10 Recession-Proof Job Fields for All Skill Levels

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Though not completely recession-proof, these jobs tend to be in demand across economic shifts.

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Although there's no guarantee that any job is safe during periods of economic uncertainty, there are certain industries that may be less susceptible to conditions like layoffs and reductions in force. These include the medical industry, the legal industry, and essential services, like grocery stores.

If you're looking for greater stability in your career, considering industries and professions that tend to remain in demand across economic conditions can be a good idea. In this article, we'll discuss jobs that tend to be more stable during economic upturns and downturns.

What is a recession-proof job? 

The term "recession-proof" can be a bit misleading. No job is completely safe from economic conditions. However, when people colloquially talk about "recession-proof jobs," they mean jobs that tend to be in demand, regardless of the economy’s status.

Certain jobs offer strong security, even during challenging times. Depending on what causes economic uncertainty, some jobs can be in even higher demand during tough times. 

10 recession-proof fields

Even when the economy takes a downturn, certain industries will typically need workers, including:  

1. Health care

Medical professionals tend to be essential, and within health care, there are roles for just about every education and experience level. Some common job titles in the medical field include:

Read more: 10 Popular Medical Majors for a Career in Health Care

2. Public safety

Those who work to ensure the safety of the general public tend to be in high demand despite what happens to the economy. Some common public safety jobs include:

  • Law enforcement officer

  • Firefighter

  • Emergency medical technician

  • Correctional officer

  • Security guard

  • Occupational health and safety specialist

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3. Education

Students continue learning through economic shifts, and they require teachers and school administrators to keep things running smoothly. This includes K-12 education and higher education as well.

During the course of their education, teachers learn skills like teaching methodologies, curriculum development, learning theory, classroom management, and educational assessment. Whether they work for a public or private institution, teachers may experience greater job security than in other professions.

Learn more: 8 Teacher Interview Questions to Help You Prepare

4. Law

While not all legal jobs are recession-proof, there are a few fields that tend to hold steady through downturns, including criminal defense, bankruptcy, and health care law. You don’t necessarily have to attend law school to benefit from the security of a legal job. Here are some roles in the legal industry that tend to always be in demand: 

  • Paralegal

  • Legal assistant

  • Legal secretary

  • Court clerk

  • Court reporter

  • Electronic discovery specialist

5. Finance

Finances and taxes are a necessary part of life, so people in these professions usually have plenty of job security. A few roles you might look for include:

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6. Mental health

Mental health professionals are often needed most during cycles of economic uncertainty. Jobs within this field may vary according to scope and responsibility and include:

  • Substance abuse counselor

  • Caseworker

  • Social worker

  • Therapist

  • School counselor

  • Clinical psychologist

7. Utilities

Utility workers are typically in demand because people depend on infrastructure—lights, water, internet—to live their lives. Education, training, and salary differ from job to job, but here are some options:

  • Power plant or substation engineer

  • Power plant manager

  • Safety engineer

  • Gas or pipeline controller

  • Utilities manager

  • Wastewater engineer

  • Power lineman

8. Trade

A trade worker is someone who specializes in a certain trade. They usually acquire job skills through an apprenticeship, technical school, or on the job experience. Some examples of trade workers include:

  • Carpenter

  • Plumber

  • Mechanic

  • Locksmith

  • Electrician

  • Pipefitter

  • Dental hygienist

  • Radiation therapist

9. Grocery stores

People may cut their spending during a recession, and that often means eating out less and cooking at home more. Enter: the grocery store. When people need food, essential services like grocery stores can help. Job titles you might find include:

  • Clerk

  • Stocker

  • Manager

  • Personal shopper

  • Delivery driver

10. Rideshare and delivery

Whether you're expecting an important piece of mail or your latest e-commerce order, you depend on delivery drivers for all kinds of things. That's why this job will continue to be in demand. Some specific roles include:

  • Rideshare driver

  • Food delivery driver

  • Package delivery driver

  • Courier

Read more: 15 Side Jobs to Make Extra Money

Recession-proof job skills

Beyond certain fields, you may find that there are certain skills that remain in demand through economic changes. These tend to be marketable, transferable skills that you can use no matter what job you're working in:

  • Adaptability

  • Creativity

  • Ability to multitask

  • Critical thinking

  • Leadership

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Time management

  • Attention to detail

A recession can also be a useful time to reassess your skill set and work on developing valuable technical and workplace skills either by completing a professional certificate, working on an independent project to gain useful experience, or enrolling in a class.

Next steps

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Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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