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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Read/Post Comments (32) | Recommend This Article (38)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:56 AM, chlear27 wrote:

    Excellent advice, avoid a job that pays $89k on average when employment is high, great advice.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 6:03 PM, asiff1981 wrote:

    I wonder who the real fool is? The writer or reader?

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 6:13 PM, ryanchandler25 wrote:

    Aren't you guys supposed to be writing about stocks and investments? Really this article is lame.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 6:24 PM, 2smartforlibs wrote:

    This article will be rewritten next week with all new job just like it has been for months now

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 6:43 PM, puravidacr10 wrote:

    I really can''t believe what I just read. With the job market as tight as it is people would take a job separating different colored paper clips is it payed the mortgage and fed the family. There is no law forcing an individual to remain in a dead end job. One may always improve their way of life and change careers if the oportunity presents itself.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 7:24 PM, bloatwinuphuck wrote:

    I have IVY league degree and have been considering working at a &^%^^ing OFFICE MAX so awesome advice you idiots..for crying out loud..any job with pay is better than NO JOB with NO PAY..what PLANET are you living on? Testalamerdas.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 7:32 PM, feilong08 wrote:

    Amanda Alix. are you telling the public to leave those fields so you or your kids can enter those market sector with less competitions?

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 7:39 PM, sargentpepper wrote:

    it seems more like great jobs to get. 50k+ for all of them???

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:03 PM, thezeman wrote:

    Can't wait to read "what 16 trillion in debt means to you". The debt is 16.9 trillion and basically 17 trillion. how long ago was this article written?

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:07 PM, skinny123 wrote:

    Only an Associate's to become an Aerospace Engineer? Where? At Georgia Tech?

    Job losses of 100? Insurance adjusters are self employed? Who wrote this stupid article?

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:07 PM, GregSte wrote:

    The best profession to pursue is mortician/undertaker. Soon, we will need lots of them in this coutry.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:14 PM, GregSte wrote:

    Airspace technicians? Sure, I believe it. With the airforce being the only combat worthy part of the US armed forces, and the country's engagement into more and more wars, with the nuclear world war not being that distant, airspace technician would be a very popular occupation.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:21 PM, Giamann wrote:

    Where do you get your data ?

    I have been in the aerospace engineering /inspection sector for nearly 15 years. A few years back I watched as everyone I knew in the real estate, banking, and construction industries lost their jobs. I'm still here cranking out aircraft parts.

    With the rise of private aerospace companies like SpaceX, and the trend of more and more manufacturing coming back to the U.S., degreed engineers and sharp, certified technicians have a bright, stable future. This is completely contrary to this article, but I actually work in this field. You decide who has the accurate projection for yourself.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:27 PM, garp36 wrote:

    Perhaps this writer should try to educate himself before he writes an article. Just last year the government released a report saying that there was a shortage of over 200,000 insurance adjusters in the field and that it was expected to have growth larger than the average profession and due to the loss of adjusters to retirement and the lack of new adjusters entering the field that the demand would continue to grow much quicker than normal. Also the VA offered special funding to veterans that wanted to go into that field and obtain that license placing it 3rd on the list of critical jobs and offering to pay for the certification from authorized schools through the VAVR program. Really stop writing garbage and try something truthful.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:28 PM, lloydray wrote:

    As a New Construction Plumber, with only an 11th grade education, I make over $100,000

    a year.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 8:30 PM, Giamann wrote:

    P.S. - I've never seen an Associates Degree in any engineering discipline. The minimum to get hired as an engineer today is a Bachelors Degree (Aerospace, Civil, Mechanical, etc), with the trend leaning heavily towards those with a Masters.

    It's not a 4 year program either. Engineering programs are heavily saturated with higher math and physics. Typical completion time is more like 5 to 6 years for a Bachelors.

    Those students that can't cut it in Engineering then become Business Majors / Financial Analysts / Speculative Blog Writers.

    True story.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:17 PM, Georgeyo wrote:

    Why don't you write about Dental Assistants. This is a low-pay, dead end job with max pay at about $15.00 to 17.00. It is dead end with low pay and no benefits. Now that is dead end.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:45 PM, Klink008 wrote:

    This article is nothing more than a front to collect leads for the investments solicited next to it. Duh!

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:46 PM, over502 wrote:

    Another dead end job... being a writer of articles like this one!

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:02 PM, MTBCommuter wrote:

    With Aerospace Engineering, I don't know if the author considered the fact that the industry has vast numbers of employees eligible or nearly eligible for retirement, due to the timing of past waves of hiring. Most of them are just waiting to be eligible for Medicare.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:21 PM, zuka11akuz wrote:

    More right-wing propaganda. They feel they can eliminate all the good jobs for lower paying jobs. Abolish the tea-party and all things will get better.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 12:28 AM, ggoldbach wrote:

    Motley Fool has become nothing more than a money making advertisement rag.

