As much as we'd like to avoid them, economic recessions are just a part of life, and recessions don't simply mean our GDP is regressing.
Most people associate with recession are job losses. Unfortunately, there are no jobs that are 100% safe when it comes to a recession, but there are jobs and industries that tend to fare better.
There's no guarantee you can go out today and easily land one of these professions, but with a little bit of planning and training, you can certainly increase your chances. If you are starting your new career in the workforce, thinking about a career change, or protecting yourself whenever the next recession comes around, below are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Tech Industry
There is no denying that technology is everywhere. Computers, phones, even our refrigerators have wifi at this point. There will always be a need for IT\Tech professionals of all kinds. Whether you're helping troubleshoot corporate network issues, fixing cell phones or computers, or developing a new piece of software or app, you'll be in high demand during all sorts of economic situations.
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2. Healthcare Industry
We can't control when we get sick or will need other medical attention. Recession or not, a profession in the healthcare industry will be a safe place to be. Doctors, Nurses, and other licensed professionals will be needed no matter the economic conditions.
Seeing that it takes time and money to obtain any medical license, simply being in the same building can give you a leg up. Hospitals run 24\7, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. There are tons of positions that need to be filled. Clinics, urgent care, and other medical facilities will have similar options that require much less training.
3. Physical Therapy
Sticking to a healthcare-related profession, physical therapists will be in need during a recession without much decline. People will continue to get hurt, have surgery to recover from, and require many other services physical therapists can provide. Working for yourself or as part of a group, having physical therapy training will provide you with some recession-proof income.
4. Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technicians
Another extension of the healthcare industry is the professions related to working in a pharmacy. Medications, prescriptions, and other health products will always be needed, and working at a pharmacy will help ensure you are in an excellent economic position at all times. The top professions that come to mind are pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Both require formal training and education that doesn't happen overnight but are entirely worth the time and effort.
5. Big Pharma
As noted, people will get sick and need all sorts of prescriptions during all economic times. Someone needs to make them, right? Most pharmaceutical companies would be a safe place to work, but the big ones are safer. Companies such as Merck, Novartis, Eli Lilly, etc., have offices worldwide and positions for people with different skills and education levels. Big Pharma will provide a safe place to work during any economic conditions.
6. Senior Care Workers
Getting old is never fun, and some of us will need more help than others. The senior care industry will always have a demand. It could be working in a facility or visiting clients in their homes, ensuring they have everything they need. Until we find the fountain of youth and stop ourselves from aging, there will always be a need for the workers who help our elderly.
Medical conditions aren't limited to just us humans. All our furry friends and critters will still need the same medical care as well. People might be skipping the groomers or hold off on other low-priority issues. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that people will still do whatever it takes to keep their pets happy and healthy.
As with before, simply working with Vets can be relatively safe as well. Keeping track of appointments, assisting the vet, answering phones, everything to keep the practice running will still need to be taken care of.
8. Finance Industry
You might think that the finance industry would take a hit when money is tight, but that's not necessarily the case. Financial advisors will need to help people budget their money better or figure out the best places to pull additional funds from if required. Accountants will still be filing tax returns, and banks will still be open. Most job opportunities associated with any of these professions and businesses will likely be in a better position to weather any recession.
Individual people won't be the only ones needing financial guidance. Companies will need help getting through rough times as well. Any of the previously mentioned jobs will be helpful. In addition, credit\bankruptcy and other financially focused lawyers would be beneficial to companies as well.
An actuary uses math and statistics to estimate the financial impact of uncertainty and help clients minimize risk. This might be the perfect profession to have during an economic recession. Companies of all shapes and sizes will be looking for the best ways to navigate through the uncertainty that comes with a recession. Actuaries can help provide different strategies and outcomes for different approaches any given company might make.
For a recession-proof as being an actuary may be, it is also a difficult position to obtain. Only by completing an undergraduate degree and courses that can be very difficult will you make a living in this profession. If this is something you might be interested in, starting the process as soon as possible is advisable.
10. Mental Health Professionals
Our bodies aren't the only thing that needs therapy. Maybe even more critical during an economic downturn, people will continue to need an outlet and a way to help navigate the complex world that is our minds. There is always the potential for patients to pull back on the number of visits, but make no mistake, professionals such as psychologists, physiatrists, and other counselors will still be in high demand during all kinds of economic conditions.
