These Are the Most Recession-Proof Jobs and Industries

Photo: A Black woman wearing a yellow blazer and light blue blouse stands smiling at the camera

The Covid-19 recession saw businesses across the globe failing, millions of employees getting retrenched, and many positions becoming redundant. At the same time as many were finding themselves jobless, others labelled ‘essential workers’ due to their job-type were suddenly working overtime. In the midst of a failing economy, these workers were overworked, but they also weren’t in any danger of losing their jobs. They were simply too necessary – the jobs they were qualified for were those that are key to maintaining a functioning society and public health.

You may be wondering how resistant your job is to changes in the economy, and how you would fare in another economic downturn. Read on to see the most recession-proof jobs and industries out there, what they have in common, and what to know if your job isn’t among them.

What industries and jobs are the least affected by economic downturns?

Financial Service Providers

Recession or no recession, people will always need to perform transactions and manage their money in various ways and will often require specialised professionals to help and give them expert advice, so the financial and banking sector is unlikely to be severely affected should an economy turn for the worse.

Finance and banking jobs that will always be cushioned against an economic downturn include:

  • Certified Public Accountants (CPA)
  • Insurance Underwriters
  • Actuaries
  • Tax Preparers
  • Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)
  • Claims Adjustors
  • Enrolled Agents
  • Auditors

Medical Healthcare

A decline in the economy doesn’t mean people will stop getting sicknesses, injuries, or mental illnesses, and medical professionals with the expertise, qualifications and equipment to treat them (or get them to the hospital) will always be needed, so it’s safe to say a career in the medical field is recession-proof.

These essential medical professions include:

  • Surgeons
  • Registered Nurses
  • Dentists and Dental Assistants and Technicians
  • Veterinarians
  • Physicians
  • Pharmacists
  • Chiropractors
  • Mental Health Practitioners i.e., Psychiatrists
  • Podiatrists
  • Emergency Responders
  • Ambulance Drivers

Education

Education at all levels is a high priority for societies around most of the world, as it is an investment in the future. A recession does not change the value we have for education, and jobs in this field will be secure for the most part during an economic downturn.

Positions in Education Services include:

  • Nursery, Primary, Secondary, Higher, and Adult Education Teachers
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Special Needs Facilitators
  • Administrators

Public Safety

Public safety may not be affected by economic recessions, depending on the situation. However, the physical safety of the public will always be a priority. Those who protect us and can help should we be in danger – be it a crime, a fire, or a car accident – will always be necessary.

Jobs in this essential sector include:

  • Police Officers
  • Firefighters
  • EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians)
  • Ambulance Drivers
  • Road Safety Officers
  • Security Guards
  • Detectives
  • Border Control Inspector
  • Chief of Police

Grocery Stores

People will always need to eat. As many will stop dining out – or do it far less – during times of economic struggle, they will be buying more groceries for cooking at home. Grocery stores, and the workers needed to operate them and help customers, are therefore largely resistant to recessions. This is particularly true for the more affordable grocery vendors, and it is important to note that smaller specialised stores – for example, health food or vegan-only shops – may not always survive economic downturns.

Essential jobs in groceries include:

  • Department Managers
  • Cashiers
  • Shipping and Receiving Clerks
  • Stock Clerks
  • Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers
  • Meat Cutters
  • Product Buyers
  • Custodians

Death and Funeral Services

Also called ‘death care’, this less talked-about industry will remain unaffected when the economy tanks, and those whose work involves taking care of the dead and their loved ones can be sure their jobs will most likely be safe.

Positions in this field include:

  • Funeral Service Worker/Manager
  • Grief Counsellors
  • Hospice Doctors, Aides or Nurses
  • Coroners
  • Embalmers
  • Funeral Directors
  • Cemetery Workers
  • Forensic Pathologists
  • Death Doulas

Public Utilities

Workers in this industry make sure critical public utilities such as sewage, waste, electricity, water, and more are operating. As these utilities, often provided by governments, help to keep society functioning and maintain public health, they are essential services and will likely not experience budget cuts or retrenchment in times of economic downturn. Jobs in Public Utilities are therefore recession-proof, and there are many types of roles.

Positions in this industry include:

  • Meter Readers
  • Office and Administrative roles
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Engineers and Engineering Technicians
  • Pipelayers, Pipefitters, Plumbers, Steamfitters
  • Electricians
  • Management occupations
  • Power Plant Operators
  • Business and Financial Operations roles
  • Electrical Power-Line Installers
  • First-Line Installation Supervisors

Specialised Care

This sits in line with the medical field and involves all the other kinds of services people can turn to for their health and wellbeing. These could be anything from substance-abuse counselors and social workers to occupational therapists, chiropractors, and home health aides. Customers will always value their health and be willing to pay for such services regardless of a recession, so jobs in this field will be able to weather any economic storms that may come.

Jobs in specialised care include:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Chiropractors
  • Social Workers
  • Elder Care roles
  • Nutritionist
  • Injury Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Health Educator
  • Home Health Aides
  • Physical Therapists
  • Addiction Counsellors

What do all recession-resistant/jobs industries have in common?

What is it about certain industries and jobs that protect them from being affected by a recession? Well, they all have one, or some of, the following three key characteristics:

1. They require specialised skills that can only be acquired through experience and focused training, which means people will always need them. For example, a medical doctor will always be needed as proper healthcare can only be safely provided by a certified expert.

2. They are necessary to keep society working properly. You are probably familiar with the term “essential workers” which has become an everyday phrase during the COVID-19 pandemic – and which has highlighted the most essential jobs and industries needed to keep things running smoothly. Think of grocery store cashiers, nurses, caregivers, transportation, and all other industries consumers can’t do without.

3. They aid with a consumer’s urgent pain or other urgent serious issues, such as a broken bone or a crime. Services like these will always have customers more than willing to pay for them if need be.

What if you don’t have a recession-proof job?

Don’t worry if your job does not have any of these exact factors or isn’t on the list in this post. There are many other jobs and industries that play a valuable role in maintaining a functioning society and add to people’s well-being, and which are viewed by many as critical.

However, it is always good to remain aware of what is happening in the economy and markets and be prepared for an economic downturn. Look at industry and economic trends to get an idea of how your role may transform in the future, and the skills it may require. Become a lifelong learner; read about new things and upskill yourself through free online courses or acquiring paid certifications. These kinds of things may help you to remain employable no matter what happens to your job in a recession.

Are you on the hunt for a new position? Visit CA Global’s job board to see the latest jobs in Africa across a broad range of industries, including Banking, Finance, Mining, Oil & Gas, Engineering, Legal, NGOs, and more.

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