The job market is a dreaded place for anyone, and making the best career choice can be a huge decision to make. A key part of choosing a future career for many people is job stability. The reassurance of knowing your job will be around the for next decade is vital to our well being. However, with the wildly unpredictable economy, an economic downturn can strike jobs in unexpected ways leading to job losses. This means finding yourself one of these recession-proof jobs can save so much stress down the line.
So as you prepare for a future recession, here is a list of occupations to consider if you want to try and recession-proof your job. They could provide you with the inspiration to switch careers, which could both enhance your salary and protect your finances in the event of a global recession.
Top 10 Recession-Proof Jobs
Even when the economy is struggling children will always need to go to school, whether they like it or not. The mandatory education system ensures that teachers will be one of the last professions to be at risk of widespread job loss. Regardless if it is elementary, middle, or high school, there will always be demand for school teachers, especially in the core subject areas and specialized languages or sciences. This means that other forms of educators are more likely to be safe also such as teacher aides and extends to college professors. In times of economic uncertainty, many people choose to return to education so colleges see an increase in further education enrolment and need employees to teach consistently.
You usually need to pursue higher education to become a public school teacher, with a bachelor’s degree and certification through each state’s own process. College professors will go further in terms of education with master’s degrees and doctorates, which shows further education can help secure your job. By investing and taking the extra educational steps you can recession-proof your later career.
Also, teachers in public school systems are often members of labor unions, which can make their positions more difficult for a school to layoff. Having the security of a labor union behind you means that you can feel reassured that if your job is at risk, you have trained professionals supporting you and asserting your labor rights.
2) Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement roles are vital to maintaining an ordered, safe and cohesive society. This covers jobs such as police officers, federal agents, and detectives, amongst many. As these are necessary public workers, this sector is fairly secure in general and the need for various forms of law enforcement only increases in a recession. Some studies throughout the 20th century have shown that in economic downturns, crime rates fluctuate. Certain crimes increase and others decrease, and this unpredictability means that law enforcement is paramount for a safe community.
In a time of economic uncertainty, the last thing anyone wants or needs is a spike in crime or to feel like your community is unsafe. This makes police officers and detectives incredibly useful to keep local communities ordered and comfortable. Laying off law enforcement during this time seems nonsensical and unlikely to occur.
As Benjamin Franklin aptly said, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes. He definitely got that right as you still need to file your taxes, no matter the economy or any other excuses we can find. The financial industry is generally strong in terms of job security, with roles such as accountants, actuaries, and auditors being especially recession-proof.
Many people can agree filing taxes alone is one of the more complicated, tiring, and scary tasks we have to do as adults. Doing it alone, as brave as it can be, can mean that you make hugely costly mistakes that could’ve been avoided by hiring an accountant. The inevitability of taxes, and the difficulty of correctly filing them, offer job security to accountants in times of economic downturn. As well as this, accountants are especially relevant during a recession. In a time where everyone is worried about their finances, accountants can advise on wise investment and spending. Both companies and ordinary individuals may seek financial advice from an accountant in a recession to make the wisest choices with their money.
4) Funeral Directors
So, you remember the death and taxes quote? The unfortunate constant of death means that funeral services are another industry impervious to economic instability. The funeral industry may not be spoken about often but represents a long-standing, secure set of jobs that resist economic sways. The reality is that whilst people may not opt for a lavish funeral affair during a recession, they still need to commit to some form of burial.
You may not have grown up wishing to become a funeral director but it is an industry dedicated to providing dignity in death. This can include everything from caskets to dedicated burial plots, and organizing viewings and wakes. The recession impacts upon the role in so far that people will opt for cheaper options such as cremation over a burial, or cheaper urns. Funeral services are therefore indispensable and can be the perfect job to be in if worried about job losses.
