Futureless occupations are jobs that will be replaced by technology, among other things, in the future. To keep pace with change, employers can respond by providing training for employees and education for young people.

There is no question that many jobs that were considered safe for many years will disappear in the coming years. It is just not easy to predict how many and when exactly, especially since the Corona pandemic has spun the job merry-go-round again.

Some professions that were considered to have no future a long time ago have suddenly become crisis-proof and thus attractive again, at least in the medium term. In other professions that were considered to have no future, the development has even accelerated. Job cuts could happen much sooner than expected before the pandemic.

Table of contents
Futureless professions? Technological change is to blame
Almost 50 percent of jobs could disappear
Possible solutions to prevent rising unemployment rates
45 percent of young people dream of futureless professions
Parents and teachers are the most important role models for children
Top ten: These jobs could soon no longer exist
Which occupations will remain?
Other professions with future prospects
Employers: Meeting the new challenges with human resources development
Conclusion: Educate people about jobs with no future and show them new opportunities.
Futureless professions? Technological change is to blame
Basically, however, the reasons for the disappearance of jobs are not only to be found in the crisis-related changes in the market. Developments that have been happening for years and decades will also cause jobs to disappear in the future:

Technological development
Industry 4.0
Artificial intelligence
Almost 50 percent of jobs could disappear
Many studies have examined which and how many jobs will fall victim to the changing economic world in the future. Before the pandemic, the McKinsey Global Institute spoke of 800 million jobs being lost worldwide by 2030 due to the consequences of automation. The University of Oxford also says in a study that around 47 percent of jobs will disappear in the next two decades. 45 percent of jobs could soon be taken over by machines.

Changes must also be expected in the remaining jobs. According to the study by the University of Oxford, 30 per cent of the essential work steps could be automated in about 60 per cent of jobs. However, full automation is only possible in five percent of all jobs. Nevertheless, this change should be taken seriously, as it threatens many jobs.

There are also opportunities in change
This change naturally harbours many dangers, but there are also opportunities in it. After all, where something old is eliminated, space for something new is created. The fact that the 20 million baby boomers born in the 1950s and 1960s are gradually retiring will have an even greater impact on the labour market than is already the case. The next generation is much more digital and open to change.

The main reason why some professions will no longer have a perspective in the future is technological developments. Software and machines are taking over the work that people used to do and in many industries the cuts are already noticeable.

Examples of dematerialisation: smartphone instead of paper
A good example of this is the printing of event tickets. Since these are predominantly only issued digitally and sent by email or QR code, the need for printers, toner and paper decreases. The production of these products becomes redundant, which affects the people who work at printer, toner or paper manufacturers. They are gradually losing their jobs.

Dematerialisation is advancing in everyday working life. ©gzorgz Adobe-Stock
This dematerialisation can be found in many areas where computers or smartphones have now taken over. Apps replace timetables or maps, and smartphones are now sufficient for scanning documents. Even banks, which are responsible for printing cash, will be affected by dematerialisation. When card payments replace cash, at least for the most part, they will be needed less. The Corona pandemic has massively accelerated this development.

Autonomous driving instead of humans behind the wheel
Autonomous driving is also a frequently cited example. When software takes over the steering of the car, the human behind the wheel becomes almost superfluous. In Tesla vehicles, the autonomous driving function is already installed as standard and other brands are following suit.

Tests and studies on autonomous driving have been going on for a long time, so the topic is anything but science fiction. It is already a reality and will gradually permeate all areas. Jobs as lorry drivers or bus drivers will therefore sooner or later become superfluous and the members of these occupational groups will lose their jobs.

Dematerialisation: the entire value chain is affected
It can be assumed that more jobs will be lost than new ones will be added. After all, dematerialisation affects the entire value chain and makes it clear that the jobs that are eliminated cannot simply be replaced.

