Best Careers for a Recession

December 27, 2008

The moment that I realized this economic downturn was real was the day that I quit my job to move to Orlando. I thought to myself, “I won’t have a problem finding another job”. Three months later, I’m very aware that the economic downturn is real.

I have applied for numerous jobs without receiving any call backs. I’ve revised my resume numerous times, and I’ve applied within several different industries. The fact is that many companies are not hiring right now, they are waiting to see if the economy will be jump started in 2009.

Recession Proofing Your Career

However discouraging the job hunt may be, don’t feel defeated in your career just because the economy has slowed down. Certain industries are hit harder than others during a downturn, you may be able to find the same type of job in a different industry.  Another option is transitioning into a similar job that requires many of the same skills but is in a better industry.

Here are some tips for finding a career that may be a little more stable during a recession.

Choose A Job That The Population Demands Regardless of Economic Climate. Jobs in medical, pharmaceutical, and other health care related industries will likely always be in demand no matter what the economy is doing.

Consider a Government Job. The government needs to run despite downturns in the economy. You might see some downsizing but there’s much less of it than there is in the public sector.

Show Your Worth To The Company. Choose a job or career that is involved in saving your company money or generating new income. Cost centers in companies are scrutinized the most and reveue generating sections find it harder to get rid of people while still meeting client demands.

Recession Hardy Careers

CNN Money has a list of recession proof careers that should feel less of an impact from the weak economy.

  1. Financial Adviser
  2. Software Program Manager
  3. Database Administrator
  4. Physical Therapist
  5. Physician Assistant
  6. Hydrologist
  7. College Professor
  8. Certified Public Accountant
  9. Teacher

Education, Information, Technology, and Health Care are great industries. Their demand is less affected by the economic climate since these types of jobs always need someone to fill the role.

My wife is a physician assistant, and she will never have a problem finding a job. Right out of school, she had recruiters calling her to get interviews. She had to turn down several job offers after taking her first job. It’s a great profession, and it’s a great alternative to spending 10 years trying to become a physician. 

Best Careers for 2009

US News and World Report has compiled a list of their top 30 careers for 2009. I like their list, because it has careers that aren’t as well known but sound as though they could be pretty rewarding. Here is the list:

Switching Careers

This article is near and dear to my life, because I am currently in the process of figuring out a new career to pursue. I want to do something that excites me when I wake up every morning, and I want it to make a difference in my community.

Career Options

I have been leaning towards developing a financial counseling business, because I am passionate about helping the everyday working family with their finances. Many financial planners and advisers pursue only high net worth clients, but it’s the average American who really needs help and direction with their money.

We have thousands of people every day that are foreclosing on their homes, battling massive amounts of debt, and getting harassed by credit collectors. I want to help those people. That’s my thought right now, but I need to do something in the meantime to help pay the bills!

What are your career passions? Are you in a job right now that doesn’t satisfy you? Do you wake up every day dreading the thought of going to work? Let’s help each other find the career path we were meant to pursue.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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12 Responses to Best Careers for a Recession

  • Nic

    Apparently a good area for graduate careers is sales too. If you think about it, one of the things a company will need to weather a recession is a good sales team. It’s not for everyone but if they were unable to find anything else, I’m sure they’d be willing to learn.

  • Jones

    I’m a College Professor and nothing beats this job. It will always be in demand in time of need like this. People need to further their education in order to make a good living out there.

  • thomas

    There is a reason I do not go to CNN for news. Their “top job” only upholds my belief. They might as well say Death Valley Lifeguard.

  • Liz

    I feel that my job is recession proof meaning it is unlikely I will get downsized. I work as a court appointed criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately as the recession continues, more people are unable to pay for an attorney so I get appointed. Sadly, crime often goes up as people are losing jobs. I wish it wasn’t like that but it is a sign of the times.

  • Studenomics

    In my opinion what it comes down to is whether or not the service you provide is a need that determines whether your career is recession proof. Certain services will always be needed (Rn’s, Firefighters, etc.) but chances are people would consider cutting their own grass/not paying for certain construction work around the house when times are tough.

  • Paul

    Since I was not very nice last time to you with the “LOOSE” correction, I wanted to offer an option for you for your career path. Have you ever thought about becoming an insurance agent? I know, INSURANCE? But did you know that insurance companies are branching out to become all around financial providers? Look into this option if you’re serious about helping people because that is all an insurance agent does. You collect a book of business throughout the years and you help each and every one of your clients reduce their risk exposure, build their retirement funds and help them with the everyday finances through the insurance company’s bank or through their affinity partner (i.e., a bank). You have to obtain your licenses and have a small nest egg to keep the company up and running through the beginning years. Or you might want to work in an insurance agent’s office to see if you like this type of work. Insurance is something that will never go away and everyone needs it in one form or another. Plus, you can be that go to guy in your community for financial questions. Good luck with your career path ! ! !

  • marci

    I’m just surprised that there are no mentions in there of basic services/utilities jobs… like water dept, electric company, garbage, recycling, farming…. those are the jobs that just don’t go away and good people are always needed. At least in our community. They might not pay the most, but they are rock solid.

  • Eric J. Nisall

    Interesting how 2 of the top 9 recession-proof careers are finance related. There is already a stigma attached to financial advisors due to all of the scandals relating to ponzi schemes, stock and fund ratings scams, accounting scandals, etc. Not to mention the frugal side where people believe that by reading and trying to educate themselves they can do the job of accountants and financial advisors/planners (or pretty much any professional besides doctors for that matter) and pocket the savings.

  • Peter

    I have been leaning towards developing a financial counseling business, because I am passionate about helping the everyday working family with their finances.


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