    I joined when it first started but now I don't know what their purpose is.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 12:58 AM, dbd27 wrote:

    First, the article is basically a regurgitation of the BLS website (which the author does mention in the first paragraph) even down to the data of (-100 jobs). So perhaps the GOVERNMENT needs to redo some of their own research since the Insurance Adjuster is on their list for a decline in job growth. The 200,000 insurance jobs are most likely health related (not auto or real estate as mentioned in the article). And the the job- Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician- is NOT for an Engineer but a TECHNICIAN, which is why an Associate's degree is listed under this job. Yes, pretty much a fluff piece as there were about 15 other careers listed she could have randomly chosen but those are the stats as researched by our government.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 1:36 AM, rexcarr wrote:

    To the writer of this article... you wrote "with a loss of 100 jobs expected by 2020" in Aerospace. 100 jobs losses in 7 years is not bad. Assuming this is mistake. However I believe your researched is flawed, unless you are considering the new Immigration Bill allowing over 250K per year in the country, which will surely drive lower wages in high tech fields over time. But as one writer stated over 50% of the Aerospace workforce is due to retire in the 10 - 15 years, compound this with an existing shortage of skilled workers, there will be plenty of jobs in the field for decades to come.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 2:02 AM, mh1965 wrote:

    I wonder where the stats for saying these are dead end jobs. The BLS is mentioned, but according to them Private Detectives/Investigators is predicted to have 21% growth.

    See http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives...

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 6:12 AM, Helivette wrote:

    Due to the liability of A&P aircraft techs ,most kids rather worry about their laptop crashing than a flying

    Machine with passengers . Hard to get people to Man up .

    After a few years of trade school or community college you can make 70 - 100K with a few years

    At the craft . Its a licensee not a degree .

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 6:31 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    I am an electrical engineer and work in the aerospace industry. It seems to me that the market for new aircraft and spare parts is up. We re very busy.

    Also, I read that up to $4.4T of new aircraft will be needed over the next 20 years. Someone has to design and build them.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 9:23 AM, MJinChicago wrote:

    For years Montley Fool has listed a number of jobs not to go in or which jobs are growing. There is one job they fail to take into account that is becoming harder to enter each year: education.

    I'm a math teacher by profession, having taught for over six years in the Chicago area. Each year the school districts are laying off more and more teachers due to budget cuts, reduced enrollments, and performances. Forget about finding a position out in the suburbs. For every position that opens up, 100s-1000s of applicants submit their resumes, even in the math and science fields. It is even worse in the other fields. When it comes down the elementary education field your chances of getting hired are better based on who you versus your experience or where you got your degree. For every opening in elementary education out in the suburbs you can easily expect a minimum of a 1000+ applicants.

    In the past the best route was to apply for positions in the city of Chicago itself but the opportunity is becoming harder to do each each. Chicago use to have 3-4 job fairs every year, they haven't had a single job fair in the last four years. Their new website makes it even harder for experienced teachers to even apply. In the past you could contact the principal or school and submit your resume. Now principals can only select candidates from a selected pool of candidates.

    In the last 10+ years over 60% of the traditional high schools and about 30-40% of the elementary schools (K-8) have been converted into charter schools. These schools barely offer a living wage for teachers with experience and much less than those with no experience at all. These schools live and die if they can't get enough students in their program. A principal with hire you with hope and expectation only to let you go within a month if they fail to achieve their necessary attendance.

    If a major metro area is having a major problem with more teachers then positions I can only imagine it is even worse for other areas. Education is not all that assured any more. That is never discussed on this site.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 10:58 AM, rdmcdonald48 wrote:

    I've been a claims adjuster for 35 years, and it's not an easy career field by any means.

    There's an abundance of Government oversight; state licensing; internal and external auditors; obnoxious attorneys who will call you every name in the book and sue you; insureds and claimants who will try every scam known to man and then some to finds ways of getting more than the claim is worth.

    This is an industry rampant with fraud and very few effective ways to deter it. And, continuing education is required in order to maintain your license.

    But, there's that good feeling you get too when the insured say's thank you. Or when the claimant say's they appreciate your concern and all of your help in getting them back on their feet and made whole for their loss.

    Long hours, endless miles in a car, working in inclement weather, bug bites, snakes, sunburn and what have you. All a part of what we do.

    Love it, and it can be a very rewarding, and well paying career, if you have motivation and are a leader.

    Hate it, get out as soon as you can and find some place else to be miserable.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 1:21 PM, toomuchgas wrote:

    I try to avoid jobs of any kind since they cut into my leisure time.

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 4:09 PM, Claimsdude wrote:

    Amanda, as a claims adjuster, I was upset by how you put down aerospace techs and benefits managers in this article.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 9:41 AM, alawrence37 wrote:

    Do you think being a public insurance adjuster in Philadelphia PA (http://citiwideadjusters.com) would be a dead-end job, too, despite the decent pay? I want to be able to move up in a career, you know?

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