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What Makes a Job Recession-Proof? Jobs You Should Look for in 2020

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While economic downturns are every bit as cyclical as economic booms, many people don’t think about recession-proof jobs until they find themselves in need. While new economic frontiers — like those experienced in 2020 — are difficult to predict, typically, the jobs that will last throughout such crises are the opposite.

Certain fields will always be considered essential to the “normal” functioning of society. This article will highlight the 20 jobs that stay in high demand, even through bad economies.

What Makes a Job Resistant to Recession?

A few similarities unify most recession-proof jobs, although the jobs are in different realms of work. When seeking positions that can withstand drastic economic changes, the first element to evaluate is whether the job plays a large or small role in the daily continuation of society as we know it.

A good example of a job playing a huge part in many people’s daily lives is that of a mail courier. Although the mail courier is just one person, their job affects countless others. Therefore, mail couriers and delivery people would be considered essential, guaranteeing them a position no matter what the economy is doing.


Recession-proof jobs tend to have at least one of the following traits:

  1. Saves consumers time. Whether this means providing an expedited service or handling the details of everyday life, a job like that of a professional courier or driver tends to resist recession.

  2. Assists big business sectors. Let’s face it: money does make the world go round, and jobs that are lucrative or in place to protect lucrative business will always have a niche. Examples include jobs in pharmaceuticals, IT workers, cybersecurity, financial advisers, and investors.

  3. Serves a universal need. Some jobs are recession-proof because society could not successfully function without them. Examples of this type of job include physicians and other health care positions, teachers, utility workers — including electricity, gas, and water companies — and grocers. These professions also enjoy the unique privilege of not needing to pivot or change tactics due to economic fluctuations.

  4. Serves a human vice. Two industries that enjoy upward or stable growth on a regular basis are alcohol and tobacco. For better or for worse, people are going to imbibe or partake, whether in celebration or in search of escape — and these fields are never without business.

  5. Provides an essential service. Senior care or child care services, hospice and funeral workers, firefighters, social workers, attorneys, and veterinarians all represent positions that fall under this essential category.

    The coronavirus pandemic has likewise seen many positions deemed “essential.” For instance, drive-thru food workers and curbside hosts have worked steadily throughout this current economic downswing. Stylists and aestheticians have been some of the first professionals to reopen their doors as lockdown measures begin to lift. New attitudes about what constitutes “essential work” will likely continue to emerge as 2020 marches forward.

  6. Addresses a difficult public need. Law enforcement officers, corrections officers, mental health experts, educators, physical and occupational therapy professionals, and paramedics do work that many consider too hard or too dangerous even to consider.

  7. Confronts an unavoidable day-to-day reality. Public transportation workers, auto mechanics, plumbers, electricians, pipefitters and plumbers, textile merchants, and waste management professionals will always be required for human activity to carry on normally.

    However, the current pandemic has created new kinds of recession-proof jobs, as well. One example is social commerce or the practice of utilizing social media as a means to drive sales. This means that you are likely to see many more businesses hiring social media managers and online content creators as the global market shifts, at least temporarily, to a more fully online model.

20 Recession-Proof Jobs to Look for in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has made the search for recession-proof jobs an active and new reality for many workers. The good news is that companies are finding innovative ways to hire employees and train people with profitable skills to do work that would not have existed five years ago.

For instance, in the fields of home health and animal care, the number of people staying home due to COVID-19 means those markets are seeing a need for more employees who can work with protective equipment or log irregular hours rather than set schedules.

Here are 20 recession-proof jobs you can expect to see a lot of in 2020.

  1. Firefighters: Emergencies and accidents do not take breaks during economic recessions. Firefighters and their equipment are called upon for much more than fires and are considered essential workers during any crisis.

  2. Law Enforcement: Unfortunately, hard economic times can lead to increased crime. Law enforcement officers are needed as neighborhoods and communities face vulnerabilities.

  3. Pharmacy Technicians: No matter the economic climate, people need their medicine, and pharmaceuticals have always been a field where recession-proof jobs could be found. With many pharmacies switching to new delivery models or contactless pickup, technicians have seen their roles expanded.

  4. Child Care Workers: Although some daycare centers and schools are currently closed, parents still have to work, and children still need enriching care. This means changes in child care are creating new possibilities in this field.

  5. Home Health Aides: With everyone spending more time at home, the most vulnerable members of our population have a greater need for in-home medical and support services. Physical and occupational therapists, hospice workers, and in-home nurses are in very high demand.

  6. Lab Technicians and Epidemiologists: As frontline workers battle for answers to the COVID-19 crisis, people who can perform scientific lab work or have training in disease pathology will be needed in every capacity.

