The economy can be volatile and unpredictable, so getting a recession-proof job clearly has its benefits. The ability to have job security during economic downturns can provide peace of mind and keep you on a good financial trajectory.
This list of the best jobs to have in a recession will give you some ideas if you’re looking for a career that’s stable no matter how the market is doing!
1. Healthcare Professional
Whether you’re a physician, a nurse, or a hospital administrator, your job is safe during a recession. No matter the state of the economy, healthcare is an essential service. In fact, these jobs are even more crucial during economic turmoil.
Economic worries result in increased stress factors. As a result, many people have a higher risk of experiencing health problems.
Those who provide elective medical procedures might see a dip in demand. But for everyone else, their jobs tend to be quite recession-proof. Even supporting positions like janitors and receptionists have good job security.
2. Federal Employee
If you work for the federal government, economic troubles are less of an issue. Sure, disagreements in congress can lead to budgetary disputes and government shutdowns. But for the most part, these are some of the best jobs to have in a recession.
Governments still need to function regardless of how the economy is doing. Whether it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles or facilities in your local town hall, those jobs matter. If you work in the military, you might even find opportunities for growth despite relative stagnation everywhere else.
3. Law Enforcement
Here’s another job that’s absolutely necessary during tough economic times. If history has anything to show, crime rates tend to go up during recessions. People go to great lengths to get by.
Pair that with high unemployment rates, and crime is bound to increase.
Police officers, investigators, and other law enforcement jobs are paramount for keeping the peace. Like other government jobs, funding is usually secure, so there’s no need to worry about the effects of a recession.
Firefighters provide a valuable public service, and their work is necessary even in economic downturns. Fires are becoming increasingly common with climate change. Pair that with more vacant buildings, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
That’s why firefighters make our list of the best recession-proof jobs. Fire departments get their funding from taxes and municipal funds. It’s not directly tied to economic performance, and public service jobs like this usually receive high funding priority.
5. Hospice Worker
Hospice care is another crucial job that doesn’t wait for economic conditions to improve. There’s no way to stop time or put someone’s declining health on pause. As a result, hospice care is a field with excellent job security even in a recession.
Hospice care is unique to traditional healthcare. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for the elderly. It involves taking care of anyone with advanced illness approaching the end of their lives.
Hospice workers provide special care, and the skills involved are always in high demand.
Developers typically work in the IT space, creating software and maintaining systems crucial to our developed world. The pandemic showed that even if the world stops, sound technology and reliable communications are a must-have.
Developers might experience a shift in job focus during a recession. Publishers are less keen on investing in new creative projects, but developers are still needed for existing software.
They might spend their time refining features and working on back-end maintenance to keep things running smoothly.
7. Public Utility Worker
If you’ve ever experienced a natural disaster, you know how crucial public service workers are to a functioning society. We’re talking about the folks who work on electrical lines, sewage systems, natural gas distribution, etc.
Without these people working around the clock, we wouldn’t have the daily services we rely on. Things could get dangerous, and society as we know it would crumble. For this reason, these are recession-proof jobs that will always be relied on.
People still need their medications, and pharmacists play an essential role in this. While a recession will decrease the demand for non-essential drugs, it can increase the demand for medicines that treat anxiety, stress, and other conditions caused by economic struggles.
Pharmacists work with physicians to administer the prescriptions people need to stay healthy. They’re deeply entrenched in the healthcare system and are often a more constant part of people’s lives than physicians.
An actuary is someone who analyzes risks. They use tons of data to determine how risky potential investments are, helping businesses make crucial decisions that support the bottom line. They’re a big part of the financial side of doing business.
As you can imagine, actuaries are in high demand during a recession. They’re actually on our list of the best six-figure jobs! When the economy is in the dumps, every move a company makes comes with inherent risks.
Actuaries guide organizations in the right direction and can play a significant role in helping them come out of recessions without too much harm.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an appraiser, underwriter, or sales agent. Insurance is an industry with some of the best recession-proof jobs you can find.
Insurance providers typically experience a hit during recessions. Few people are working, and more people put their insurance at the bottom of the priority list.
