Career Advice

Recession-Proof Careers: Industries That Thrive in Economic Downturns

A recession is what happens when the economy shrinks. While there are many causes of economic downturns, such as less household spending, fewer investments, and supply chain issues, most recessions lead to layoffs, hiring freezes, and if you’re a worker looking for employment, a lot of competition for the limited jobs posted. 

However, the good news is that no two recessions are the same. In other words, not every industry will be severely affected by an economic downturn. In fact, some industries actually thrive. 

If you are entering the workforce or looking to make a career change during an economic crisis, here are some recession-proof industries you should consider:

Recession-Proof Careers: Industries That Thrive in Economic Downturns


The healthcare industry continues to thrive during a recession because people are still going to get sick, need surgery, and develop illnesses regardless of the current economic status. 

Since there will be the same demand for necessary healthcare services during a recession as there was before it, hospitals, doctor offices, and family planning clinics aren’t likely to cut funding or conduct massive layoffs. 

Although it’s a morbid statistic, another reason why the healthcare industry rarely buckles in an economic downturn is that financial stress can lead to the development of chronic ailments or mental health conditions, such as depression.



Like the healthcare field, the utility industry is unlikely to face issues when entering a recession because our consumption habits don’t change. 

While you can budget for groceries and eliminate other expenses, the amount of electricity or water you use monthly won’t change in a recession. Even if you do change your habits, it’s not likely to make a huge dent in your monthly expenses anyway. 

So if you’re considering a career change, working for a local utility company could be a great option because their services are always in demand, and since they’re regulated, rarely see any new competition from other companies in the market. 



During a recession, it’s not just homeowners who will try to cut back on extra expenses; it’s companies, too. Usually, one of the first projects to be put on hold relates to IT, mainly any project that would have resulted in an overhaul or update of an existing system. 

However, that’s not to say that every kind of technological or IT job suffers during a recession. As with the others on this list, some explode in popularity. Two examples are remote desk support and cloud architects. 

The reason why these two tech-related jobs are in demand, regardless of economic status, is because companies still need to operate. Since nearly 30% of the current workforce is still remote, support desk techs can help reset passwords, diagnose internet problems, and find solutions so employees can stay on task. 

Likewise, employers store much of their work and strategies on the cloud, so keeping a cloud architect on staff can ensure that this process is reliable and accessible, especially considering many disconnected departments use it. 


Financial Advisors

When the economy hits a snag, financial advisors experience exponential growth. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the recession of 2007 – 2010, financial advisors ranked among the top five most secure professions. 

Simply put, financial advisors help those with debt and who are struggling financially restructure their spending habits to live more sustainability. During times of economic turmoil, people often turn to financial advisors for advice on how they can cut costs and still stay afloat. 


Food and Beverage

Like all the other industries mentioned here, food and beverage remains pretty secure during a recession because, like your monthly water bill and healthcare, you need it to survive. 

Keep in mind that this usually only refers to grocery stores, as people will cut back on eating out in favor of buying food to save money. 

Though the most common careers at a grocery store include cashiers and stockers, there are opportunities for management, pharmaceutical, marketing, and administrative roles, as well. So if you have experience in any of these, but want to work in a more recession-proof industry, these are great options. 


How Job Seekers Can Transition Into a Recession-Proof Career


Transitioning into any new career field has its challenges, but they may be more abundant when you’re competing with others during a recession. Here are some tips for transitioning into a recession-proof career: 


Develop Relevant Job Skills

If you want to up your chances of landing a recession-proof job, then you should consider taking some free, relevant courses to enhance your existing skills or develop new ones. For example, Udacity offers free training courses that teach digital marketing, app creation, and web development, whereas The Odin Project focuses on HTML and JavaScript. 

So, if you’re considering a career in the IT or technology field, having these buzzwords on your resume can help you stand out from the competition. Regardless of your chosen industry, there are free resources online. All you have to do is type “free training courses + keyword” into Google to find them.


Make Your Resume Stand Out

We just mentioned the use of buzzwords on your resume to help you stand out from the competition. There’s a reason for that. The average recruiter only spends about seven to eight seconds on a resume, meaning you don’t have a large window to make an impression. 

However, one way you can make an impression is by using the right buzzwords to be picked up by an applicant tracking system, or ATS. Since the average recruiter receives around 100 resumes a day, they often utilize an ATS to do the legwork for them. To find the right candidates, they’ll enter job-related skills into the search query. Any resumes they receive will include their preferred skills, so you want to make sure your resume has them all. 


To find buzzwords to put on your resume, you can refer to your personal experience. However, if you’re new, simply type “buzzwords to put on your (keyword) resume” into Google. For example, if you work in the healthcare field already or are looking to transition into one, use keywords such as: 


  • Detail oriented
  • Patient care
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Time management


Even if you’ve never worked in a healthcare role, these things are covered in training courses and administrative healthcare positions, so don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage. 


Consider Freelance Work

This may not be an option for everyone, especially if you need health insurance, but if you can swing it, opting for freelance work could provide semi-stability while you continue looking for a job or, at the very least, until the job market changes. Plus, there are opportunities to work in your chosen recession-proof field as a freelancer.  

Recessions can typically last anywhere from six months to a year and a half. And while that is a long time to be out of work, it does go by quickly if you add this type of work to your schedule, while searching for something more reliable. Keep in mind that when recessions start happening, people turn to freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr. As such, you will be facing more competition. 

To try and give yourself the best advantage, if you want to work on a freelance basis, customize every proposal to the requirements listed in the job posting. Be sure to also build out your profile, highlighting your relevant experience, education, training, and accolades. You should also create a short introductory video – about 30 seconds – so clients can get to know you. 


Put Yourself Out There

Set your resume to be publicly searchable on Indeed. State that you’re open to work on LinkedIn. Share a status update about your relevant skills and what you’re looking for on Facebook, TikTok, or LinkedIn. Remember, today’s employers are constantly scouring social media for ideas and employees. Plus, your network of friends on these platforms may know of an opening and help you get in with a company that didn’t publicly post their job opening. 

When yoe u’rdealing with a recession, you have to get creative, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.


Stay Positive

This may sound like the most cliche entry to ever be included on a list like this, but it remains true: you have to do whatever you can to stay positive during a recession. 


Of course, this may be easier said than done, but here are some tips to help you remain positive, while still taking immediate action: 

  • Set a manageable to-do list that includes applying to a specific number of jobs, whether they be freelance or full-time
  • Make time for self-care, whether it’s taking a walk outside or watching your favorite movie
  • Alleviate stress and make some extra cash by decluttering; remember, stress can be exacerbated by messy living environments and that’s the last thing you need while navigating a recession
  • Talk with others going through the same thing, whether it be friends, relatives, or former co-workers. 

That last tip is important because it’s easy to feel isolated during any type of upheaval. But remember, there are currently over 600,000 unemployed workers in the United States. You’re not alone.

Recession-Proof Careers: Industries That Thrive in Economic Downturns

Working in a Recession-Proof Industry Can Give You the Security You Need in Any Job Market

While a recession comes with a lot of things, the one thing it carries most is uncertainty. If you want to enjoy security, both now and in the future, then opting for a recession-proof industry is a great idea. 

These tips are designed to help you make the most of your resume and relevant experience, so your in-demand skills can be put to work, regardless of any economic downturn, which as experts estimate, could be an unavoidable reality in 2024 and beyond.