  7. Animal Care Providers: Like our two-legged children, our four-legged family members require medical care and supervision too. Jobs in animal care, ranging from veterinary medicine to the shelter-oriented, will have a great need for skilled workers.

  8. Accountants and Auditors: As corporations and individuals recalibrate their financial plans, accountants and auditors have some of the most recession-proof jobs this year. With so much government funding going out in all directions, there will be a greater need for professional money management and accounting skills.

  9. Social Workers: As families face unpredictable hardships that require new approaches to community and their lives, social workers of every kind will be needed to face those challenges.

  10. Energy Utility Workers: Energy is a field constantly in need of skilled workers. Whether you are introducing green energy or performing HVAC installation, these types of professionals will see stability and even growth in 2020.

  11. SEO Specialists: As the world is forced to awaken to the benefits of remote work, search engine optimization (SEO) will continue to see a rise in jobs. Companies of all kinds are now in need of online material that can drive sales, so writers who can produce lead-generating text will enjoy a fair amount of job security.

  12. Online Teachers: Although education always ranks highly for recession-proof jobs, the need for high-quality online teaching has never been greater. Most schools and universities are now adopting e-learning platforms.

  13. IT Staff: With all of this new emphasis on in-home technology comes the express need for employees to know how to use the programs and apps that now govern so much of their workday. IT professionals in all fields will be in high demand as more and more companies extend remote work options, and distributed workforces become ever more the norm.

  14. Plumbers: Arguably, nothing is more central to human life than water. Therefore, plumbers and pipefitters enjoy a kind of recession-proofing unknown in many other fields. These jobs will continue to see steady employment during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

  15. Cleaning Services: As recession-proof jobs go, becoming part of a cleaning team has always been a safe bet. Jobs in hygiene and sanitation are now more important than ever, as offices and public venues face new standards of cleanliness.

  16. Healthcare Administration: Always at the top of any list of recession-proof jobs, healthcare administrators are now also frontline workers in the current economic crisis. The performance and output of medical staff will determine a great deal about how long other industries are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This means that more healthcare-related job openings are springing up almost daily.

  17. Medical Assistants: Just as physicians and nurses are increasingly being called on i, so are those who possess the skills to support the medical community in other ways. Office managers, lab technicians, data collectors, and medical coders will see increased job availability in the coming months.

  18. Couriers: Mail couriers and package delivery workers already see an uptick in available jobs, as more online shopping and contactless business transactions take over.

  19. Electronics Repair Specialists: As more of our leisure and work time is being spent on smartphones and computers, the need for professionals who can service our devices has likewise increased. Whether it is fixing a cracked screen or replacing an entire interior component, electronics repair specialists should see plenty of opportunities in 2020.

  20. Health Inspectors and Investigators: No longer only known for restaurant hygiene checks, the advent of contact tracing means a surge in positions for people who can run and analyze this kind of crucial data.

With the obvious exceptions of physicians, epidemiologists, and pharmaceutical technicians, many of these recession-proof job prospects for 2020 require little to no prequalified training. Some of these positions can be obtained by virtue of passing a specified skills test, showing proof of high school education, or evidence of work in a similar field.

Location Can Be Everything

Some geographical areas and socioeconomic sectors have been hit harder than others by the recent economic changes. Recession-proof jobs might be easier to find in places like Illinois, Texas, the city of Los Angeles, or in specific neighborhoods that are historically populated by minority groups, as these regions have been hit hardest by coronavirus-related changes.

If you are looking to utilize a specific set of skills in your next job or you’re serving a particular type of community, a job search that centers on location could be easier to track down because cities post openings and variant levels of emergency need all the time.

Rural America, New York, and the Northwest have all been designated as areas of high job loss and could be places where your skills are equally in high demand. While any of the recession-proof jobs listed here can be found in some capacity across the United States, for those willing to relocate, it may prove successful to search as much by location as by position.

Adaptability Is Key

For any industry to offer recession-proof jobs in today’s economy, it requires a measure of adaptability that may take time to perfect. Even essential jobs like those of healthcare workers cannot be immune to change if they want to see continued success. The good news is that the workplace landscape is adapting to this new reality every day, and new types of positions are becoming available as others take on remote options.

Like companies and employers, job seekers need to remain open and willing to learn to maintain marketability in an unstable economy. Joblist provides job seekers useful resources on trends in the job market, workplace news, availability of positions in specific areas, and handy online tools to perfect interviews or resumes. With moments of change come opportunities for growth, and Joblist is committed to providing the most useful and up-to-date information on the recession-proof jobs of today.

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