However, insurance is necessary for most people. Homeowners need insurance to maintain their mortgages. Meanwhile, drivers need it to hit the road.
The insurance industry stays relatively busy despite economy-driven changes.
11. Divorce Attorney
Unfortunately, divorces are very common during a recession. Money is one of the biggest points of contention among couples. When economic struggles are unavoidable, disputes are bound to happen.
The data about divorce rates are split, but there’s no denying that economic pressure plays a role in couples splitting.
Divorce lawyers have nothing to worry about during a recession. Even if there’s no noticeable tick in divorce rates, people certainly don’t stay together just because of a recession.
12. Car Mechanic
Auto shops might notice a decrease in elective work and major repairs during a recession. But, there are some things drivers can’t avoid.
For example, they can’t drive without faulty brake pads or a broken transmission. Many people rely on their vehicles to get to work, so it’s an expense they must stomach even if money is tight.
On top of all that, people are less inclined to buy new cars during a recession. As a result, the number of older vehicles on the road increases, making the need for simple repairs go through the roof.
13. Debt Management Professional
Here’s another unfortunate reality of recessions. People go into debt and have trouble paying it back. Many end up maxing out credit cards to stay afloat.
Meanwhile, those with existing debt might have to look into management services to make paying it off a little easier.
Debt management professionals work with lenders to negotiate better interest rates and more manageable terms. They can work magic in helping people restructure their debt. Due to this surge in demand, debt management is a great recession-proof job.
14. Physical Therapist
You can consider physical therapists as part of the more giant healthcare umbrella. While they don’t diagnose or treat conditions like doctors do, they play a significant role in helping patients recover.
Injuries don’t stop because of a recession. As a result, the work of a physical therapist is always in high demand. Patients need therapists to get back on their feet and return to work.
15. IT Professional
IT experts have some of the best job security of any modern profession, especially with more and more of the world shidting to an online space. People had to rely on robust networks to communicate with family, shop for groceries, and work remote jobs.
As you can imagine, the demand for experienced IT professionals skyrocketed!
No matter the state of the world and economy, there’s no going backward in our digital world. As a result, IT professionals are great jobs to have in a recession. On top of that, this is a great job for introverts.
16. Bankruptcy Lawyer
Unfortunately, bankruptcies are more common during a recession. People lose their jobs, exhaust savings, and have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. It’s a sad reality that many must face.
Bankruptcy lawyers can help people navigate the complex process. They handle the legal side of things and can even negotiate better terms for their clients.
It’s not just the lawyers who have job security in a recession. Bankruptcy law is complex, so paralegals, assistants, and anyone else who works for an attorney benefits from job stability.
17. Public Transit Worker
While many have no choice but to rely on their vehicles to get to work, those who live in areas with public transportation will change the way they commute during a recession. Public transit usage tends to climb during these times since it’s cheaper than buying gas and it eliminates the headache of finding parking.
Anyone working in the public transit system likely has a good recession-proof job. That includes bus drivers, conductors, ticketing staff, and maintenance teams.
18. Funeral Home Director
It doesn’t matter whether we’re in an economic recession or an economic boom. People still pass away.
During tough economic times, families might forgo fancier ceremonies and flashy caskets, but the need for funerals remains. Surviving families still grieve, and there’s always a need for burial plots, cremation urns, and wakes.
Funeral directors might see a decline in overall profits due to less demand for pricier options, but their services will still be needed.
Studies of past recessions showed that veterinarians do relatively well during these times of economic decline. Many vet clinics have no issues staying in business.
Some pet owners have to make the tough decision to forgo traditional care. But things like pet insurance are becoming more common. Not only that, but low-cost treatments are necessary for many jurisdictions.
For example, many cities require pet vaccinations. Some apartments also require flea medications and other treatments only available from vets.
20. Delivery Worker
Believe it or not, delivery workers actually have a fairly recession-proof job. Why? It all comes down to stores shifting their priorities to online platforms.
