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Jobs of the Future, Travel Agent Edition

There may be a promising future for new kinds of service jobs, according to two separate stories from the LA Times. First, the Times looks at the growth of travel agents, via a report recently released by the American Society of Travel Agents. The report finds that the demand for travel agents is high—so much so that salaries are rising and demand for qualified agents could soon outstrip supply. The reason?

One possible reason for the rising demand is that travelers are overwhelmed by the online travel website choices and are looking for a professional to make sense of it all.

“Travel agencies are seeing an influx of new customers who want a professional, vetted travel professional to cut through the Internet clutter for them,” said Zane Kerby, president and chief executive of the American Society of Travel Agents. “If you searched online for ‘hotels in the Caribbean’ or ‘European riverboat cruises’ for example, you’d find hundreds if not thousands of entries.”

A second LA Times piece on the demand for “patient advocates” in the health care sector paints a similar picture. These advocates “provide guidance on dealing with doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.” That can mean anything from negotiating fees and billing agreements to directing patients towards the correct care they need to helping patients understand and meet various health care rules and regulations. According to the Times, “the field has taken off in recent years as patients face higher out-of-pocket medical costs and the healthcare system becomes increasingly difficult for the average person to navigate.”

In both of these cases, the increasingly complexity of modern life is creating new kinds of service jobs. The complexity of the health care system is, of course, regrettable. But in general the complications of modern life, the sheer quantity of information and options that the internet age offers, isn’t going anywhere. That means jobs like these are going to be increasingly in demand—good news perhaps for those worried about the disappearance of jobs in the American future.

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