5 Recession-Proof Jobs, Careers, and Industries

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Let’s be honest, the global conditions of 2020 and the subsequent impact on the economy and job security had us all on the edge of our seats. This is the case when talks of a recession and the need to start looking at recession-proof jobs start circulating as well. 

Why, you may ask? Because a recession leads to an increase in unemployment and so, you should make a point of ditching your unstable job while you still can!

To paint a picture for you, when a recession hits, you can expect the economy to contract and people to spend less because of financial constraints. This means that businesses also sell less of their products or services (because who are they selling to if people don’t have enough money to buy what they are offering?) and cut down on human labor. 

But, if you’re one of the smart ones, you can be pre-emptive and explore a recession-proof career before things go south.

What makes an industry recession-proof?

Recession-proof jobs and industries are characterized by one main thing – being able to survive in dire conditions or thrive during periods of financial uncertainty. Think food and other basic necessities, because when push comes to shove, these are the very last things that people cut down on. 

So, the availability of lower-cost alternatives and the level of importance in sustaining life are two things that determine how recession-proof an industry is. But let’s get one thing straight, if you’re in the business of selling high-end designer apparel or haute cuisine, then your days may be numbered in a recession – despite them being part of the food and clothing industries. 

On the flip side though, if you’re in an industry that offers cheaper critical services or goods, then you have a better chance of making it through to the other side. 

List of 5 best recession-proof industries

Okay, so let’s focus on what you’re really here for – to find out if you’ve chosen a recession-proof career or if you’re in the completely wrong industry and should look to come up with an escape plan ASAP!

1. Healthcare

Falling sick is rarely ever a voluntary thing, so regardless of the economic conditions, there is always a need for healthcare services. Of course, quality healthcare is preferred, but a tight budget may force you to turn to cheaper alternatives to cure your ailment – healthcare services nonetheless. 

Continued growth and demand in the healthcare industry is exactly why it is widely viewed as one that offers several recession-proof jobs, including the ones I have listed below.

Average salaries in healthcare


2. Education

This is probably one of the most obvious industries to pursue a recession-proof career in, but let’s explore it further in any case. The popular narrative is that you need a formal education to be successful in life, (yes, I know, there are countless examples of people that have gone against the grain in that regard), which leads to a constant demand for educational services. 

Besides the relatively longer holidays that teachers get compared to other jobs, there is also a level of stability that comes with a job in education, and that makes it a viable recession-proof career to pursue. 

Although there is a constant need to upskill and develop yourself in the education industry, the great thing is that endless opportunities to make money exist – even during a recession. 

We all witnessed how the industry adapted and switched to digital alternatives for the most part of 2020, how e-books and online courses gained traction, as well as how there was an excessive number of remote tutoring vacancies being posted on job sites!

In case you didn’t know, being a teacher isn’t the only job you can pursue in education. People say that if you’re passionate about imparting knowledge, sharing your expertise, or even just interacting with people, then the education industry may just be for you. I say, if you’re risk-averse and are looking for stability to some extent, then one of these recession-proof jobs in education may be for you

Average salaries in education

College professor$100,000
School psychologist$65,000
Teacher $60,000
Librarian $55,000

3. Food and beverage

Consumer habits may change during a recession, but the fact remains that there will always be a need for food and beverage while we are alive. This is also an industry with quite a bit of flexibility because it offers a wide selection of part-time, full-time and remote recession-proof jobs.

Let’s take a step back to the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. Several recession-proof jobs were found in the food and beverage industry, which remained resilient and leveraged the global conditions to gain further market share in low and middle-income economies. 

No matter what is going on in the world, people will always be hungry and thirsty (some more than others) – and that makes this industry amongst the best for pursuing recession-proof jobs.

Average salaries in food and beverage

Supply chain manager at COSTCO$169,990
Principal food scientist$160,000
Sanitation manager$100,000
Sous chef$47,422
Kitchen manager $46,571

4. Transport, freight and logistics

Irrespective of the global conditions, you still need to get from A to B because realistically speaking, you can’t walk to all your destinations; moreover, goods still need to be transported to customers in various parts of the world. Although we can’t rule out the effect of foreign relations during a recession, the impact of that is generally minimal. 

Truck drivers, e-hailing services, taxis, and air services are what keep the economy going, or in the case of a recession, contribute to its revival.

Average salaries in transport, freight and logistics

Global logistics manager$110,000
Delivery manager$101,397
Supply chain analyst$63,375
Warehouse supervisor$47,624

5. Entrepreneurship

Now, this is one of my favorite industries to discuss – entrepreneurship. Such a broad and mixed bag of opportunities exist here, and endless recession-proof jobs can emerge from an entrepreneurial venture. I’ll admit, entrepreneurship and the uncertainty that comes with it doesn’t necessarily instill confidence in some people, but high risk, high reward! 

“The new norm,” “You’re on mute” and “Pivot” are just some of the buzz phrases that we love to hate that emerged from the year that was 2020, but let’s focus on the latter. Pivoting can be viewed as a way for you as an entrepreneur to win during a recession by changing your strategy and being cognizant of customer needs. 

Forget the naysayers, an effective pivot can make all the difference in the world and differentiate your entrepreneurial venture from the rest, allowing you to gain considerable market share. While I can’t tell you which industries to pursue an entrepreneurial venture in, I can tell you that digital solutions and technological advances remain of interest across the globe. Use it, don’t use it.

Average salaries in Entrepreneurship

Unsuccessful Entrepreneur$0 to -$50,000
Successful Entrepreneur$100,000 – $1,000,000

Industries with recession-proof jobs for entrepreneurial ventures:

  • Technology and digital solutions
  • Deathcare services
  • Financial services
  • Copywriting

Recession-Proof Jobs and Industries

1. Healthcare. (Up to $150,000)
2. Education. (Up to $100,000)
3. Food and Beverage. (Up to $150,000)
4. Transportation. (Up to $110,000)
5. Entrepreneurship.

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