It’s expensive to run a brick-and-mortar store. The last recession killed many popular brands, so retailers are eager to move their operations online. With every order comes a need for delivery workers to take it to its final destination!
Online shopping used to be exclusive to clothes and fancy electronics. But now, you can find everything from meal prep kits to your typical groceries. Delivery workers make it easy for retailers to tap into the online market while keeping the business afloat.
There are obviously pros and cons to being a teacher these days, but job security during a recession is a clear plus! As long as children and adult learners are looking to expand their knowledge, teachers are a must.
Even as home learning becomes more prevalent, there’s still a need for educators. It’s not just the grade school teachers, either. College-level professors are in demand as more people try to improve their skills and job prospects.
22. Mental Health Professional
Mental health providers offer a valuable service during a recession.
Any economic downturn can wreak havoc on the general public’s mental health. Life gets more challenging, stress factors are more prevalent, and anxiety becomes a genuine threat to the population’s well-being. Mental health providers are there to help people work things through.
Attitudes toward mental health have changed significantly in the last couple of decades. It’s no longer taboo, and more people view it as an indispensable priority than ever before.
23. Correction Officer
Correction officers work in the prison system. They can also act as probation officers, sit on parole boards, etc.
Prisons continue with business as usual when recessions occur. People still serve out their sentences and go through the prison system. Everything operates normally.
In fact, you could make the case that correction officers are one of the most recession-proof jobs on this list. Like we mentioned earlier, crime rates increase during recessions, leading to a higher demand for correctional workers.
Many businesses have no choice but to shut their doors during a recession. We’ve seen it in the past. Even well-established brands aren’t safe.
But one type of retailer has more job security during a recession than others. Everyone needs groceries. That’s one constant that doesn’t go away. Prices might go up, and people might have to spend less.
However, food is still a necessity! So whether you’re a manager or a grocery store cashier, you likely won’t be hit by the recession in the same way that other professions are.
25. Judiciary Professionals
Like correctional officers, those who work in the judiciary system tend to have very safe and recession-proof jobs. Courts must proceed regardless of the economic state. Both criminal and civil courts march on.
There are many roles within the judiciary system. In addition to judges, there are clerks, bailiffs, and sheriffs. Organizations that are adjacent to the judiciary system benefit, too. These include bail bond companies and bounty hunters.
We’ve all heard the saying: “Nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes.”
The latter is where accountants come in. An accountant is responsible for managing money. They help people do taxes, make smart financial decisions, and move money around.
While the economy might provide fewer opportunities to flourish economically, you still need to do taxes and stay on top of what you have. Accountants do just that, making their jobs secure even during recessions.
27. Social Worker
Social workers are the unsung heroes of society. They help people overcome problems at home. Whether that’s drug abuse or child neglect, they’re there to help families.
Unfortunately, these problems can get worse during recessions. With the economic stress surrounding every move, people get angry and lash out at their children or spouses. We need social workers to deal with that fallout.
This profession operates in the public sector. Social workers are government employees, so they have the same job security as other tax-funded positions.
28. Senior Caregiver
Senior caregivers address an important need in our society. Seniors require special care and deserve to age with dignity in a safe and comfortable place. Whether at a retirement village or home, seniors often need help from experienced caregivers.
Caregivers include everyone from nurses and orderlies to cooks and cleaners. Most assisted living roles are secure no matter what’s happening with the economy. There are always seniors who need help living, which makes experienced caregivers a recession-proof job.
29. Real Estate Investor
Real estate investors have many opportunities to expand during a recession. However, there are inherent risks.
Investors who rent out their properties might experience trouble. Rental default is common, and eviction rates climb. Evictions are an expensive route to go, so some landlords will suffer.
But even still, the job is full of opportunity. People will always need places to live!
Investors with a steady portfolio of income-producing properties can use the sudden rise in foreclosures to snatch up new investments at bargain prices. It’s a great way to grow once the economy stabilizes.
This list of the best recession-proof jobs should serve as a great starting point for anyone interested in a career that will thrive even when others cannot. It can also give you some ideas for others that might appeal to you as well!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.