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Disappearing Jobs

9 Jobs on the Decline

Overall U.S. employment is expected to go up 10 percent in the next decade but there are some professions that are actually expected to see their ranks shrink. The reasons vary – everything from outsourcing, to technology and the economy. As high school seniors start scouting colleges and thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, it’s a good idea to zoom out and take a look at the broader jobs landscape – what the are but also what jobs may be disappearing, what they pay – and what
Photo: Mike Harrington | Photodisc | Getty Images || Source: U.S. Labor Department

Overall U.S. employment is expected to go up 10 percent in the next decade but there are some professions that are actually expected to see their ranks shrink.

The reasons vary – everything from outsourcing, to technology and the economy.

As high school seniors start scouting colleges and thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, it’s a good idea to zoom out and take a look at the broader jobs landscape – what the Fastest-Growing Jobs are but also what jobs may be disappearing, what they pay – and what some of the alternatives for a degree in that field.

Before students, their parents or their student aid drop $30,000 to $100,000 or more on college, it’s important to think about what that investment will buy you: A job with good prospects – or, a ticket to the unemployment line?

You would spend time researching a major purchase like a house or car – and it’s even more important to research your career. You know, the thing that will actually pay for the house, car and other lifestyle choices.

Here are Nine Disappearing Jobs for those with bachelor’s degrees, according to the Labor Department.

By Cindy Perman
Posted 6 Oct 2010

Reporters and Correspondents

Employed in U.S.: 61,600 Change expected in next decade: -8% Average salary: $34,850 Consolidation and convergence are the top reasons the news industry is shrinking. News outlets are increasingly sharing each other’s content, which means they need fewer reporters and correspondents. The news business gets hit particularly hard during economic downturns as most revenue comes from advertising, and companies spend less on advertising during a slump. Improving technology is one bright light, which
Photo: DreamPictures | The Image | Getty Images Bank

Employed in U.S.: 61,600
Change expected in next decade: -8 percent 
Average salary: $34,850

Consolidation and convergence are the top reasons the news industry is shrinking. News outlets are increasingly sharing each other’s content, which means they need fewer reporters and correspondents.

The news business gets hit particularly hard during economic downturns, as most revenue comes from advertising, and companies spend less on advertising during a slump. Improving technology is one bright light, which could drive some employment in online or mobile divisions.

Competition is expected to be intense for jobs at large and national newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines. The best opportunities are expected to be with smaller, local news outlets, as well as for online news organizations, as technology generates demand for online reporters or mobile news units. Writers who can handle scientific or technical subjects will have an advantage.

Of course, it's worth noting that the media landscape is changing rapidly, and some of these journalism jobs may be morphing into something else—such as bloggers, for example.

For those just starting out, there are more opportunities for freelance work than full-time. Plus, it’s a big advantage to have a joint degree with journalism and another area of specialty, such as politics, economics, or biology, rather than a single degree in journalism.

As an alternative, journalism graduates are qualified for the related fields of advertising, public relations, or corporate communications.

Insurance Underwriters

Employed in U.S.: 103,000 Change expected in next decade: -4% Average salary: $56,790 Technology is the main reason that the need for insurance underwriters, the people who decide if insurance will be provided and under what terms, is shrinking as the Internet and increased use of automated underwriting software boosts worker productivity. The Internet links databases and makes information used by the underwriters more accessible and the software helps them sort through it more quickly and deter
Photo: Tetra Images | Getty Images

Employed in U.S.: 103,000
Change expected in next decade: -4 percent 
Average salary: $56,790

Technology is the main reason that the need for insurance underwriters—the people who decide if insurance will be provided and under what terms—is shrinking, as the Internet and increased use of automated underwriting software boosts worker productivity.

The Internet links databases and makes information used by the underwriters more accessible, and the software helps them sort through it more quickly to determine whether an application for insurance should be accepted or denied.

While the industry is expected to shrink, there will still be opportunities because of a high turnover rate and as insurance carriers try to return to profitability. Growth in long-term care insurance, a relatively new type of insurance, may also offer opportunities for underwriters.

Job opportunities are expected to be best for those with strong computer skills, in addition to a background in finance.

