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20 jobs that will start to disappear in the next 5 years

Young male sales professional analyzing chart while holding paper at desk.
20 jobs that will start to disappear in the next 5 years. Source: Getty

We’re set for some massive jobs and skills displacement over the coming years, thanks to the adoption of various technologies, particularly AI and automation.

The World Economic Forum runs extensive research across the changing job requirements and skills demands of employers in order to determine where some of the major shifts will be.

In 2018, this research led them to make a bold prediction that they reiterated again in 2020: that is that by 2025 “the average estimated time spent by humans and machines at work will be on parity based on today’s tasks.”

In 2020, they predict that 85 million jobs may be displaced by massive shifts in how labour is divided between humans and machines by 2025.


But it’s not all doom and gloom.

More from Jobs 2021:

They also predict that 97 million new roles may emerge across the 15 industries and 26 economies it’s surveyed.

Meanwhile, as we’ve previously noted in this Future of Work series: it’s not all about tech roles replacing non-tech roles. Actually some of the most in-demand positions of the future will be people and care focussed: nursing, teaching, aged care etc.

Which areas will ‘decrease” in demand?

Before we get there, it’s important to note that this isn’t a sudden overnight shift. Predictions concerning skills and roles that are decreasing in demand often reflect trends that you’re already seeing and have experienced.

You see it as companies start to experiment with machines in service-based positions, as well as AI and automation in taking on some of the computerised tasks that humans were previously doing.

While in some cases roles disappear, in other cases technology provides opportunities for roles to be moved into new areas and or to create new management, strategy and oversight positions – particularly for those with the operational experience.

Another point to note on the roles that are ‘decreasing’ is that in some ways they parallel and relate to roles that are ‘increasing’.

There are opportunities for staff to be transitioned into other areas, taking the skills and experiences they have developed previously, as well as to move into massive growth industries.

Not vanishing, just changing

We also see parallels where a certain type of role is on the ‘decrease’ but carries very similar skills and experience needed for roles that are on the ‘increase’.

For example, while training and development specialists are on the ‘decrease’, we know that the learning and development sector is growing and expanding with opportunities – just perhaps not as it previously looked.

While ‘Human Resources specialists’ are listed by WEF as being on the decrease, other areas of HR will be on the increase: especially in managing some of the transitional aspects involved in major workforce changes.

‘Postal service clerks’ are on the decrease, but we also know that the market for package delivery is exploding, presenting numerous opportunities in the delivery sector - while much will be done by machines, a human element will also be needed.

And while ‘construction labourers’ are on the decrease, the construction industry is still projected to grow in the next five years, along with employment in this sector. It’s just that some of the more in-demand roles within construction are changing.

Finally, before looking at roles on the ‘decrease’, it’s also important to consider the growing role of contractors in the future of work: particularly as 41 per cent of companies surveyed said they expect to expand their use of them across task-specialist work.

Once again, there are opportunities here for those looking to get involved in this contracting market – while it unfortunately does not guarantee secure work, it can present stronger flexibility and immediate earnings.

Jobs to decrease in demand by 2025

These are the roles that companies surveyed said there will be a decrease in demand, according to the Future of Jobs Survey 2020, World Economic Forum:

  • Data entry clerks

  • Administrative and executive secretaries

  • Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks

  • Accountants and auditors

  • Assembly and factory workers

  • Business services and administration managers

  • Client information and customer service workers

  • General and operations managers

  • Mechanics and machinery repairers

  • Material recording and stock-keeping clerks

  • Financial analysts

  • Postal service clerks

  • Sales rep wholesale and man, tech and sci products

  • Relationship managers

  • Bank tellers and related clerks

  • Door to door sales, news and street vendors

  • Electronics and telecoms installers and repairs

  • Human resources specialists

  • Training and development specialists

  • Construction labourers

Jobs to increase in demand by 2025

  • Data analytics and scientists

  • Ai and Machines learning specialists

  • Big Data specialists

  • Digital marketing and strategy specialists

  • Process automation specialists

  • Business development professionals

  • Digital transformation specialists

  • Information security analysts

  • Software applications developers

  • Internet of things specialists

  • Project managers

  • Business services and administration managers

  • Database and network professionals

  • Robotics Engineers

  • Strategic advisors

  • Management and organisation analysts

  • FinTech Engineers

  • Mechanics and machinery repairers

  • Organisational development specialists

  • Risk management specialists

WEF’s top 15 skills for 2025

To finish, and while keeping with the WEF’s report, it’s also interesting to note their top 15 skills for 2025.

Once again, it’s not all about software development, cybersecurity and technology. Rather, it’s about creativity, problem solving, analytical thinking and innovation.

  • Analytical thinking and innovation

  • Active learning and learning strategies

  • Complex problem solving

  • Critical thinking and analysis

  • Creativity, originalist and initiative

  • Leadership and social influence

  • Technology use, monitoring and control

  • Technology design and programming

  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility

  • Reasoning, problem solving and ideation

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Trouble shooting and user experience

  • Service orientation

  • Systems analysis and evaluation

  • Persuasion and negotiation

This is part 15 of our Jobs 2021 series, where Yahoo Finance is exploring how to succeed in the next decade: earn more, lead better and win in the next decade of work.

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