Career Paths: Choose Your Field Wisely

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by BrightMove Applicant Tracking Software and Traci Kingery

The market for particular fields or job categories should be of interest to those currently in a career transition and those that recruit for these fields. Earlier this year Forbes listed the 10 Dead or Dying Career Paths that were named so not only for their lackluster numbers but for their low probability of rebounding as the economy recovers. These career paths are based on data and predictions made by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and are as follows:

Computer Operators

Showing a loss of 42,000 workers and no signs of a turnaround, between 2004 and 2009 this field declined by 31%. Personal computers and innovative data processing methods are to blame for the eventual elimination of positions based around manual operations including entering commands and monitoring terminals.

Stage Performers

This category includes many specialized performers including magicians, jugglers, clowns and dancers. One of the most drastic declines, this category dropped over 61% in the same five year period. With the rise of movies and home entertainment, live performances are cited as becoming a thing of the past.

Postal Service Mail Sorters

It’s no secret the postal service has been suffering. With a 30% decline between 2004 and 2009, the BLS projects a fall of 30% more by 2018. Correspondence has turned electronic and with the lack of hard mail, these positions are becoming unnecessary.

Holistic Healers

This field declined 44% in the same five-year period as the other categories. Without the support of health insurance coverage and the tight budgets of the average consumer, acupuncturists, homeopathic doctors and other medical specialty service providers are considered an extravagant luxury and slowly disappearing.

Office and Administrative Support Workers

When organizations cut costs, administrative support is always one of the first areas to go. Increased technology, automated processes, and the learned ability to run operations with a new leaner, do-it-yourself attitude have contributed to the 300,000 job loss the administrative field witnessed between 2004 and 2009.

Telemarketers and Door-To-Door Salespeople

Online sales and shop at home television networks have slowly replaced this type of sales process. The expected decline by 2018 is around 11% and 15% for telemarketers and door-to-door salespersons respectively.

Photo Processors

Manual photo processing is becoming an archaic method as digital photography and automatic printing have replaced older, outdated procedures. A steady job loss between 2004 and 2009 sets the prediction at a 24% declination by 2018.


Outsourcing has contributed to the 77,000 lost sewing-related jobs and the predicted additional 72,000 loss for an overall drop of 34% by 2018. US employees cannot compete with the extremely low wages found overseas.

Radio Operators

Again with the blame on technology, those whose jobs surround monitoring communications via radiotelephone equipment are becoming obsolete. 43% decline within five years, to an already minimal field, does not help the chances this occupation will survive.


A 17% drop overall (160,000 jobs between 2004 and 2009), leaves this age-old occupation in a difficult spot to make a comeback. With mass-produced items and prefabricated structures, the need for faster results and more streamlined processes will find skilled carpenters supporting these new-aged demands.

Whether in one of these fields of recruited for related positions, the recognition of these downwards trends may also highlight future declines in related fields and industries. Build your career strategies by playing the odds and increasing the chances that your line of work will make the cut when it’s all said and done.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.




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