Let's talk about recession-proof jobs! Any time the mention of a recession hits the headlines, there is a sense of worry about job security, and with good reason.
In fact, let's look at recent history. During the 2008 recession, over 10% of Americans were unemployed. And 2020 brought a staggering loss of over 33.5 million jobs.
Recessions mean fewer job hiring opportunities, mass layoffs, and intense competition for the job openings that are available.
Higher education degrees do not guarantee job security the way they once did. People with degrees may even find themselves working low-earning jobs.
The fact is, during a recession, very few job sectors remain intact. And while the effects of a recession will look different for each of us, let’s be honest, a recession impacts everyone.
What makes a career recession-proof?
Recession-proof jobs are ones that tend to stay steady or even do well during a recession. While some careers are tied to the economy, such as hospitality and tourism, or some retail jobs, others stay fairly constant regardless of whether the economy is doing well or not.
These generally involve necessities or everyday life situations that people will pay for even when times are tough, such as food and healthcare.
These jobs are considered recession proof, or at least resistant to the effects of the recession. And they're a smart choice for those that want a job that is likely to stick around no matter what.
19 recession-proof jobs
Although no job is guaranteed, there are a few career fields that are impacted a lot less during a recession. Here’s a list of the best recession-proof jobs for a variety of education and skill levels:
1. Medical & healthcare providers (healthcare industry)
Whether you’re a doctor, physician assistant, nurse, dentist, mental health professional, or radiographer, a job in the medical field is a great place to work during a recession.
Our physical and mental health doesn’t care about what’s going on in the economy. People will get sick even during a recession. Babies will be born, and people will also need things like surgeries.
A job as a healthcare worker is a great choice if you are looking for maximum job security. No matter what’s happening in the stock market or with GDP growth, there are plenty of recession-proof jobs in this industry.
2. IT professionals (Tech industry)
We depend more on technology than we ever have in our lifetime. Whether it’s IT support, cell phone troubleshooting, computer repair, or building information systems, technology companies don’t seem to be as affected by the economic downturn.
In fact, now more than ever, businesses are using technology to reduce overhead costs by offering employees work-from-home options. So the tech industry also offers many jobs that are recession proof.
3. Utility workers
Utility worker jobs are among the list of recession-proof jobs because the need for support personnel in waste management, electricity, and other utilities is needed regardless of what the economy is doing.
These are core services for day-to-day living, so there's high demand. Jobs like electricians and plumbers fall into this category. This sector tends to have labor shortages as the labor force ages.
In a quote often attributed to Ben Franklin, he said: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Businesses will continue to need accountants as long as the tax system exists.
Accountants help both individuals and businesses with financial records, bookkeeping, and tax filings. So you see why accountants have the best recession proof careers!
5. Credit and debt management counselors
Unfortunately, many people turn to credit cards and amass more debt during financial hardship. A recession is no different. As people add to their credit card balances, more are going to need help managing their debt.
These counselors or specialists can help negotiate a reworking of your debt to reduce your personal liability and avoid bankruptcy. They can also help prepare your finances from further impact due to a recession.
6. Public safety workers
Security guards, ambulance drivers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers are more often in need during economic downturns.
Working in the public safety sector tends to be a safe bet in a recession. So you may consider transitioning into one of these recession-proof jobs.
7. Federal government employees
Federal government careers are one of the top recession-proof jobs you can have. Civilian and military jobs are less affected by a recession and provide more security.
Although disagreements in congress can affect hiring and budgets, working in the federal government is a pretty safe bet. There are opportunities in the military for career growth as well as the possibility of a higher education degree with little to no cost.
8. Teachers and college professors (High on the list of recession-proof jobs)
As long as children are born the need for educators never ceases. Education for those in K-12 will continue no matter what is happening in a recession.
Classroom sizes may get bigger and home learning may get more popular, but as experienced teachers retire and leave the education system the need for teachers will continue.
Teaching is one of the most unionized professions and comes with a long list of guarantees when it comes to job security.