Possible solutions to prevent rising unemployment rates
For a stable economy and further growth, it is important to think of solutions. How can shortfalls be compensated for and how can rising unemployment rates be prevented? There are several ideas:

The introduction of an unconditional basic income.
A digital or machine tax to finance the unconditional basic income.
Further training so that employers can meet the new challenges in the workplace.
New educational opportunities for the next generations to be able to respond to the changing conditions in the world of work with appropriate training.
Highly qualified staff are also affected
What seems so frightening about this change is that it can affect all job profiles and also highly skilled personnel. Not only assembly line workers or people with a low level of education are at risk. These professions can also be affected:

Tax consultants
In the future, their jobs can also be done by algorithms. However, a certain human component and the high degree of specialisation are points that make the change not so easy for many jobs. This could ensure that more jobs remain after all than is currently thought.

45 percent of young people dream of jobs with no future
The problem starts at a young age. Almost half of the 15-year-olds dream of a job that is dying out and could soon be eliminated due to automation in many areas. This is the conclusion reached by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) within the framework of a Pisa evaluation on the occupational ideas that young people have in the 21st century.

45 percent of young people, when asked about their career aspirations, name occupations that could be eliminated in ten to 15 years. This represents an enormous discrepancy with the fact that Germany will be even more affected by change than other industrialised countries.

As a country with a lot of industrial production, digitalisation and artificial intelligence will increasingly penetrate the various occupational groups, if they are not already there. They stand in contrast to an emerging generation that, according to OECD education researchers, sees itself as almost half in precisely these professions.

Low educational level of the parental home favours futureless career aspirations
Many young people envision their future in prestigious occupations that have long been considered secure but are now severely affected by change and may become obsolete in the future. These include:

Office clerk
Motor vehicle or industrial mechanic
Retail salesperson
Especially young people who come from a family with a low level of education do not consider the upcoming change in their career aspirations. Their educational ambitions are significantly lower and only one in three pupils who do not come from a privileged household aspires to a university degree.

Many pupils lack prospects
12 percent of girls and 18 percent of boys lack the belief that they will complete their school careers. There is also a lack of belief in the great economic career due to various circumstances:

Social injustice
Exclusion due to ethnicity or migration background
Outdated gender roles
At this point, there is still a lot of need for action in order to keep up with the ongoing change.

Careers are not only possible through studies, but also through training
In educated households, almost three-quarters of students aspire to a university degree. What makes the German education system special, however, is that good career prospects can come not only from a degree but also from an apprenticeship.

To say that only a degree leads to a good career and that apprentices do not have these opportunities is therefore wrong. Nevertheless, the number of apprentices in Germany is constantly declining and more and more students are opting for academic education. The latter attracts with less rigid structures as well as above-average pay.

But boys and girls from highly educated homes who aspire to work as lawyers or tax consultants must also keep in mind the poor prospects for these professions.

Parents and teachers are the most important role models for children
Parents have an important role to play when it comes to children’s career aspirations. They are the greatest identifiers and role models for children, and what they exemplify often serves as orientation for children. Teachers also have a role as role models for their pupils. It should be their task to consider and educate about the topic of professions, digitalisation and technological change.

Teachers take on an important role model function when it comes to future job choices. © Jacob Lund Adobe-Stock
Parents are often keen for their children to “learn something decent with a future”. However, this very future has changed a lot in the last two decades due to technologisation and digitalisation.

A number of years have passed since parents started their careers and if they do not keep their finger on the pulse of developments, it will be difficult to pass this on to their children. One of the tasks of schools is to provide career guidance and to look at different professions. After all, a lot has happened in this area in recent years and career counselling happens much more frequently than it did 20 years ago.

Too many opportunities: Educate and show perspectives
Another problem is the endless supply of degree programmes and training opportunities. In the winter semester of 2020, more than 20,000 different courses of study were offered in Germany. Ten years earlier, there were only 13,000.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to find their bearings, which means they quickly end up with career aspirations that they derive from realities of life that are familiar to them. Here, however, education must be provided as to which occupation actually offers long-term prospects. Internships, job fairs and career counselling can provide assistance. A detailed look at some jobs with no future makes the problems clear.

