Can your job survive a recession?

"Recession" is not an easy word to toss around. When people think of a recession, they automatically think of reduced spending, job losses, and a rise in unemployment, which are all hard ideas to digest.  

However, like sea levels and waistlines, the economy is an ever-fluctuating cycle ‒ it booms, it drops, it rises again. And with the outbreak of COVID-19, the economy is taking a turn for the worse. Those characteristics of a recession are becoming a reality.

This can leave many workers wondering, which careers are most likely to survive an economic downturn? Whilst there is no set guarantee, there are certain positions and industries that are considered essential for the day-to-day functioning of society. No matter the economic situation, these jobs are most likely to remain strong in a tough job market. Read on to discover if your industry makes the list of recession proof jobs.

Healthcare professionals

There will always be a high demand for health care workers, including nurses, doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, physical therapists, and other medical practitioners, no matter the economic climate. Similarly, administration and caretaking staff involved in keeping hospitals and medical facilities running smoothly are well-positioned to remain employed during a recession and offer stable job security. Many of these positions require higher and further education and specialised qualifications, so they're not easily attainable. But if you put in the work, you can be rewarded with a more stable career.

Specialised care services

In addition to medical practitioners, specialised care services are essential across the country. For example, elderly-care workers, disability carers, social workers, home healthcare assistants, and mental health counsellors remain in constant demand. The scope and amount of work available may dip during a recession, but there will always remain a need within the community for such services.

Financial services

The financial services sector covers many roles and, unfortunately, not all of them are safeguarded during a recession. However, some facts are undeniable. For example, tax season is unavoidable. This means that even in a recession, there will be a need for accountants, auditors, and tax agents. Similarly, people will undoubtedly need to move money, so banking staff may remain in demand. There's no hard and fast rule as every situation is different, but as a general guideline, financial services is a strong industry that is positioned to provide a certain level of recession proof job security to many workers.

Law enforcement

The safety of the community is paramount in any situation or climate, which means police officers and supporting law enforcement staff are considered essential at all times. The relationship between economic downturns and crime is a difficult one. Some crimes are expected to decrease during a recession, others may increase, and some don't seem to have any effect at all. Regardless of this, law enforcement remains a critical part of society, and staff are likely to experience job security through tough economic times.


Traditionally, public-sector roles have fared better than private-sector roles during times of economic downturn. For instance, the need for education does not stop during a recession, so primary, secondary, higher, and adult education professionals remain essential to the normal functioning of society. This applies not only to teachers and college professors but also to school administration and caretaking staff. As varied ways of learning, such as distance and online learning, become more common, the mode of education may change during a recession. Still, the need for educators will remain intact. 

Utility services

Without energy, water and waste management services, our cities would not be able to function. Therefore, workers whose roles directly contribute to the proper functioning of these services can expect to feel a certain level of security during tough economic times. It goes without saying that nothing is guaranteed, especially in a recession. However, on a scale of essential to non-essential jobs, utility services are high on the list.

Emergency services

The demand for emergency services such as the fire brigade and ambulance service does not change during economic ups and downs. These services are essential regardless of the state of the economy, which means many jobs will still be required in a recession. This includes roles such as paramedics, control room staff, firefighters, and support staff.

Thinking of changing careers to something that will be secure during a recession? Most of the positions mentioned above require specialised qualifications, further education, and/or a university degree. To find out more about the skills and qualifications needed for a particular position, visit the National Careers Service. Then, learn more about how to write a CV when you want to change careers.

If an economic downturn has you searching for a job, ensure that your CV is at its best. Submit it for a free CV review today.

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