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. But how can you stay on track of your financial goals in a recession? Being in one of these careers can help!
Table of contents
- What makes a career recession-proof?
- 19 recession-proof jobs
- Expert tip
- Skills for success
- Protecting your finances from difficult economic times
- What is the best job to have when the economy is struggling?
- How to still do well financially in a bad economy?
- Are there any jobs that are completely safe from layoffs and pay cuts?
- More recession planning related articles
- Consider these recession-proof 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. Many people will still be preparing for a baby, 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 bull vs bear 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, tech companies may do well in a recession, though this isn't guaranteed.
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. Working in IT may land you one of the high-paying remote jobs.
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 different types of bankruptcies. 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 if you find out how to get a full ride scholarship.
8. Teachers and college professors (High on the list of recession-proof jobs)
As long as children are born, the need for education services 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. (You may even find yourself wondering how to stop shopping!) 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 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. But regardless of income, grocery shopping on a budget 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 car expenses and 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, you aren't very likely to lose your job in law. 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 9% between 2021-2031. 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 average pay for a social worker is about $59,000, making it one of the more lucrative recession-proof jobs to have.
19. Insurance providers
People still need different types of 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.
When choosing a job that is recession-proof, try to find a career that you enjoy but also one that is part of people's everyday life. Meaning you want a career in something that people aren't likely to stop spending on. Jobs in health, necessities like groceries or plumbing, and mechanic work will still be needed regardless of the economy.
Skills for success
To give yourself better opportunities, there are some important money-making skills that you can start working on right away. Having a good understanding of these skills may increase your chances of landing a job and keeping one, even in a recession.
Especially when the economy is uncertain, adaptability is key. Being able to learn new skills, change the sort of work that you do, and adapt to changes is a great way to be successful.
Communication and networking
Having the ability to communicate well with others is important for virtually every job. And learning networking tips will increase your chances of success if you find yourself looking for a new job or a promotion.
Knowing how to be creative is a great way to keep yourself employed at all times. It may mean that you create a job for yourself by starting a business, or adding to your current job responsibilities and hours.
Depending on the industry you work in, you will need specific skills. Remember, it's always a good idea to brush up on your unique career skills and learn new ones to give yourself more job security.
Protecting your finances from difficult economic times
It can be difficult not to panic if a recession is looming and you aren't financially ready for it. However, there are some ways to prepare and protect your money.
The best way to protect your money is to start protecting it before a recession.
A smart way to go about this is to have a fully funded emergency fund, especially to help in case of job loss.
You should also consider paying off debt and large bills as soon as you can to avoid making payments later.
Last, continue to invest and add to your savings as much as possible. If you do this, you'll be more prepared than many for a recession.
Make practical changes
If it's already the middle of a recession and you're wondering what to do now, be practical.
First, if you have a job, work on your skills as much as possible in order to keep your career moving forward.
If you don't have a job, start networking and applying, and consider side hustles and gig work in the meantime. Read side hustle books and research your options.
When you're able to pay your bills, you can then focus on reducing your budget costs as much as possible and save up any money you can spare if you don't have much savings. That way, you'll protect yourself better from job loss and unexpected events.
What is the best job to have when the economy is struggling?
Jobs in necessary industries such as healthcare and insurance will continue regardless of a recession. Anything in an essential field is a good choice.
How to still do well financially in a bad economy?
Having a career that is recession-proof is a good start. Some more great things to do are to have money saved for emergencies, tighten your budget, and continue investing if possible.
Are there any jobs that are completely safe from layoffs and pay cuts?
While the future is unpredictable, there are many careers that are likely to continue through recessions and have in the past. Choosing one of the ones from this list is a smart move for your finances and life.
More recession planning related articles
If you liked reading this article about recession-proof jobs, you'll love these articles:
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.
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 can't figure out how to stop worrying about money, 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 high-income skills to improve your job prospects!