The pandemic has shaken up the world of work
Looking now at the top ten jobs that may soon no longer exist, it is challenging to consider them against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic. After all, some developments are still uncertain and what a post-Corona world will look like is written in the stars.

Even professions that were considered resistant to digitalisation are anything but safe since the crisis. Cultural workers are suffering greatly from the measures and may reorient themselves in the ongoing crisis. Cosmetic professions such as hairdressers must also expect to have fewer customers in the future. Many people, especially men, have taken to cutting their own hair and may continue to do so after the pandemic. Closing salons could have an impact on the craft and training opportunities. In the areas of trade fairs, physiotherapy or in the fitness industry, it is also still open how things will continue after Corona.

Top ten: These jobs could soon no longer exist

  1. retail salesperson: Training as a retail salesperson has little future, as the Corona pandemic has clearly shown. Even before the pandemic, this job was considered endangered due to the ever-growing online trade, and the Corona crisis has fuelled this circumstance. Many shops are not expected to survive the crisis and will have to close permanently, causing many retail workers to lose their jobs as well.

Online retail has grown tremendously in 2020 due to the pandemic. Mail-order giant Amazon saw its online sales increase by a whopping 49% in the second quarter of 2020. Even though growth may not be as strong in the future, e-commerce has established itself as a permanent fixture. The younger generation in particular hardly ever goes to the city centres to shop, but instead shops online.

  1. flight attendants: even before the crisis, it was expected that the number of flight attendant jobs would fall by seven percent by 2022. The pandemic shows that it is likely to be considerably more. Finally, the airline industry is struggling for many reasons.

On the one hand, flying is still considered harmful to the environment. In times of climate change and too much CO2, aeroplanes are a means of transport that has been pilloried for quite some time. On the other hand, the Corona pandemic is likely to change travel in the long term. The airline market will also not be the same after the crisis as it was before. Numerous airlines lost their business during the pandemic and had to lay off employees in rows.

It is conceivable that the airline market will shrink and many providers will disappear from the market, leaving employees unemployed. For example, during the Corona crisis, the low-cost airline Ryanair partly let pilots take over the job of flight attendants in order to save costs.

  1. mail and parcel carriers: Parcel carriers were long thought to be in danger of extinction, at least in terms of their job being replaced by drones or self-driving vehicles. In 2018, it was still expected that there would be 28 per cent fewer jobs in this sector by 2022. With the Corona pandemic, however, the tide has turned. Suddenly, jobs that were already threatened with extinction are considered safe again, including work as a delivery driver.

The pandemic has emphasised the systemic relevance of this job in front of the growing e-commerce segment. The big logistics companies like DHL or UPS have hired more delivery drivers than ever. Admittedly, the danger of being replaced by technological developments in a few years remains and should not be underestimated. In the short to medium term, however, the job of postman or parcel carrier has regained relevance.

  1. jewellers: High-quality, genuine jewellery is increasingly being replaced by costume jewellery, which is much more likely to follow trends due to much lower prices. Jewellers will therefore have a hard time in the future. They have to reckon with their quality jewellery being increasingly displaced by low-priced alternatives.

In 2018, a ten percent decline in jobs in this industry was predicted by 2022. Between 2015 and 2020 alone, the number of businesses fell by 1,000 to 7,300. The Corona crisis, closed shops, dying inner cities and a decline in people’s economic growth and consumer behaviour are likely to accelerate these developments. For the craft sector, this development is disastrous, as apprenticeships are also becoming fewer.

5 Newspaper reporters: The newspaper as a print medium is threatened with extinction. Although many people still like to have paper in their hands instead of their smartphones, the number is decreasing. The people who write articles for newspapers are also becoming fewer and newspaper reporters are one of the jobs with no future.

Journalists per se are still needed, but they face new challenges because journalism is much more online. A certain online affinity is now essential and an ever faster news pace demands more from them than before.

