Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Jobs dry up for travel agents and IT workers

The internet has diminished some industries significantly - including travel agents. Photo / Thinkstock
The internet has diminished some industries significantly - including travel agents. Photo / Thinkstock

If you're a travel agent or an accountant, you could be facing "extinction" by 2017.

Car manufacturers, retail and IT workers may also need to start thinking about a new career path as consumers increasingly turn to the internet for services and employers outsource for cheaper labour.

The Balance Recruitment agency has compiled a list of the top five jobs they believe will disappear in the next five years.

Managing director Greg Pankhurst said overseas companies were becoming more trusted by local businesses.

"Many jobs will become obsolete due to technological advances, while others will simply move offshore to Asia," he said. "Offshoring is not a new phenomenon, but people are getting a lot better at it and higher-skilled jobs are starting to go offshore. It used to be the very basic roles.

"It is vital people understand these changes and attempt to reskill so they don't end up becoming superfluous."

New Zealand had been benefiting over the past few years as Australian companies outsourced services to the country because it was a "significantly cheaper" place to do business. But "a lot of the stigma" about outsourcing further afield had been broken, Mr Pankhurst said.

A computer programmer in India would earn about $8000 a year compared with between $70,000 and $75,000 in New Zealand, he said.

The internet had also diminished some industries significantly, Mr Pankhurst said. Initially, bookshops, travel agents, music and video stores were affected but now niche and high-end suppliers of goods such as sporting goods, computers and branded fashion items, were selling products online.

Economists were expecting New Zealanders to spend $3.2 billion on online purchases this year, with the figure jumping to $5.4 billion for 2016, he said.

Auckland Flight Centre travel agent Mike van Beekhuizen said he didn't fear for his job as people enjoyed the face-to-face experience of customer service.

"You're making holidays come true for families, people are saving for these big trips. You get an email from them when they come back or they come and visit you and they just tell you about their experiences," he said.

The jobs that will survive were those that required a human touch such as hospitality workers, tourism operators, tradesmen, logistics workers, aged and health care and government workers including politicians.

- NZ Herald

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