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 no matter what the strength of the economy.

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Although there's no guarantee that any job is safe during economic uncertainty, examples of stable, "recession-proof" jobs include medical professionals, legal professionals, and grocery workers. If you're considering career options, it's a good idea to factor in the economy’s effect on the field you choose. Learn about these recession-proof jobs and skills, and discover jobs that tend to be strong through economic upturns and downturns.

What is a recession-proof job? 

A recession-proof job is one that's always in demand, regardless of the economy’s status. Although no job is completely safe from a recession, certain jobs offer strong security, even during more challenging times. Depending on what causes economic uncertainty, some jobs can be in even higher demand during tough times. 

Recession-proof job skills

Recession-proof job skills are those that are marketable in any economy, and transferable skills are an example of them. These are skills that you can use no matter what job you're working in, which include:

  • Adaptability

  • Creativity

  • Ability to multitask

  • Critical thinking

  • Leadership

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Time management

  • Attention to detail

Read more: How to Use Transferable Skills to Land Your Next Job

10 recession-proof fields

Even when the economy takes a downturn, certain types of jobs always need workers to fill them; here are 10 examples: 

1. Medical professionals

Medical professionals are essential, no matter how the economy is performing, and there are roles for just about every education and experience level, from home health aide to physician. Depending on the role, you may need various types of training, education, and licenses. Some common job titles in the medical field include:

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

2. Public safety officials

Those who work to ensure the safety of the general public tend to be in even greater demand during a recession. 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. Teachers

As long as there are schools, we'll need teachers and students. During the course of their education, teachers learn skills like teaching methodologies, curriculum development, learning theory, classroom management, and educational assessment.

4. Legal professionals

While not all legal jobs are recession proof, there are a few fields that tend to hold stead 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 professionals

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 professionals

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

  • Substance abuse counselor

  • Caseworker

  • Social worker

  • Therapist

  • School counselor

  • Clinical psychologist

7. Utility workers

Utility workers are typically in demand, because we always need people to keep our lights on, our water running, and our internet working. 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 workers

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

  • Carpenter

  • Plumber

  • Mechanic

  • Locksmith

  • Electrician

  • Pipefitter

  • Dental hygienist

  • Radiation therapist

9. Grocery store employees

People may cut their spending during a recession, and that often means eating out less and cooking at home more. Enter the grocery store. People always need groceries. Job titles you might find include:

  • Clerk

  • Stocker

  • Manager

  • Personal shopper

  • Delivery driver

10. Drivers and couriers

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

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