To make matters worse, journalism is not a protected profession. Blogs and social media give potentially anyone the opportunity to share information and express opinions. This often blurs the line between people who have been trained as journalists and people who just call themselves journalists.

6 Travel agency workers: Those who work in a travel agency have a hard time. Even before the Corona crisis, more and more travel bookings were made over the internet. In 2015, 18 million people said they had already booked a trip via the internet. In 2019, it was already close to 25 million. Platforms such as Booking, Airbnb, Tripadvisor and flight comparison portals such as Swoodoo or Kayak make it easy to put together trips yourself. This is usually even cheaper than in a travel agency.

The Corona pandemic is likely to accelerate the development and bring more and more travel agencies to their knees. Finally, the entire tourism sector is suffering greatly from the crisis, which is likely to have a longer-term impact. A weakened economy, a possible change in travel behaviour and the bargain offers of many online travel platforms ensure that the need for travel agency staff will become less and less in the coming years.

  1. inspectors: Those who professionally inspect and carry out quality controls must expect to be replaced by technology sooner or later. Machines can work much more precisely than humans and, depending on the inspection process, the job can be taken over 1:1 by artificial intelligence. Machines do not tire as quickly and make fewer mistakes than humans. The profession of auditor will therefore have an increasingly difficult time in the future.

Warehouse workers: Even though online retail is growing and Amazon, Zalando and others are building more and more warehouses and depots, the profession of warehouse worker is on the decline. Admittedly, it is not a profession that is really a pity. After all, warehouse work is often strenuous and poorly paid. Nevertheless, many jobs depend on it, but they could gradually be taken over by robots.

After all, robots can carry heavier loads, are more efficient and do not tire. In the future, people will only be needed to monitor the machines. There is no future for warehouse workers.

  1. farmer: The profession of farmer is often romanticised. In reality, it is hard and exhausting and also extremely insecure. It is true that food will always be needed, the food industry is systemically relevant and agriculture is making more turnover than ever before. But climate change fundamentally threatens it. Moreover, many of a farmer’s tasks are increasingly being taken over by machines. This makes the work easier, but rationalises the jobs.
  2. data typist: a data typist takes numbers from documents (whether online or offline) and enters them into internal company databases and systems. This job is currently still relevant for many trading companies, as contracts are often still too complex to automatically transfer the information from them. However, there are more and more algorithms and programmes that are gradually making this job superfluous. Artificial intelligence is also faster and more efficient than humans and less prone to errors.

Which professions will remain?
What will remain are highly specialised professions that are necessary for the digitalisation of the world of work, such as building, programming or monitoring machines. STEM professions in particular are considered to have a promising future. These include these occupational fields:

Computer science
Natural sciences and engineering
Many jobs in these career fields require a degree, but there are also vocational training programmes in these fields such as:

Mechatronics engineer
Plant mechanic
Metal worker
Industrial mechanic
According to the OECD, the top career aspiration of German boys is a job in information and communication technology. About seven per cent of the schoolchildren surveyed see themselves in such a job. An estimated 124,000 jobs for IT specialists are unfilled in Germany, yet this is one of the industries of the future. But even among the best pupils according to the PISA study, only very few see their future in scientific or mathematical professions.

The profession of mechatronics engineer continues to hold promise for the future.
©ikonoklast_hh Adobe-Stock
How companies create points of contact with young people
In order to make the professions that will be in demand in the future known, companies are also in demand. They have to present themselves to the youth in order to get the idea of pursuing a profession in such a branch into the minds of young people in the first place.

With a lack of visibility, it is no wonder that many young people only see the jobs for their future that they have known so far. It is therefore little surprise that among the employers of choice among students is the public sector. The most frequently mentioned are:

German Armed Forces
German Red Cross
These are all areas that will still be relevant in the future and are considered safe. But this does not cover the shortage of IT specialists, engineers and scientists in Germany.

