Professional Jobs That Will Disappear In Singapore

3 min read

The last thing you want as a fresh graduate is to land a cushy paying job only to find out it’s going to get replaced by the smarts of technology. Especially with the Singapore government pushing to be a Smart Nation and the next Tech Hub, your job prospects could be threatened.

According to a report by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), 60% of students are pursuing jobs that will be obsolete thanks to technology.

Payroll Manager

With platforms such as ADP & SAP (more often used in large enterprises), Payroll processes are already automated to some extent. With software getting more intelligent, the margin for machine error will decrease, and this efficiency will mean fewer payroll professionals needed.

Why do I say fewer professionals instead of the entire profession going obsolete? Well, there are bound to be situations where machines won’t be able to help you. For example, if the payroll period is over and someone needs to be paid urgently. Or if there are new & urgent government regulations that affect the payroll processes. But with smart software, these will get easier over time.

Insurance underwriter


When you apply for insurance, your application goes through insurance underwriters who will review your application and determine if your risk is worth to the insurance company. Essentially, Insurance underwriters are the ones that determine whether you’ll get that insurance and how much the insurance company will offer you.

With automated software, most organisations scan set rules to determine application eligibility, which reduces the need for underwriters.

Travel agents

Travel agents may have been popular in its hey days (aka over ten years ago). However, now, there is no need for a travel agent when travellers can easily research vacation spots and book everything from tickets to accommodations on the internet.

Despite this, agents for luxury travel could be in demand as a larger percentage of the population gets wealthier and indulge in more luxurious trips. Those who don’t fall into the average demographic of DIY-travellers will typically engage an agent to organise everything and ensure all goes well and smoothly.

Accounting and auditing clerks

While traditional jobs such as accounting and auditing are crucial to any organisation, they will be in less demand in 10 years thanks to improved accounting software. I’m not saying accountants will be replaced because you always need someone to look into the grey areas which software cannot detect. So every organisation will still need accountants, just not as many. Perhaps those with 2-3 will now cut down to just 1 with the aid of accounting software.

For example, for accounting tasks that deal with a lot of manual work, such as Accounts Payable/Receivable, you can automate the process with OCRs than can read a whole document in 5 seconds. Much quicker than the few minutes a clerk usually takes.


Many are turning to the multitude of image and voice recognition software online, rather than a professional translator. Granted, you can’t trust online translation tools 100% as they may end up with some questionable results. But if living with dubious translation can save me money, I’ll make do. Also gone are the days where travellers would want to hire a translator to bring them around the city. With Google Translate’s instant translate feature, just point your camera phone at the foreign words and it’ll translate automatically.

If you’re looking to translate important business documents and official government letters, please do not count on online translation tools (though you should have known that already.)

Finance & Risk Management

Over the last eight years, the financial services industry has gone through tremendous change due to regulatory, customer, technology, and market challenges. Technological innovations continue to emerge, helping risk functions make better risk decisions at a lower cost. Some of these innovations include Big Data, Machine Learning, and Crowdsourcing of ideas.

The banking industry has suffered for a while now, and as a result, banks will need to lower their operating costs substantially. This means they will probably turn to outsourcing a range of processes to keep costs low. And since robotics perform tasks at high speed and high quality, financial firms welcome its implementation.

Market Researcher


Market Research is known to take extended periods and is costly. As such, traditional methods are being replaced with software platforms that deliver real-time insights.

Great examples of market research automation include digital-based data collection and sentiment analysis. With digital-based data collection such as facial coding and social media listening, it has resulted in fewer roles for interviewers. Sentiment analysis also relies on the likes of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to gather information to analyse social media to determine emotions (e.g. If someone was excited/unhappy with a new government regulation.)

Did you find the career you were interested in in this list? Be sure to check out an article we did on skills that employers are looking for to equip yourself with essential skills to make yourself relevant.

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