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The 'recession-proof' jobs that are immune to a downturn

·4-min read
care worker at home
care worker at home

Workers have rarely enjoyed so much power. For the first time since records began, there are fewer than one unemployed job seekers per vacancy. Hiring managers have little choice but to be responsive to demands for working from home, pay increases and even calls for four-day weeks.

But now the pendulum is starting to swing in bosses’ favour. Fears of a looming recession are fraying hiring managers’ nerves: job postings on the careers website Indeed have already slowed down in recent weeks, and talk of redundancies has more than doubled in the past three months on the website Glassdoor.

At best, a recession means that employers simply freeze pay – although this will sting at a time when inflation has peaked at a 40-year high of 9.1pc. At worst, it could mean rounds of layoffs and higher rates of unemployment.

But there are a handful of industries that are less sensitive to the wider health of the economy – where business runs as usual even in a recession. The Telegraph reveals the best industries to find a recession-proof job, and how to secure one.

Specialised care

Victoria McLean, of the career consultancy CityCV, said that jobs in healthcare were particularly well insulated from recessions. “We will always need doctors, nurses and care workers,” she said.

Jack Kennedy, of Indeed, highlighted personal care as a key industry for job seekers looking for stability. A shortage of workers in this sector means that wages are climbing fast. Indeed found that personal care and home health industries recorded annual wage growth of 9.2pc in April, ahead of inflation.

In most cases, becoming a carer requires the completion of an apprenticeship or a college course, such as a Level 1 Certificate in Health and Social Care or a Level 2 Diploma in Care.

Education

schoolchildren teacher classroom - BEN BIRCHALL/PA
schoolchildren teacher classroom - BEN BIRCHALL/PA

Ms McLean also highlighted education as an area which remained relatively recession proof. Teachers also require specific qualifications. One of the most common routes is the Initial Teacher Education or Training programme, which is an undergraduate degree that takes between three and four years.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated course, you can take a postgraduate teaching qualification, either the PGCE or the PGDE, which take nine months.

Emergency services and utility workers

Mr Kennedy also highlighted jobs in emergency services and utilities as roles that remained relatively recession proof.

“Workers in public safety and utilities are always needed. Employment in these sectors tends to be less volatile, even when considering the impact of possible government spending cuts.”

Lauren Thomas, of Glassdoor, added that demand was particularly strong for electricians and plumbers due to a shortage of trained workers. “Highly skilled technical skills help buffer employees from recessions,” she said. Both professions require a degree or certification from a trade school or vocational college, or apprenticeship training.

In emergency services such as in the police and fire departments, job seekers will similarly need either a university or college course, or an apprenticeship. The police offer two formal graduate programmes, working towards a position as a neighbourhood police officer or a detective. They both take two years to complete.

Supermarket workers

supermarket employee - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS
supermarket employee - HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Many “recession-proof” jobs require a highly specialised skill, but there are some entry-level jobs, too, which are reliable during economic downturns. Mr Kennedy pointed to retail workers in supermarkets.

“Stocking shelves and working in shops that provide essential services to locals will provide roles with some of the highest job security,” he said.

There are no set requirements for supermarket workers, although some employers may require a GCSE in maths and English. Previous experience in retail will also help your application.

Is it too late to join the ‘Great Resignation’?

Ms McLean warned that the so-called “Great Resignation” could now be coming to an end as the uncertain economic environment made employers more hesitant to make new entry-level hires.

However, she warned that it was not too late for workers looking for a change. “Despite the imminent economic downturn, this current weighing of supply and demand doesn’t come around often. If you’re willing to take the risk, and are quick about it, it could pay off,” she said.

“Around 85pc of roles are filled through networks rather than traditional channels. Network with people in the career you're looking at, whether that's at events or online, such as LinkedIn. Look for free or subsidised training, or seek out volunteer opportunities. It's also important to consider the skills and experience you already have that could be useful in your new career and talk those up.”

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