Travel Agents top list of 'most useless jobs'

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The US recruitment company, Career Cast has ruffled more than a few feathers with the publication of its list of ‘the most useless jobs’. Topping such mildly nonsensical gems as ‘atmosphere co-ordinator’ and ‘sign spinner’ came a role that doesn’t sound like it was invented by a marketing consultant and was once a feature on every high street – the travel agent.

Quite frankly, the arrogance of describing any job as ‘useless’ is pretty galling as one might be forgiven for thinking ‘Facetious List Compiler’ should be right up there at the top. However it is undeniable that the travel agent has nose dived in recent years in terms of its relevance, at least within the traditional travel market.

The report argued that "technology is the most consistent factor in rendering a job useless," adding that the internet had made travel a "do-it-yourself endeavour: you can book accommodation, transportation, discover restaurants and entertainment, and navigate your route online. Most phases of the travel agent’s job are accessible for users online and without fees.”

This is in many ways true and we have all experienced it. How many of us would even dream of contacting an actual travel agent? The closest thing to the traditional agency that is in mass use these days is the glut of ‘booking’ websites that allow you to trawl the net for hotel and flight deals.

And yet of course, the travel agency business has reinvented itself as a consultancy to the niche market. And the report acknowledged as much, though with something verging on reluctance. They said that that while “the traditional travel agent is no longer necessary... specialised travel agents still exist to tackle unusual or exotic requests, usually from wealthy clients. They've created a niche that has turned a useless job into a profitable one.”

Needless to say, travel agents are fuming and are making both their feelings and their relevance known.

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