Future events are uncertain, and detailed information about times to come is impossible. But we can use current trends, technological innovation, and reliable information to predict likely scenarios. We can use it to discover industries and jobs that will disappear due to technology.
During most of my career, this is what I did while working for global airlines. It worked fine — most of the time we were right. Predictions saved considerable money for these companies.
Saving money. In that lives the biggest benefit of futuristic reflections. Predictions are useful when we are planning our next investment or career choice.
The billionaire Bill Gates wrote a book calledThe Road Aheadtwenty-six years ago. There he predicts the impact of the Personal Computer revolution. Many of these predictions materialized. In the same book, there is also a phrase that stands true to this time.
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.
Considering the technological, socio-economical, and environmental changes of the next years, here is the list of 4 industries and jobs that will disappear due to technology (or become niche) before 2030.
This form of marketing will fade due to automation, and also because it is often annoying and intrusive.
In 2017, the Guardian published an article predicting which jobs would disappear. Telemarketing had a 99% chance to be fully automated in 15 years.
Nearly 70% of B2B buyers go online to search for business solutions instead of waiting for a call. Today, if you call up a prospect with an offer, the chances of making a sale are less than 5%. The majority will hang up the phone.
There are still over 8 thousand telemarketing companies in the USA, but the effectiveness of most of them is questionable. Besides, their business is changing from offering products to services like credit collection.
Therefore, instead of a telemarketing operator interrupting your dinner to offer you a new credit card, soon we will only receive a call if we forget to pay for the credit card company.
As with telemarketing, staffed retail will also fade because of increasing automation.
Take a look at the picture of any supermarket 10 years ago and compare it with the same place right now. Chances are that the number of self-checkouts at least doubled, reducing the need for human cashiers. As a result, it’s been estimated that the self-serve kiosk industry will be worth $34 billion (£27.5bn) by 2023.
While the demise of the cashier is not a secret (it is one of the 4 professions that will disappear in the near future), other retail-associated jobs are at risk, like sellers or cleaners.
Places like the automated stores from Amazon Go will be everywhere. In fact, Amazon themselves declared they plan to expand from the current 30 non-staffed stores to over 3000. This plan, coming from a company that earned $300 million just by developing a button, looks plausible.
Customers who have the Amazon Go app just need to enter the store, grab whatever they want and walk out with the items. Later, their account is charged.
Of course, few retail sectors will remain staffed. While people do not need help to buy their groceries, niche industries like luxury stores will opt for the personal touch of sales assistants.
A few months ago, I asked all my friends in our chat group when was the last time they visited a physical bank agency. Of the 8 respondents (yes, not an enormous sample size, I know), only one answered less than 1 month. On average, the last time they stepped into a bank was 3 to 4 months ago.
Ask yourself the same question. Ask your friends and family too. There are exceptional cases still requiring the physical presence in a bank agency, like a few businesses or people who are not tech-savvy enough, but they are becoming a diminutive minority.
Finance leaders warned that those in customer service, middle and back-office roles likely will lose their places to computers soon. IHS Markit estimates that 1.3 million bank workers in the United States will be affected, and 500,000 in the United Kingdom.
A report from GP Bullhound revealed that 91% of people prefer to use an app than go into a branch. That includes me and most of my social circle. Unless you feel some peculiar pleasure by waiting in lines (I will not judge), I bet you prefer to make bank payments remotely instead of driving to the local branch.
Of all the sectors in this article, if there is one that I bet will disappear not before 2030, but even before 2025, are travel agencies. Or at least the ordinary travel agency.
Besides all the data (see more below), I base this guess on my observation as a Hotelier. Only 4 years ago we still had a considerable share of our guests coming from travel agents. Today they are rare.
Most people make their reservations using portals like Booking.com, Hostelworld.com, Airbnb.com. Others book direct, using the resources from Google Hotels or TripAdvisor. Even elders do that now.
In 2017, a report from Local Data Company (LDC) revealed that 700 brick-and-mortar travel agencies closed up shop in the UK alone. The research found that the biggest reason is the competition from OTAs (online travel agencies)and short-term rental companies such as Airbnb.
A few travel agencies will survive, mostly in niches like extreme-sports adventure travel or group holidays for pensioners. Or to travel out of the earth, like the nascent but booming industry of space tourism. For that, you will need a travel agency since there are no rooms at the International Space Station available at Airbnb.
In your opinion, what are the other industries and jobs that will disappear due to technology in this decade? Remember to consider economic trends like inflation. Inflationary cycles can kill some businesses but at the same time benefit entire sectors.
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