Companies have to get creative to reach young people. Social media, career fairs and career counselling are important touch points through which young people can be reached, informed and educated. Offering internships for pupils can also be an important building block when it comes to showing perspectives.

Other jobs with future prospects
Jobs that require human skills cannot be replaced by machines either. Jobs that require people skills, persuasion or negotiation skills cannot simply be replaced either.

Doctors are still needed, as are specialised craftsmen. Professions at the interpersonal level also have a future. Psychologists, educators or nurses cannot be replaced by machines. After all, empathy, for example, cannot be covered by artificial intelligence.

The professions in the health sector in particular have gained renewed attention during the Corona crisis. Their systemic relevance makes them safe jobs. Demographic change will ensure that nursing professions become increasingly important, even independently of pandemics.

Competences instead of knowledge
Whoever aspires to the professional world today is best either highly specialised or a generalist. Flexibility and/or expert status are good prerequisites for not being left without a job in the future.

Due to the changes in the working world, the focus for employees is no longer on knowledge, but on competences. They must be able to react to new, unfamiliar problems and situations.

Employers: Meeting the new challenges with human resources development
Not only employees, but also employers are facing new challenges due to digitalisation. Finding experts and specialists to pave and accompany the way to the economic future of a company is becoming increasingly difficult.

Personnel development is a good way to counteract this. Instead of sending employees to seminars with short-term reverberations, their competences should be diagnosed and developed in perspective. A machine operator does not become an engineer or a programmer for artificial intelligence. But he is at least able to cope with new demands in his profession. Nevertheless, a change of profession through retraining is also an option if there are suitable offers.

For employees who are worried that their job will be replaced by technology in the medium term, there is always the possibility to change something, even in an advanced career. The crucial thing is to be aware of what changes the working world and one’s own job are heading towards and then to act accordingly.

What does this mean for companies financially?
Even if personnel costs could be lower in the future because activities are automated, this does not necessarily mean savings. After all, technical innovations cost a lot of money and highly qualified workers are also becoming more expensive. It therefore takes a long time before profits can really be optimised. The reason for more profit is more likely to be the increase in productivity due to the technical innovation than the savings in personnel costs.

Conclusion: Educate about futureless professions and point out new opportunities
Many professions that have long been considered safe could become extinct in the next two decades. Even though the pandemic has shaken things up and some professions, such as post and parcel delivery workers, are experiencing a short-term boom. In the long term, they will have a hard time surviving. Artificial intelligence will take over more jobs in the future. The people who still work in these positions today will become superfluous as a result.

It is therefore all the more crucial that young people are educated early on about the perspectives of the various professions. Only in this way can they also gain an understanding of professions that have been rather less present in their lives up to now. Companies can make a decisive contribution to this education.

STEM professions will be in particularly high demand in the future, while flight attendants, warehouse workers, jewellers, data typists, travel agents and retail clerks will have a hard time.

In existing employment relationships, employers have a responsibility to keep an eye on changes in their industry and adapt early. Both constant development of employees to keep up with technological advances and retraining can help limit job losses.

The increase in profits of companies after the introduction of technical innovations will be more in the increased productivity capacity than actually in the saving of personnel costs.

Which occupations have no future?

Retail clerks, flight attendants, mail and parcel carriers, jewellers, newspaper reporters, travel agency workers, inspectors, warehouse workers, farmers and data typists must reckon with the fact that their jobs have no long-term perspective.

Which occupations have a promising future?

STEM professions, i.e. professions in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and engineering and technology, are considered to have a particularly promising future.

What problems exist in Germany with regard to education and career choice?

Too many young people lack clear perspectives. Parents and schools have the task of pointing out promising professions and supporting young people in their career choices.

What is the role of employers and companies?

Companies can already show presence among young people and create awareness for certain jobs. This can be done through social media or job fairs. Employers in vulnerable sectors should constantly develop their employees so that they can keep up with the changes in their jobs. Retraining is also a possibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like