All economies go through boom and bust cycles – years of growth followed by years of recession or slow-down. Recession-proof jobs are always in demand, irrespective of the economy’s status.
During a recession, the economy contracts, and job vacancies shrink. A study on the Dutch economy found that the recession caused by the pandemic strongly hit the labor market – job vacancies fell by 30%, and the economy contracted by 8.5% in Q2/2020.
The job industry determines the stability of your job. It affects your job stability if you are associated with a job industry impacted by recessions or slow-down cycles.
So what jobs are recession-proof and stable during all economic cycles?
A job is recession-proof when it’s part of a business that provides essential services or products to people that everyone needs to buy to sustain life, irrespective of the economic conditions. Jobs associated with industries like Medical & Healthcare, Information Technology, Federal Government, Finance, and Legal are recession-resistant.
This article will go through recession-proof industries and jobs least impacted by economic bust cycles.
What Professions are Recession-Proof?
A recession could mean mass layoffs, fewer opportunities, and high competition over a few job openings. During the recession, there’s never a guarantee of employment.
Entire sectors could get impacted during recessions. For instance, the Covid pandemic significantly affected sectors like travel and restaurants. At the same time, the medical and technology industries remained intact and grew significantly.
Although a recession impacts all jobs, some jobs feel more heat during a downturn. And on the flip side, some jobs are much safer during economic downturns.
Below is a summarized table to help you identify recession-proof jobs and roles and check out why these jobs are safer during the recession.
|Jobs||Why is it safer during a recession?||Role|
|Medical and Healthcare Jobs||People get sick or injured.||Doctors|
Mental Healthcare Workers
Senior Care Workers
|IT Professionals||Digital Technologies will keep accelerating, and companies are shifting to digital space to reduce operational costs.||Programmers|
Information Security Professionals
|Federal Government Jobs||Finances and taxes are essential to life, and services are in demand even more during a recession.||Law Enforcement Officers|
Public Utility Workers (Electricity, water, sewage, waste)
Public Transportation Workers
|Finance Professionals||Finances and taxes are an essential part of life, and services are in demand even more during a recession.||Accountants|
|Legal Professionals||Not all legal jobs are recession-proof. Ones related to bankruptcy, crime, divorce, and health care will always be in demand.||Lawyers|
What Are The Most Recession-Proof Industries?
While no job is 100% recession-proof, some industries fare better than others during the recession and are considered safer.
During the 2008-2009 recession, construction and manufacturing industries took a hit and had sizable job losses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
See the graph below (Y-axis: Employment levels, X-axis: Year)
Industries like Education and Healthcare had sizable growth and remained quite strong during recessions.
See the graph below (Y-axis: Employment levels, X-axis: Year)
As a general rule, companies that sell basic consumer necessities like healthcare and food will always be in demand as people need to fulfill necessities, irrespective of economic conditions.
It’s an excellent strategy to consider the recession’s impact on industries when building your career portfolio. It reduces stress down the line when a recession hits.
Let’s go through a quick summary of recession-proof industries to consider in your portfolio:
- Healthcare – Medical and healthcare is an essential service, and this includes the veterinary sector as well. Both humans and animals fall sick and need medical care and attention, regardless of economic conditions.
- Education – Recessions might come and go, but investing in the future via education is essential. Jobs in primary, secondary, and higher education always stay relevant and in demand. The only thing changing is the delivery model – traditional classroom models are getting replaced with online and on-demand courses.
- Consumer Staples – People generally cut costs and cut down on eating out in fancy restaurants during a recession. And mostly stick to core consumer staples essential to sustain life irrespective of economic conditions.
- Federal Government Jobs – Working for the federal government is safer. You can be a civilian worker or in the military; both are equally good, with opportunities for job growth and education.
- Information Technology – As a society, we rely increasingly on technology nowadays. Technology has continued to make our lives better and easier. Businesses are investing more in technology to reduce overhead and bring overall cost-effectiveness.
What Makes a Business Recession-Proof?
Recessions and economic downturns keep happening in cycles. But going by history, many companies will prepare too little or too late and fail during hardships.
On the flip side, there are several businesses, which by the inherent nature of the goods, become resilient businesses during the recession and even record robust growth during difficult economic times.
So what factors cause a business to be recession-proof?
- Daily Household Items – Provide something of high value that even frugal customers will buy during times of economic hardships, like everyday household items
- Necessities like Healthcare – Businesses that provide healthcare services thrive during a recession. Irrespective of economic conditions, people get sick, injured, or old and need essential life-sustaining services.
- Budget Travel – The number one priority of a family during a recession is to save money and build a safety net to tide over tough times. People need to travel, and budget travel is highly popular, especially during recession times.
- Budget Services – The recession has always created new business opportunities. Businesses providing costly and ineffective services are prime targets to get disrupted and replaced by new and upcoming companies providing more effective services at a fraction of the cost. People love such services when trying to save more and reduce expenses.
How Do You Stay Recession-Proof?
A recession could happen at anytime, and predicting when it will happen is not in your control. But the only thing you can do and in your control is to future-proof yourself and make yourself recession-proof.
Making a few choices now and taking action to future-proof yourself against recession is the best gift you can give to your future self. This will help you avoid worrying about the upcoming recessions and economic downturns headed your way.
Below are some of the highly desirable recession-proof habits to develop that would see you comfortably through tough times.
- Acquire recession-proof job skills – Irrespective of the industry you are associated with; there’s always room to acquire new skills and keep learning. Coursera offers great courses to make you valuable and in demand in the job market. And if you are starting your career, or making a career transition, check out the recession-resistant jobs and industries in this article.
- Additional Income – Creating additional income streams helps to bring in more revenue and reduce your financial burden. Be open to jobs outside of your core expertise; there are many opportunities for side income jobs like being a Personal Assistant, Ride Share, Delivery Driver, Care Giver, Pet Sitter, Rent your spare room or Freelance gigs.
- Clear Your Debts – Paying down all of your debt before a recession is crucial. It helps to take out a lot of your stress during the economic downturn. If not, you might get caught in a financial debt trap, with rising interest eating on your savings and hard-earned money.
- Spend Less – Make it a habit to spend less and within your means during the good times because bad times are just waiting around the corner and will surely come. If you have a partner, try to live off one person’s income, so the rest becomes savings, which will be useful during the recession.
- Build Emergency Fund – Generating an emergency fund goes hand in hand with clearing your debts and spending less. During economic turmoil, the emergency fund provides excellent relief to run your household and daily expenses if you are forced to take a pay cut or lose your job.
The problem suggests the solution.Tom Payne
While we can’t say that a particular job or industry is 100% recession-proof, some jobs, and industries are much safer than others during a recession.
Recessions are part of economic cycles and are a cyclic process. While you can’t eliminate recessions, you can reduce stress levels by associating yourself with safer, recession-proof jobs and industries.