For those who have grown up with technology, the pace of change is part of daily life and most young people are used to learning, playing, shopping and working online. However, for the older generation, it can be more difficult to get used to the pace of change, particularly when technology disrupts traditional industries and changes them beyond recognition.
The fact is whether we like it or not there are many jobs and professions that the internet is likely to change or even make entirely obsolete.
The Print Industry
This has been a contentious area and continues to be so. Many believe that digital will eventually completely overtake print and make books and newspapers redundant. However, others believe that print will continue to have a vital role to play and many people value the experience of reading offline.
So whilst sales of Kindles and other e-readers are soaring, traditional book sales in a number of sectors are also looking strong. This industry will be one to watch with interest. Certainly, for jobs within the print industry, the growth potential looks slim and margins are becoming ever tighter as competitors are forced to win business on a cost basis. Green concerns are also likely to see an increasing switch to digital.
Traditional Manufacturing Jobs
The internet is symptomatic of wider technological changes that are sweeping across the landscape and removing the need for traditional low-skilled roles, such as factory production jobs. This is because it’s cheaper for technology to perform certain repetitive and low-skilled tasks than it is to hire staff to do them out manually.
The safety risk and accuracy rates are also improved with technology, via robotics and digitally controlled devices. This presents challenges as well as opportunities for employees. For those willing to re-train, there is a vast range of fascinating new careers.
Traditional Secretarial Work
There was once a time when each office had a secretary typing on a typewriter. But today the internet means that administrative support doesn’t need to even be physically located within an office. Functions such as data processing, inputting, copywriting, copyediting and proofing can easily be outsourced to remotely located staff who work via the internet.
These people may even be located overseas and this is an increasing trend, as many businesses seek to benefit from cost efficiencies through outsourced overseas work which is delivered digitally.
Matchmakers, Weight Loss, and Other Personal Services
Once the preserve of expensive and discreet agencies, matchmaking is now a multi-million-pound online industry, with many people taking matters into their own hands and looking to find love via dating sites.
Equally, weight loss used to involve weekly classes with a local leader, but now the trend is to join online communities and programmes and visit forums to share experiences and track successes. The internet continues to revolutionize how we interact, buy services and generally live our lives.
Many believe that the traditional postal system will slowly continue to decline and the rising cost of sending physical packages and letters means that more people are choosing to adopt electronic methods of communication such as email, social networking and even e-payments, certification and documentation.
If you’ve ever bought a travel policy online, for example, the chances are that you downloaded your policy certificate and accompanying documentation automatically and without needing to have hard copies delivered in the post.
Other Rapidly Changing Industries
The news industry is moving online and traditional journalist roles are disappearing or changing. People want real-time updates, with later editorial. The internet has sped up customer’s expectations so that many middleman roles are also disappearing. The power lies in the hands of the customer and there is less need for complex supply chains.
Overseas competition is also facilitated via the internet, which means that many local jobs such as watch repairing, for example, or shoe repairs are being replaced by cheap foreign imports delivered via online shopping. For the time being at least, some people will prefer to buy a cheaper replacement than pay for a repair.
However, society is changing with the green movement, so things may change again. Whatever your views about the internet, the fact is that the world is changing. It can be scary, particularly when people feel they are being left behind. But many traditional jobs involve skill sets that can easily be adapted and tailored for exciting and rewarding new roles online. There is plenty of opportunities and the internet is ideal for people who are keen to set up their own businesses and become entrepreneurs.
For every disappearing job, there is a new one being created. For example, the launch of small-business website software means that budding micro-enterprises can set up their own simple e-commerce website and payment system at very little cost and without the need for physical overheads. This offers excellent opportunities for those ready to face the future.
This guest post was contributed by Conosco; Providing fixed-price IT support to London’s most demanding businesses for 10 years.