Computer Programmers

Employed in U.S.: 426,700 Change expected in next decade: -3% Average salary: $69,620 Like the media landscape, the tech terrain is changing rapidly. Some jobs are soaring, while others are victims of their own success.

Employed in U.S.: 426,700
Change expected in next decade: -3 percent 
Average salary: $69,620

Like the media landscape, the tech terrain is changing rapidly. Some jobs are soaring, while others are victims of their own success.

For example, computer software engineers, the guys who write software, are projected to be among the fastest-growing jobs, rising 32 percent over the next 10 years, while demand for computer programmers, the guys who write the instructions for a computer to use that software, is expected to shrink 3 percent in the next decade.

The reason is twofold: The growing ability for users to write and implement their own programs, as well as outsourcing the task of computer programming.

This is one of the few cases where it hurts you to be in the digital field: Because your work is digital, you can do it from anywhere in the world. Plus, the work of computer programmers requires little localized or specialized knowledge. All you have to know is the computer language.

It’s also one of the few cases where a weak economy is helpful: Some companies are hiring programmers in the U.S. in areas that were particularly hard hit by the recession.

Opportunities will be the best for those who know multiple programming languages and tools. But, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest trends and tools in order to remain competitive. Getting training and certifications can also provide a competitive advantage.

Judges

Employed in U.S.: 26,900 Change expected in next decade: -3% Average salary: $110,220 It seems counterintuitive that we’re increasingly becoming a lawsuit-happy nation and yet, the need for judges is shrinking. The reason is simple: Budget. From the federal government on down to states, cities and towns, cash-strapped governments are slashing their budgets. Making it even more difficult to land a position as a judge is competition – There are a ton of people who apply for these jobs due to the p
Photo: rubberball | Getty Images

Employed in U.S.: 26,900
Change expected in next decade: -3 percent 
Average salary: $110,220

It seems counterintuitive that we’re increasingly becoming a lawsuit-happy nation, and yet the need for judges is shrinking. The reason is simple: Budget. From the federal government on down to states, cities, and towns, cash-strapped governments are slashing their budgets.

Making it even more difficult to land a position as a judge is competition—there are a ton of people who apply for these jobs due to the prestige associated with them and the turnover rate is low. And, with the costs of going to court so high, more parties involved in disputes are opting for out-of-court arbitration.

On the plus side, demographic shifts will actually help demand for judges, as more immigrants migrate to the U.S., creating the need for more judges to deal with all the paperwork, and as the population ages, creating a need for legal review of elder-care issues.

As an alternative, many candidates for judgeships opt to go into the private sector, where the pay is significantly higher.

Chemical Engineers

Employed in U.S.: 31,700 Change expected in next decade: -2% Average salary: $84,680 Demand for engineers overall is good, with some specialties expected to see outstanding growth, but demand for chemical engineers, who work in the manufacturing of chemicals and products such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics and cement, is expected to drop 2 percent in the next decade. The biggest demand in engineering will be for biomedical engineers, with projected growth of 72 percent over the next dec
Photo: Huntstock | Getty Images

Employed in U.S.: 31,700
Change expected in next decade: -2 percent 
Average salary: $84,680

Demand for engineers overall is good, with some specialties expected to see outstanding growth, but demand for chemical engineers, who work in the manufacturing of chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, and cement, is expected to drop 2 percent in the next decade.

The biggest demand in engineering will be for biomedical engineers, with projected growth of 72 percent over the next decade, as well as civil, environmental, and petroleum engineers.

The reason some areas are seeing a decline again comes down to money: Cutbacks in defense expenditures have crimped demand in industries such as electronics and aerospace. Plus, there is an increasing trend toward contracting engineers instead of hiring them full-time. Work is also being outsourced to English-speaking engineers outside the U.S., who are often willing to work for lower wages.

In order to remain competitive, it’s imperative for engineers, such as computer programmers, to stay on top of the latest technology and trends.