11. Social Workers
Similar to physical therapists, social workers are an extension of the mental health community. Social workers typically work with those who need some extra help at home with special needs. Economic struggles might even increase the need to have more social workers as families and individuals will be under more stress and pressure, increasing their demand for the help that social workers can provide.
12. Legal Professionals
No matter what the economy is doing, legal professionals will always be needed. Legal disputes don't tend to work themselves out and are typically not straightforward. Lawyers will be required for all sorts of legal advice and help. Lawyers can't do it all on their own either. There are tons of role players at law firms needed to be successful as with the medical world. Paralegals, legal assistants, researchers, and many many more all help keep the legal world moving.
On the same page, courts are another legal entity that won't be taking a big hit during a recession. Judges, bailiffs, clerks, and stenographers are just a few examples of job openings that courts will need at all times.
13. Funeral Workers
Not the most glamorous of industries and maybe not everyone's favorite to talk about, but as much as other parts of life are unavoidable, so is death. With that comes the various professionals within the funeral industry. Funeral homes, cemeteries, and other related businesses will need as many workers during economic good times and economic bad times.
14. Utility Workers
Even when the economy takes a turn for the worse, the world of utilities must still go 'round. Utilities like water, electricity, infrastructure, garbage pick up, and many others still need to get done. The salaries of most of these professions are typically part of the taxes paid by town residents. It's a rarity to see those drop, so the revenue for these salaries is still coming in. Being a part of any facet of the utility industry will help shield you in case of a recession.
15. Trade Workers
Cars break down, pipes leak, and wires need fixing. No matter the economic conditions, trade works like mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and many others will always be required. Having the skills to perform these types of tasks or being an apprentice on the job will give you some excellent job security whenever a recession rolls around.
16. Public Safety
There will be no shortage of emergencies during an economic downturn. Public safety professions are needed in good times and in bad times. Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other similar professions can all be considered in the recession-proof category. None of these jobs are easy though, make sure any of these are something you are very interested in doing as they can be dangerous, and people's lives can be on the line.
17. Corrections Officers
Similar to police officers, corrections officers shouldn't see much of a drop-off during a recession either. Other jobs in the industry like parole officers should be relatively safe as well. We can't let people who are required to check in with these officers suddenly start doing anything they want because of a recession, so the officer jobs should be safe.
18. Federal Government Jobs
Federal jobs are almost always very stable, and there are a wide variety of positions available. Budgets for the federal government are typically not very strained by the economic conditions. No matter what sector of the government you work in, you should be in a safer position than others during any recession.
Learning and education are always a crucial part of our society, no matter what the economy does. Teachers and professors are always needed to educate the younger generations. Seeing that educators get tenure and have a powerful union, your job will be one of the safest around during a recession.
In most cases, especially with public schools, taxes are the main form of funding for education. Even if you are not an educator, other jobs that the school may require should be relatively safe as well. Maintenance works, teacher assistants, administrative roles are needed just as much during economic booms and busts.
20. Insurance Professionals
These days, we have insurance policies for almost everything. Life insurance, car insurance, health insurance, house insurance, the list goes on. Most people don't cancel their policies during an economic downturn. People will get sick, get in accidents, and have damage to their homes no matter what. The insurance professionals will need to be there to help guide them through the process. Obtaining a job at an insurance agency will result in some extra job security during a recession.
21. Delivery Services
If we've discovered anything in the past few years, people love convenience, and the delivery service industry is just getting started. These days, it seems like you can have practically anything delivered right to your doorstep, and that's not going away. Whether it's a full-time position or part of the “gig economy,” there will always be a demand for this industry.
22. Grocery Store Workers
Maybe not the most glamorous place to work, but people must eat, right? Grocery stores shouldn't see much decline during poorer economic conditions. Cashiers, managers, stockers, and other positions will still need to be filled to keep the stores running.
23. Public Transportation Workers
People have to get around, right? Busses, taxis, trains, even Uber and Lyft will all still be chugging along quite nicely during any downtimes. Drivers, conductors, attendants, and other positions will need to be filled to keep stations and other public transportation facilities running smoothly. Securing a job in one of these roles will help ensure you won't feel the effects of any recession.
No job or industry is 100% percent recession-proof, but some are less susceptible to an economic downturn than others. You should always be financially prepared as you never know what could happen, and getting yourself into one of these industries or roles will help your odds on keeping all or most of your income during good and bad economic times.
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he's not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, or just playing around with his kids.