Professors in higher education also benefit from things like tenure regardless of how the economy is doing. During the great recession, enrollment in higher education actually increased.
9. Senior care providers
Jobs at assisted living facilities and demand for in-home care aides continue to increase as the population ages. Which continues to be true even in a recession.
Everything from ambulance and other transportation services, to certified nursing assistants and home health aides.
10. Delivery and courier services
With many brick-and-mortar stores closing their doors, online shopping has increased over the years. Long gone are the days when you would just shop for clothing and books.
Today you can have almost anything delivered including meal prep kits, household items, groceries, and even alcohol. Businesses that have moved to the “work from home” models frequently use courier services as well.
11. Pharmacists and technicians
Just like hospitals and healthcare clinics, pharmacies will see a steady stream of consumers as people will need to continue taking their regular medications. When it comes to recession-proof jobs, this also tops the list.
12. Grocery store employees
Discretionary spending is among the first things to cut if you lose your job, and this includes dining out. Regardless of how trim you cut your budget, a trip to the grocery store is inevitable and this keeps economy grocers in business.
Pro-tip: Avoid specialty or high-end grocery stores when you apply as they may not be as recession-proof as the lower-end stores.
13. Auto mechanics
You may find it surprising that auto mechanics are among the list of recession proof careers. However, vehicles can break down at the most inopportune times, including during a recession.
Families will hold on to their vehicles a bit longer than normal during financial hardship. Which, in turn, means more maintenance on older vehicles.
14. Public transportation workers
Public transportation needs are always high in highly populated cities as people commute to work and other destinations. Also, as vehicle repossessions increase during recessions so does dependency on public transportation, creating safety in this job sector.
Transit workers, from bus drivers, mechanics, engineers, and ticket booth agents, are just a few of the transit jobs that remain safe during the economic downturn.
15. Lawyers and legal professionals
While not all jobs in the legal profession are recession-proof jobs, there are certain legal professions like bankruptcy, criminal defense, and divorce lawyers that might not be as affected.
The good thing is that jobs like court reporters, courtroom security, court record clerks, paralegals, and legal assistants can be jobs that are recession proof. When big corporate firms begin to lay off staff, lower-paid workers are likely to keep their jobs.
16. Funeral home director
In a recession, many things seem to stop, and, although morbid, so do lives. People die even in a recession and the need to lay a loved one to rest is still important.
While by no means an easy career, funeral directors are able to help families through the transition of giving their loved ones the send-offs they deserve, making it one of the most important recession proof careers.
If you are an animal lover, then being a veterinarian is one of the best recession-proof jobs to attain. In fact, spending on vet care grew from $4.9 billion to $35 billion from 1991 to 2015! Millions of American families own a pet.
So, you can see how this is a recession-proof business. Plus, helping animals is another big perk of the job.
18. Social worker
The job outlook for social workers is expected to increase by 12% between 2020-2030. Social workers help people cope and handle challenges in their lives, such as illness and unemployment.
They also work in various settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, human service agencies, and more. The median pay for a social worker is $51,760, making it one of the more lucrative recession-proof jobs to have.
19. Insurance providers
People still need insurance, regardless of the state of the economy. Things like car insurance are mandatory, whether we're experiencing a recession or not.
You can become an insurance provider for a specific company, or work with multiple companies. While there is a lot of sales work involved, this can be a lucrative and recession-resistant career.
Consider these recession-proof jobs!
While there are no 100% guaranteed recession-proof jobs, there are certain careers that appear to be safer than others.
A few other careers that may be less affected by a recession, or perhaps some would say, “recession-resistant”, are actuaries, debt collectors, auditors, and repossession agents. There are also several recession-proof businesses to consider.
The truth is that there is no easy answer to safeguarding your job. Recessions can raise stress and anxiety. One of the best things you can do is to be prepared and stay vigilant.
If you are worried about losing your job, be proactive and take the necessary steps now to transition into one of the jobs that are recession proof. And it's always worth it to learn new skills to improve your job prospects!