In the first two years of the credit crisis 15,000 estate agents lost their jobs.

However, as signs of life start to appear, and many of these jobs start to return, it is becoming clear that some of these roles aren't ever going to bounce back - they are gone for good. We reveal ten occupations which don't have a bright future.


1. Skilled manufacturing jobs
The manufacturing sector has been in long-term decline for decades now. According to the Resolution Foundation, the recession accelerated the trend, with the loss of 262,000 jobs in the four years to 2012. We may see a slowdown of this decline as better times return, but things are still going to get gradually worse for these occupations. The number of skilled workers in manufacturing are forecast by the Working Futures report to shrink by 400,000 between 2010 and 2020.

2. Sewing machinist
These workers have suffered from the slump in UK manufacturing even more than most, as they simply cannot compete with low wage economies overseas. Working Futures expects the textile and clothing industries to be among the biggest losers over the next ten years.

3. Administrators and secretaries
Recruitment site Workopolis highlighted the death of the typist through assessing trends in the jobs advertised on the site. Working Futures pointed out that technological developments mean that typing is no longer such a specific skill, and is therefore considered to be part of everyone's job, while the prevalence of electronic media means filing is done automatically by the user rather than dedicated staff. They say the number of people in this sort of occupation will fall 400,000 between 2010 and 2020.

4. Switchboard Operators
These have been killed by the explosion of telecommunications development. Nowadays you simply ring the direct line or the mobile of the person you want to reach, or talk to an automated system, so the cheery voice at the end of the line is looking at obsolescence.

5. Data entry clerks
These roles have been dropping off as a result of a combination of three things. First, computer systems are increasingly designed to work with one another. This means data is entered once and used a myriad of ways rather than being input into everything. Second, some of this data entry is now done automatically, as computers can scan documents. And third, where data has to be input manually, often this is farmed out to customers who have to add their details online, which are automatically fed into the system.

6. Sales assistants
The number of people employed in shops in the UK fell by 185,000 in the four years to 2012, as more shops closed, and retailers cut back staff numbers. While a return of consumer confidence may do something to slow this destruction of jobs, the relentless march online, the growth of self-check-out, and the closing of the country's high streets will mean that sales assistants are a dying breed.

7. Fishing
Dwindling fish stocks and strict quotas on catches have meant more and more people have left the industry in the last generation. Take Grimsby, for example, in 1950 it was the busiest fishing port in the world, in 1970 more than 400 trawlers were based there, but now there are only 5. The Resolution Foundation points out that while the number of people in the fishing business in the UK fell just 4,000 in the over the four years to 2012, in percentage terms this was a significant chunk of the workforce.

8. Printers
The printing business has already seen a massive decline with the introduction of technology in the manufacturing process. Now it has seen another collapse because technology has reduced demand. Everything from newspapers and magazines to book are now read online, reducing the need for print copies. At the same time home printers have improved to a level where we can do most things at home without the help of a professional. According to PrintWeek, the number of people employed in the industry has fallen 30% in a decade.

9. Photo laboratory associate
Workopolis predicts that this role will die out altogether over the next ten years, as digital cameras decimate the number of photos we print - because we can see the disasters on screen and delete them instead of paying to print and throw them away. At the same time, home printers mean we can produce good quality prints for a lower cost and with less hassle.

10. Postal business employees
The decline of the post in the face of electronic telecommunications is already taking an enormous toll on the workforce. In the last decade the Royal Mail has cut 50,000 jobs. Now there are predictions that privatisation could bring many more. The CEO is on record as saying that the business needs to be 'sized appropriately for the traffic we have to process.'

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