3 Dead-End Jobs to Avoid (Despite the Decent Pay)

3 Dead-End Jobs to Avoid (Despite the Decent Pay)

Have you ever considered becoming a chef, or getting into desktop publishing? If so, forget it. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these occupations are on their way out, with the number of jobs being created and prospects for growth over the next few years standing at just about nil.

Knowing which job sectors are declining is just as important as being aware of which ones are growing, since neither is particularly intuitive. Here are three jobs you may not suspect are on the decline. So, if you are planning a career change or are just starting out, you would be well served to steer clear of these particular occupations, despite their attractive pay scales.

The median pay presented for each position below represents 2010 wage levels.

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
Considering aerospace engineering and operations technicians are instrumental in the development of new aircraft, it is surprising that these jobs are in decline. These technical employees can work in offices, laboratories, or industrial factories, and are employed mostly by the aerospace industry, which includes employers that are large government contractors.

As of 2010, many companies required an associate's degree for entry into the field, but the median pay of $58,000 is pretty respectable for only two years of college. Unfortunately, job growth in this sector is in negative territory, with a loss of 100 jobs expected by 2020.

Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
As these job titles suggest, this work involves the settlement of insurance claims. These people may work for a myriad of insurers, or they can be self-employed. Sometimes, independent contractors are hired by those who prefer an impartial evaluation on their claim.

Most appraisers work for auto insurers, while adjusters may inspect real estate property as well as vehicles. Examiners make sure claims are filed correctly and lend their expertise to adjusters when questions arise. Investigators get into the nitty-gritty of a case, usually after the insurer has flagged it as fraudulent in some way.

Though there seems no shortage of insurance companies or claims, these jobs have seen slow growth over the past few years, and the occupational sector is expected to expand by only 3% by 2020. The pay is quite good, at a median $58,460 annually. While there are no official educational requirements, there has been a tendency over the past few years to give those with a four-year degree or some level of work experience preference in hiring.

Compensation and Benefits Managers
This job class is also on the decline, with a projected growth rate of 3% until 2020. Compensation and benefits managers are involved in every aspect of a company's employee benefit plans, including pay, retirement, and health insurance. These positions require a bachelor's degree or higher for entry, but the median pay is impressive -- more than $89,000 per year -- though they often work long hours.

These employees work in all industries and, with the evolving nature of employee benefit plans, I would expect this sector to be expanding. But BLS notes that outsourcing of this type of work has made jobs scarcer and will continue to put the squeeze on the number of available positions.

Researching career moves is more important than ever these days, with unemployment still elevated from the Great Recession, and the cost of college rising each year. Perform your due diligence, knowing that aligning your goals with the reality of the employment marketplace will almost certainly result in a more satisfying, and lucrative, working career.

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