Advertising and Promotions Managers

Employed in U.S.: 44,600 Change expected in next decade: -2% Average salary: $80,220 Overall employment in advertising, marketing, promotions and PR is expected to jump 13 percent in the next decade, but for those who direct a firm’s ad campaigns and promotions aimed at driving sales, prospects are expected to drop by 2 percent. The drop is largely due to the economy – and the changing landscape of the media business. Advertising and promotions are also subject to demand in the industries they’r
Photo: UpperCut Images | Gettty Images

Employed in U.S.: 44,600
Change expected in next decade: -2 percent 
Average salary: $80,220

Overall employment in advertising, marketing, promotions, and public relations is expected to jump 13 percent in the next decade, but for those who direct a firm’s ad campaigns and promotions aimed at driving sales, prospects are expected to drop by 2 percent.

The drop is largely due to the economy—and the changing landscape of the media business. Advertising and promotions are also subject to demand in the industries they’re promoting, so if an industry is hard hit by the economic slump, it will take a toll on the advertising and promotions managers that work with it.

The advertising industry is changing rapidly as the media and Internet landscape changes, making it crucial for advertising and promotions managers to be flexible and creative in harnessing new methods of promoting products.

Job opportunities will be greatest for those with a high level of creativity, plus strong communications and computer skills, and those who quickly adapt to new media, such as the Internet and social media.

Chief Executives

Employed in U.S.: 400,400 Change expected in next decade: -1% Average salary: $158,560 So, you want to be the top dog? Well, take a number. Competition for these jobs has always been tough and the fact that the number of chief executives is expected to decline in the next decade only ratchets up the competition. The economy played a role here as well – When a company goes out of business or mergers with another company, a CEO goes with it. The good news is, there will always be a need for strong
Photo: A J James | Digital Vision

Employed in U.S.: 400,400
Change expected in next decade: -1 percent 
Average salary: $158,560

So, you want to be the top dog? Well, take a number. Competition for chief executive positions has always been tough and the fact that the number of CEOs is expected to decline in the next decade only ratchets up the competition.

The economy played a role here as well—when a company goes out of business or merges with another company, the CEO is often shown the door.

The good news is, there will always be a need for strong leaders to navigate a company through the best and worst of times.

Not surprisingly, the prospects are best in the fast-growing health-care industry, while they are worst in manufacturing. Key skills include the ability to improve efficiency and keep costs low, navigate through tough times, and adapt quickly to changing technology and other trends. Knowing several languages and having an understanding of global economics is a plus.

Editors

Employed in U.S.: 129,600 Change expected in next decade: 0% Average salary: $49,990 Like the media landscape, the tech terrain is changing rapidly. Some jobs are soaring, while others are victims of their own success.
Photo: DreamPictures | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Employed in U.S.: 129,600
Change expected in next decade: Unchanged
Average salary: $49,990

Being a writer or editor is appealing to many, so the competition has always been tough. But after all the changes, layoffs, and consolidation the news industry has gone through in the past years, it’s become even tougher.

Due to the rise of Internet and social media, demand is greatest for editors with Web or multimedia experience. And it’s not just for working in a news organization, companies, advertising agencies, and nonprofits are always looking for a few skilled editors—particularly those with multimedia experience—to edit newsletters, social media promotions, etc.

And, remember: The media landscape is changing, so many of these positions may be morphing into something else that isn't quite fitting into the government's compartment for this job type.

One major downside is that media companies are increasingly moving toward freelance and contract editors (i.e., pay with no benefits).

General and Operations Managers

Employed in U.S.: 1.7 million Change expected in next decade: 0% Average salary: $91,570General and operations managers do everything from creating policies to managing personnel, purchasing and administrative services. Their duties may overlap those of the CEO. Like CEOs, the job outlook for general and operations managers is expected to be weak as consolidation and downsizing weigh on an already competitive job market. The prospects are best in the fast-growing health-care industry, while they
Photo: Eric Audras | PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections | Getty Images

Employed in U.S.: 1.7 million
Change expected in next decade: Unchanged
Average salary: $91,570

General and operations managers do everything from creating policies to managing personnel, purchasing, and administrative services. Their duties may overlap those of the chief executive.

Like CEOs, the job outlook for general and operations managers is expected to be weak, as consolidation and downsizing weigh on an already competitive job market.

The prospects are best in the fast-growing health-care industry, while they are worst in manufacturing. Key skills include the ability to improve efficiency and keep costs low, navigate through tough times, and adapt quickly to changing technology and other trends.