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Jobs most in danger of being automated

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Pixabay

Jobs most in danger of being automated

In September 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne from Oxford University published “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?” In this paper, the authors used a new methodology to rank 903 professions based on how likely they are to become completely automated—ultimately noting that 47% of jobs in the United States are at risk. The methodology entailed the researchers hand-labeling jobs based on whether the tasks were fully automatable and whether obstacles stood in the way to computerize the associated tasks. Then, each job was plugged into an algorithm that would ensure the results they found were accurate.

Stacker has compiled a list of the 25 jobs from the paper most in danger of being automated—whether the automation process has already been in place for a long time, as with engravers and etchers, or whether it's just beginning, like with umpires and other sports officials. Data was based on algorithms developed by Frey and Osborne that show the probability of computerization for each job. Although rankings in the Frey and Osborne report were calculated based on more precise numbers generated by the algorithms, in the listings below probabilities are given without decimals.

Further information about the careers listed in this slideshow, including median earnings, number of jobs, and projected job-growth rate were pulled from the April 19 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. In addition to this information, we have provided explanations regarding the culprit of the looming automation, other relevant news about the state of the job, and if necessary a brief job description.

Read on to see what careers are most at risk of going automated, and which jobs are already past the automation point of no return.

You may also like: 50 jobs that no longer exist

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Nestor Rizhniak // Shutterstock

#25. Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $36,080
- Number of jobs in 2016: 1 million
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -9% (decline)

These employees set up, operate, and maintain the machines that shape metals and plastics. Automation is simplifying and streamlining processes in the career, but the industry doesn't expect the job to go away. Instead, it says these positions will remain as a way to teach the basics and fundamentals of the job to newer workers.

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Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

#24. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $28,860
- Number of jobs in 2016: 3.1 million
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 4% (slower than average)

These clerks prepare shipments, send them out, track the progress of each shipment, and receive them. As the system gets more automated because of computer programs that do most of the work (like automatic-sorting systems and computer-directed trucks), the industry will open up more job opportunities for people who have the computer skills to manage the programs.

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Dragon Images // Shutterstock

#23. Procurement clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $41,910
- Number of jobs in 2016: Not available
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: Not available

Procurement clerks work with suppliers and vendors to obtain the information and records needed to draw up purchase orders and then often follow the course of the sale from order to delivery. As the position becomes more automated, procurement clerks are now more hands-off, instead running procurement management tools to manage every step in the process.

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wellphoto // Shutterstock

#22. Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $30,160
- Number of jobs in 2016: 383,000
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 1.7% (slower than average)

This job has a very specific purpose: to operate or maintain machinery that solely prepares packages to ship or store. But as the machines become more and more automatic, the employees themselves are no longer necessary, except to solve issues or conduct initial setup—which can often be done via a touchscreen interface.

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Unsplash

#21. Etchers and engravers

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $31,330
- Number of jobs in 2016: 10,600
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 0.9% (little or no change)

Decorative work on wood, metal, or other surfaces are already being described as the most automated jobs in the country. The majority of the processes have been taken over by computer programs, specialized printers, and robotic machinery. Although changing in nature the work of etchers and engravers remains; workers now run software programs that means it takes less time and manpower to do the work, for the same amount of money—or more since they have time to take on more clients.

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#20. Tellers

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $29,450
- Number of jobs in 2016: 502,700
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -8.3% (decline)

The role of bank tellers has been in decline for years. These front-line employees are responsible for your withdrawals, deposits, and payments—all things that online banking systems can do. The amount of jobs has already decreased by more than 8% since 2017.

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Pixabay

#19. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $27,020
- Number of jobs in 2016: 21,100
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 7.6% (as fast as average)

Some sports fans may disagree (especially if a call allows their team to win the game), but a lot of sports industry leaders are pushing for automated or robotic umpires, referees, and sports officials. In baseball, in particular, there's a push to get rid of the home plate umpire in favor of an automated strike zone robot umpire, so one person's judgment doesn't unfairly cost a team a game.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#18. Insurance appraisers, auto damage

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $65,670
- Number of jobs in 2016: 328,700
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -1% (little or no change)

In the past, when you got into a car accident, someone had to come out and physically survey the damage to the vehicle. No more, though; insurance appraisers for car damage are increasingly being replaced by systems where drivers just send photos of the damage and an AI program evaluates it.

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Natee K Jindakum // Shutterstock

#17. Loan officers

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $63,040
- Number of jobs in 2016: 318,600
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 11.4% (faster than average)

Most loan officers work for banks, mortgage companies, or other financial institutions. They evaluate and give the go-ahead or no-go on loan applications for individuals and businesses. Large amounts of the loan-officer process are expected to be digitized and automated soon, but industry leaders don't believe the job will be completely replaced. Instead, they say, loan officers will take on a more advisory role with clients while monitoring the automated processes.

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fizkes // Shutterstock

#16. Order clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $33,510
- Number of jobs in 2016: Not available
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: Not available

Order clerks accept and process orders for items in every industry, follow the order progress to be sure of any issues, and communicate with the client. Thanks to the internet, online order forms and progress reports, the work of an order clerk is rapidly being replaced with automated processes; however, some expect that will eventually open more positions to oversee the work being done.

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REDPIXEL.PL// Shutterstock

#15. Brokerage clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $51,400
- Number of jobs in 2016: Not available
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: Not available

While the work done by brokerage clerks (the people managing stock purchases and sales) will become more automated, they likely won't be completely replaced. Manual processes for recording information are increasingly machine-run, but human employees are necessary to monitor the computer record-keeping.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#14. Insurance claims and policy processing clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $39,660
- Number of jobs in 2016: Not available
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: Not available

If you've had to file an insurance claim or get a new policy, you know these people—they're the ones that check everything for accuracy and process the documents. Most of these jobs are still manual, needing the finesse of an actual person. But some new AI technology is being introduced that automatically analyzes the situation and the person's background and can almost-instantly spit out the information a processing clerk would provide.

