As the landscape changes for many familiar industries, the hiring outlook declines for many of the most endangered jobs of 2015.
Consider how we get our food. America moved away from being an agrarian society long ago, but employment on farms has really plummeted in the last decade. The number of farms in the United States dropped by 400,000 between 1982 and 2012 per the Department of Agriculture, and the percentage of farmers in the workforce is expected to decline by 19% from 2012 through 2022.
Technology has streamlined the farming process, making it easier for fewer farmers to accomplish more work.
Technology has had a major impact on several other jobs ranked among the most endangered jobs of 2015. More Americans choose to correspond via email or text message, dramatically slashing the amount of mail and reducing the need for postal services. Programs like PayPal also allow for people to electronically transfer funds they would have otherwise sent through the mail.
Mail carrier is the most profoundly impacted of the 10 most endangered jobs, expected to lose 28% of its workforce by 2022.
Not far behind are meter readers. Utility usage can now be effectively tracked digitally, eliminating the need for on-site documentation of water or electrical consumption at individual households and businesses.
Another industry in decline is the media industry, which is undergoing a profound transformation as outlets work to keep up with evolving technology. From its earliest days, the internet has posed a challenge to those steering the course of newspapers.
The newspaper industry reached its advertising revenue peak near the turn of the millennium, but according to the Newspaper Association of America, began a dramatic decline right around 2000 – coinciding with an increase of internet usage among Americans of 74% by 2006, per the Pew Research Center.
Almost a decade ago, the newspaper industry began a severe decline in hiring that has yet to cease. Scott Rupp of Bradenton, Florida, experienced both sides of it. First, he was among those who kept his position amid mass layoffs at The Tampa Tribune. The work left behind by cut positions didn’t go away, so a smaller staff was forced to absorb the responsibilities.
Then, as the economic recession of 2008 hit, Scott was among the industry’s casualties.
Big-money investors like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have bought into the newspaper industry in recent years, but that hasn’t changed a gloomy overall forecast. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 13% decline in employment of reporters by 2022.
Such projections are validated by continued editorial staff cuts at such publications as the Los Angeles Times, just in the last few months of 2015. Dwindling opportunities for newspaper reporters past and present don’t mean their skills are not sought after in the job market, however.
Rupp says his skills working as a newspaper reporter translated well to marketing and public relations, where he’s worked in both the private and government sectors.
“I’ve been on the other side of PR as a journalist, so I know how to communicate with reporters,” Rupp says.
Translating skills from an endangered job to a more in-demand field can be tough, but former newspaper reporters have opportunities to migrate from print into digital media, marketing, advertising and public relations – fields where their skill sets transfer nicely.
He applies these skills working with clients in his independently owned PR firm, MillerRupp, and continues to report on healthcare issues through his own site, ElectronicHealthReporter.com.
Online publishing is not a completely safe haven, however, as digital employers still seek effective means by which to monetize their platforms. But as former newspaper reporter Zach Miller says, the internet does offer new opportunities.
“After discovering the many other ways (and preferred ways, at that) media is consumed, I shifted my academic focus to creative writing, through which a career in content marketing grew,” says Miller, currently content specialist of Music Dealers, LLC. “I still employ my same journalistic ethics, tactics, and even writing style; in fact, the only major change has been the channels of distribution of the content I create.”
Still, Rupp says he’d recommend those considering a career in journalism, newspaper or digital, consider other educational avenues while working toward a reporter job.
“Freelance, intern, write wherever you can,” he says. “But study something else to have as a fallback.”
If you currently have (or are interested in) one of the careers that rank as the most endangered jobs of 2015, having a viable secondary option can be a good way to protect yourself against changes in the employment market. Check out Jobs Rated’s report on the Best Jobs of 2015 for more information on highly satisfying, high-growth career options. According to our research, based on hiring outlook and the changing economic landscape, the following rank as the 10 Most Endangered jobs of 2015:
1. Mail Carrier
The most dramatic decrease in hiring expected of any field tracked by the Jobs Rated report, mail carrier have been profoundly impacted by technological changes in communication.