5) Medical Professionals
Healthcare is another constant throughout all economic shifts. You can get sick at any point, so there is a consistent demand for nurses, doctors, physician assistants, technicians, and administrators. A key reason for job security is that many of these positions require higher education and specialist training. This makes the roles difficult to attain, but hugely rewarding in terms of stability. During a recession, you will find that public health suffers more due to an increase in stress and a decrease in making time for self-care. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the need for medical professionals when there is both a health crisis and financial crisis, registered nurses and doctors become one of the most significant jobs in our society.
However, not all medical professionals are considered ‘essential’ in such times. There is often a dip in elective surgery – you definitely don’t find as many people opting for facelifts in a recession. Another area affected is dental work, with dentists and orthodontists seeing a reduction of appointments. Despite this, careers in the dentistry industry are still quite secure during a recession in comparison to other sectors.
6) Mental Health Services
Life is stressful as it is, a recession sends these levels through the roof. This means we see an increase in mental health problems, substance abuse, and marital stress during turbulent economic times. Therefore, mental health practitioners are vital to ensure people get through such stressful times. Mental health and substance abuse professionals have always been a necessary part of society in general, so as the demand increases during a recession, they are more secure.
Various studies demonstrate that stress levels do significantly increase during a recession and people are now much more likely to pay for mental health services in the U.S. The scope of such roles may shift in a recession, with treating substance abuse, stress, and depression being more common than relationship counseling for example. With the growing need for such services, insurance companies often now cover partial costs of psychological care and treatment which makes people more likely to continue therapy during tough financial times.
7) Senior Care Providers
Caring for older, vulnerable people is an essential aspect of society. In a recession it can be more difficult for families to look after their elderly relatives due to added workloads and stress, making carers a vital job. Also, families may not be equipped to look after an elderly relative with complicated healthcare problems. For example, caring for someone with dementia requires full-time attention to ensure they are safe and specialist treatment to assist with brain development.
With the aging population of the U.S, carers for the elderly ensure that we can go about our daily lives knowing our cherished elderly relatives are being looked after. In a struggling economy, it can work out to be more cost-effective and efficient to use carers to help rather than bearing the brunt of care work. This means that carers are unlikely to see any risk of being laid off during recessions.
8) Public Utility Workers
As with many other sectors mentioned in this list, a poor economy doesn’t stop the need for utility services. These workers form the foundation of a properly functioning society. This includes areas such as electricity, natural gas, water, sewer service, telephone service, and internet. There is very little reduction in the use of these services during economic slumps – people are always going to want access to electricity. This demand ensures that technicians, administrators, and customer service representatives of these areas generally stay employed during uncertain times.
These areas are also either nationalized, or the government heavily regulates and monitors private providers. Regardless, this means that providers do not have to compete on the market in the same way as other sectors do, so utility workers find themselves safe in an economic downturn. As with many other occupations in this list, government regulation tends to result in more secure employment.
9) Emergency Services
Emergencies occur regardless of economic activity. The demand for emergency services such as the fire brigade or the ambulance service doesn’t change during economic ups and downs. These services are essential regardless of the state of the economy, which means many employees are still required in a recession. This includes roles such as paramedics, control room staff, and firefighters. Firefighters may even see the need for their work rise as there are more vacant buildings during a recession, which are at a higher risk for fires.
10) IT Workers
The internet has become an essential aspect of our daily lives which means technological workers are invaluable. Whether we are on our phones or working away on the computer, the average person spends a large chunk of their lives connected to the internet. This covers a large spread of jobs such as database engineers, programmers and developers, systems and data analysts, and website designers, to name but a few. The COVID-19 outbreak is a clear demonstration of the need for efficient software programs and IT workers to maintain this necessary software. The need for human interaction and continuing working from home owes itself to well-managed software. In a sense, IT jobs are not only essential in a recession but also allow other jobs to continue despite external disruption!
Whilst IT is an essential sector, there is a risk of jobs being shifted around. In big companies, some tech workers can be at risk of their jobs being outsourced offshore during a recession as it is usually a cheaper option. In situations like this, it is important to demonstrate the efficiency and skill you can bring to the job to keep it localized.
