Complex Made Simple

7 Jobs that will not exist in 2017

* The rise of online and automation mean that several common jobs will soon go extinct

* Online shopping and businesses will cause the most changes to on-ground versions of services that have now moved online

* Other professions such as librarians, secretaries and photo printers too may cease to exist soon


Expecting that long-deserved raise or maybe a promotion in 2017? It may be time to give up those dreams and seriously start looking for a new job if you work in one of these seven professions – because your role may not even exist next year.

We are right in the middle of a global transformation to the digital era. Everything is moving online, automation is on the rise and the very way we live and work is undergoing rapid changes.

Given all this, it’s only fair to assume that even jobs and careers will undergo an evolution; in fact, as you read this, several jobs have already ceased to exist and newer ones are being created.


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Below are seven jobs that may cease to exist as early as 2017. Some of these are clearly on their last legs, while others may still exist in some form, but will be radically different to what they’ve been so far.


Travel agents

The role of physical travel agencies is quickly becoming redundant as the majority of people customise trips on their own today. On-ground travel agents with physical offices are fast being replaced by online platforms such as Trip Advisor and Expedia, which are rapidly rising in popularity.



Clerical work might still be required, yes, but the old job description of a secretary is quickly changing to a point where even the role’s name is no longer relevant. Interns and temps are taking on clerical and administrative jobs at most companies, and other forms of so-called assistance are rising, but with more specialised responsibilities – and these are most definitely not referred to as secretaries.


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The rise of online and virtual shopping, even for groceries, means less people will physically shop at a given store, so there is less need for people sitting at the cashier’s desk. Also, going forward, virtual payments, express deliveries and, eventually, perhaps robots or automated tellers, will take over the cashier’s role.


Postal workers

This is one job that one can safely say has already ceased to exist, or is rare to find, in many parts of the world. Three of the biggest items postal workers used to deliver were letters, bills and newspapers, all of which are aggressively becoming digital and distributed in soft copies.



For the longest period of time, the role of a librarian has been quite respected and admired among intellectuals in society. This job might not completely cease to exist, as public libraries might still be there, but more and more books and resources will be on their computers rather than on their shelves. However, as the population becomes increasingly more tech-savvy and everyone increasingly uses the online sphere to look for what they want, the effectiveness or need for a librarian is quickly diminishing.


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This role will never really cease to exist – we would always need people to gather information and report news, but the role of reporters is drastically changing, as an increasing number shift over to the content creation side, rather than just raw reporting. Also, with the rise of freelancers and crowd-sourced content, the need for a permanent reporter with a ‘beat’ is fast diminishing.


Photo printers and processors

You’d expect that this job is extinct by now, but we still find a few photography stores lurking around here and there. These are especially useful for taking passport photos, printing photographs, etc. However, with the increasing availability of photo-printing machines that allow you to do all of that at home, it is expected that these providers too will soon be out of business.