Industry Insights & Trends

A College Student's Guide to Recession Proof Jobs

With a recession pending, here's everything you need to know about what jobs are recession-proof and safe career moves to take.
June 5, 2023
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.

In an ever-changing economic landscape, the concept of "recession-proof" jobs has gained prominence. These are the jobs that remain in demand, irrespective of economic fluctuations. While no job is entirely immune to economic conditions, some offer more job security due to their essential nature. Let's delve into the world of recession-proof careers and explore the industries that provide stability even during challenging economic times.

What are recession-proof jobs and careers?

"Recession-proof" jobs stay in demand regardless of economic fluctuations. The unfortunate truth is that no job is entirely immune to economic conditions. However, some are more likely to provide job security because of their essential needs—think healthcare and food supply.

The Best Jobs to Have During a Recession

In the unpredictable world of recessions, the real job security champs are jobs that are deemed "essential." Even in the chaos of a recession, there's always a need for workers in industries where the economy plays tricks, heroes like healthcare, public safety, and education.

Looking for a job that will withstand the recession? Consider a career in: 


Just because the economy is declining doesn't mean healthcare needs are. Whether it's a broken bone or the full, illnesses always need to be treated. So, it might not come as a surprise that the healthcare industry is expected to add about 2 million new jobs by 2031.

Consider healthcare jobs like:

  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Registered Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Medical Laboratory Technologists
  • Physical Therapists

Public Safety

Public safety as an "essential job" probably seems like a "no-brainer."  Haven't you seen "The Purge?" Recession or not, public safety jobs ensure the safety and security of the community. 

Protect the community and your job with roles like:

  • Police Officers
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
  • Correctional Officers
  • Security Guards


Even in the midst of a global pandemic, schools still didn't shut down. Education is a continual process that runs because of hard-working teachers and administrators.

Secure education jobs include:

  • Teachers (K-12 and Higher Education)
  • School Principals
  • School Counselors
  • Educational Administrators
  • Online Instructors


Much like public safety, people always need to uphold the law and maintain the legal system. 

Recession-proof legal jobs include:

  • Paralegals
  • Legal Assistants
  • Court Reporters
  • Bankruptcy Lawyers
  • Criminal Defense Attorneys


In an anxiety-inducing financial situation like a recession, people turn to professionals to help manage money and taxes and provide job security. 

Secure your paycheck and help others save with jobs like:

  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Tax Accountants
  • Financial Analysts
  • Loan Officers

Mental Health

Speaking of managing overwhelm, mental health professionals are needed during economic uncertainty when stress levels rise.

Stable mental health jobs include:

  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists (e.g., Marriage and Family Therapists)
  • Substance Abuse Counselors
  • School Counselors


Picture this: no electricity, no water, no gas. A recession doesn't mean we're suddenly back to the middle ages. Utility workers maintain critical services like power and water, ensuring job stability. 

Examples of secure utility jobs include:

  • Power Plant Operators
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Water Treatment Plant Operators
  • Gas Pipeline Controllers
  • Wastewater Engineers


In a similar vein to utility workers, we need skilled trade workers for their specialized expertise, like fixing plumbing issues or making sure your house is structurally sound.

Recession-proof Trade Jobs Include:

  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • HVAC Technicians
  • Welders

Grocery Stores

When it comes to "essentials," food is at the top of the list, making the employees top job security list as well.

Job-secure roles include:

  • Store Clerks
  • Stockers
  • Store Managers
  • Cashiers
  • Personal Shoppers

What job sectors are recession-proof?

In short, the jobs that help society keep running have the most job security, even in recessions. These industries cater to fundamental needs, services, and functions that remain essential regardless of economic fluctuations.

What jobs get cut during a recession?

Since "essential workers" have the highest job security, it might not be a surprise that industries considered less essential may face layoffs more frequently. For example, workers in transportation & warehousing, construction, and repair, personal & other services are at a higher risk of losing their jobs during economic downturns.

Can you still get hired in a recession?

While some companies may stop hiring altogether, there is usually still a need to hire new employees to fill vacant positions or replace retiring workers. But with more people job-searching, it's important to stand out by improving your skills, networking, and writing a compelling cover letter.

Should I switch jobs if a recession is coming?

A recession should not stop you from finding a better opportunity. Whether you change jobs or stay put depends on your circumstances. Some great reasons for exploring a new job include a lack of career growth, a toxic work environment, or the desire to find fulfillment in your work. While switching jobs can be a positive step, it's essential to evaluate your options thoroughly.

Are new hires more likely to get laid off in a recession?

While layoffs can depend on a variety of factors, a new study from BambooHR, a human resources software company, found that 65% of HR professionals typically lay off newly hired workers first.

In conclusion, navigating the unpredictable terrain of a recession requires careful consideration of career choices and job security. While no job is entirely immune to economic conditions, certain industries and roles have proven to be more resilient and recession-proof. Healthcare, public safety, education, law, finance, mental health, utilities, trade, grocery stores, and more all play pivotal roles in sustaining our society, making them dependable sources of employment even during economic downturns.

As the economic landscape continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: the pursuit of career stability and growth is a journey worth undertaking, no matter the economic climate.

Ready to get started?

Learn how externships can help your business and students prosper.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.