What is a recession?
A recession is generally described as a significant decline in the economy over a considerable length of time. When a country’s economy is healthy, it grows over time and this can be seen in how the value of the goods and services it produces, its gross domestic product, increases. However, an economy can shrink. A recession is broadly defined as when the economy shrinks over two three-month periods (two quarters) in a row. The last time we saw this happen across many countries was in the global financial crisis in 2007. It can be observed in drops of income and rising unemployment rates which can be met by political policies of austerity.
Recessions can occur due to debt, such as banks loaning excessive amounts of money and families being unable to keep up with their home’s repayments. This can accumulate over time in a recession. Or it can take place when an economy suffers a sharp shock, with the coronavirus pandemic as an example. The unexpected need for lockdowns inevitably leads to a shrinkage in the economy.
What are some jobs that are not recession-proof?
Some industries and professions are more dependent on the economy than others, therefore being at higher risk during a recession. This means that in general, jobs related to non-essential retail can be hard hit during such economic turbulence. From home furnishing to buying a new car, these aspects of retail are understandably neglected. Car salesmen are easily more at risk of being laid off than nurses or school teachers in tough economic times. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated this clearly with vast swaths of retail companies creating mass redundancies for the company to stay afloat.
The tourism industry is especially affected by a tough economy. Vacations do not look the same during a recession, as many families opt for staycations or local stays over expensive flights to different countries. Jobs focused on more exotic destinations, hotels, and air travel are especially hit by recessions, leading to wide job losses. The construction industry is also a wide range of careers that are hugely dependent on the state of the economy. Construction projects are often the first thing to be placed on hold in a time of tight finances. From large commercial construction projects to smaller home remodeling concepts, construction becomes less of a priority. This means all types of contractors, from electricians to carpenters, can see huge reductions in work.
Why do I need a recession-proof job?
Recent surveys have shown that nearly 3 in 10 U.S. adults have no emergency savings which means losing a job in a recession can be financially devastating! Recessions are usually unpredictable, and its impact can be life-changing if you’re not prepared.
In financial stress, many companies have to turn to redundancies and shift around their current workforce. Shifting the workforce often looks like reworking job responsibilities to combine multiple roles. Companies will often try to save money through salary cuts or heavier job roles. In these situations, one person could find their job descriptions and contract is very different after a recession. You may not lose your job as a result of the recession but this new role may be completely different from what you signed up for initially when taking the job.
What are the best jobs for a recession in the US?
There isn’t an ideal singular job to go for to survive a recession with your career intact, but there are definite areas that will be more secure. The easiest way to find recession-proof jobs is to think about the essential jobs that keep a society thriving. This can include school teachers, law enforcement officers, health care workers, or emergency services. These jobs represent the core aspects of society which will be resistant to redundancies in times of financial stress. Some industries can even thrive during a recession. The varying world-wide lockdowns due to COVID-19 showed that technology industries boomed due to the demand for interconnectivity without being in person.
Another link between the more secure jobs we’ve mentioned is that they often require specialized training; further education degrees, specialized training certification, and skill-based courses. This means becoming a certified public accountant, with your specialized certification, increases your job prospects in comparison to an accountant without it. It is going that step further and securing further education to make your job recession-proof.
Are there any jobs that are 100% recession-proof?
Unfortunately, no job is entirely recession-proof! There is always a slight risk to any job when facing economic uncertainty. However as mentioned, certain sectors will fare better in general than others. When we say recession-proof we are talking about occupations that can manage through and even thrive in a struggling economy. Even when working in a seemingly secure industry, you may find your job is at risk if the economy is slow.
No-one possesses a magic crystal ball to predict the next recession or how that’ll shape employment, but looking for a job in a previously recession-proof sector is a good place to start. If you have already managed to get a job in one of these areas then it is crucial to formulate a defense of why your job is essential and should be kept in difficult times.