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Wikijunkie // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Timing device assemblers and adjusters

- Probability of becoming automated: 98%
- 2018 median annual wage: $32,820
- Number of jobs in 2016: 1.8 million
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -14% (decline)

Not to be confused with the equally doomed watch repairer career, timing-device assemblers and adjusters actually build, adjust, and calibrate watches, stopwatches, clocks, and any other analog or digital timing device. Machines are now able to do exactly what these people do—and sometimes with more exact results.

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Pixabay

#12. Data entry keyers

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $32,170
- Number of jobs in 2016: 203,800
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -21.2% (decline)

Data entry jobs are facing a one-two punch of negativity. Employers are increasingly trying to save costs by cutting these jobs. If they're not being automated by robots and AI that can just scan the information and extract it, then the positions are being outsourced or given to other employees as part of their updated job responsibilities.

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Unsplash

#11. Library technicians

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $29,640
- Number of jobs in 2016: 203,500
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 9% (as fast as average)

Library technicians do much of the work librarians do, though librarians more often take over managerial roles at a library. Some libraries already have robots to do tasks like making sure no book is missing—but a comprehensive study back in 1992 was already suggesting that automating parts of the library technician's job can lead to lower job satisfaction.

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fizkes // Shutterstock

#10. New accounts clerks

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $35,260
- Number of jobs in 2016: Not available
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: Not available

New accounts clerks are generally employed in the financial services industry, interviewing prospective account owners and helping them prepare applications. The industry itself has stated that AI and computer learning are already rapidly replacing the simple and routine tasks these employees do.

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Inkaroad // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $29,180
- Number of jobs in 2016: 26,900
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -18.2% (decline)

For most people, digital cameras are the photo machine of choice; you don't have to worry about overexposing film or losing it or getting it developed. But for those still using film, the processing industry has already been almost completely automated—there are machines that scan the negatives right into your computer as digital picture files.

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Unsplash

#8. Tax preparers

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $39,390
- Number of jobs in 2016: 95,900
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 10.7% (faster than average)

Tax preparers here doesn't mean accountants—it just applies to people who prepare standard tax returns for individuals and small businesses. H&R Block was one of the founding members of the automated tax preparation world, allowing you to plug in your information and have everything calculated for you. That technology has only increased, so it is now possible to simply scan documents and autofill forms.

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Patrick Foto // Shutterstock

#7. Cargo and freight agents

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $43,210
- Number of jobs in 2016: 89,800
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 10.4% (faster than average)

Cargo and freight agents handle all the intricacies of shipping cargo on every form of transportation; they handle routing, scheduling, loading, and order-taking. In part, increasing automation is necessary because cargo volumes have increased. For now, though, the cost to automate this career is prohibitively high—so employees may have more time than they think before being replaced or augmented with robots.

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Rudenkois // Shutterstock

#6. Watch repairers

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $39,910
- Number of jobs in 2016: 1,800
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -27.8% (decline)

In our current world of integrated technology and digital interfaces, many people don't own a watch or clock—let alone know how to read an analog one. The amount fluctuates, though, appearing to have cyclical sales rates. Bottom line: With more people using their phones or other smart devices as clocks, repairs will fall to cell phone manufacturers—not watch repairers.

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fizkes // Shutterstock

#5. Insurance underwriters

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $69,380
- Number of jobs in 2016: 104,100
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -5.2% (decline)

Insurance underwriters are the important people who evaluate applications to see if the applicants are eligible for insurance, how much you should get, and what the terms will be. Thanks to chatbots and automated processing, machines are doing more parts of this job than ever before. But some industry professionals don't think it will be completely replaced in the future; underwriters will just need to find a new way of working alongside the technology.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#4. Mathematical technicians

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: Not available
- Number of jobs in 2016: 600
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 8% (as fast as average)

Only about 510 people nationwide are employed as mathematical technicians, the wizards that compute and apply formulas to different industrial processes. This type of purely mathematical job—and all the other STEM jobs that don't rely heavily on social skills—declined .12 percentage points between 2000 and 2012, thanks to automation programs and robotics.

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Ekaterina Iatcenko // Shutterstock

#3. Sewers, hand

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $28,650
- Number of jobs in 2016: 13,500
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: -13.3% (decline)

Hand sewers, the people who finish up manufactured garments by hand, account for less than 1% of the entire garment industry. Many of the traditional processes have already been automated, and recent advancements in robotics and computer programs—like embroidery machines and knitting machines—could eventually replace the need for them altogether.

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Stokkete // Shutterstock

#2. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $47,130
- Number of jobs in 2016: 69,000
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 4.3% (slower than average)

These real estate sector employees search through public and private records to determine what materials apply to a property's title. This job is destined to be replaced, though, because almost all the required information is available on the internet—all you need is an automated search which will find everything you need. Plus, software exists already to run those searches, allowing any real estate professional to do it.

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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#1. Telemarketers

- Probability of becoming automated: 99%
- 2018 median annual wage: $25,250
- Number of jobs in 2016: 216,600
- Projected job growth rate 2016-2026: 0% (little or no change)

Everybody's favorite person to hate—the person calling you at all hours to sell you something you really don't want. Now more than ever, though, the job is increasingly being automated; the majority of the time, it's a robocall making that initial dial, and the real people only pop on once the person on the line seems interested.

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