Are You Recession-Proof?

By Joe Stein

There is no escaping the economy with the headlines dominated by stories of key economic indicators falling. Luckily, WNY has not been hit quite as hard as some other cities that have battled rapidly falling housing prices and skyrocketing unemployment. We are, however, not completely insulated from the downturn.
 
On the minds of most workers is either how “recession-proof” is my current job or, if you are thinking of joining an organization, how stable is the company in that industry? Keep in mind that no profession or industry is completely insulated from economic turmoil. Today, let’s examine some of the professions or industries that may prove to be a little more stable than others during the next year or two. We will also provide a few tips on how you can better prepare yourself for the economic rollercoaster.
 
“Recession-Proof” Jobs or Industries:
 
·         Sales Representatives – For many organizations, the best way to battle a weak economy is to concentrate on those people who generate income. A company’s sales team is a good example of a position that directly generates revenue as opposed to positions that are more of a support function.
 
·         Information Technology - In the modern business world, most everything is directly dependent on technology of some kind. Positions such as a System Administrator or a Software Developer still remain strong in demand. A long-term downturn may, however, cause companies to begin “freezing” their investment in technology.
 
·         Education – While the teaching profession can be challenging to enter in WNY with its declining population, once you are settled and established, it is generally a stable profession. 
 
·         Accounting – Companies still need to maintain their books and with the accounting laws becoming as complex as ever, these positions can be stable.
 
·         Healthcare – Our population is aging and is, therefore, generating an increasing need for healthcare. Healthcare provides a service that people need/require regardless of the economy. The on-going battles between insurance companies and providers can create interesting challenges, but overall healthcare is more stable in WNY than most.
 
·         Federal/State Employees – The key is to figuring out how to get hired for one of these positions. Typically, these positions are stable, particularly on the Federal side.
 
·         Security/Law Enforcement – Positions dealing with public or company safety should continue to be strong. In particular, difficult times strain these positions as people are more tempted to do things such as steal. Legislation, such as Airport Security, also creates demand for these positions.
·         Energy – For example, there are some areas of WNY that are investing heavily in wind energy. Positions that deal with energy creation will remain strong, especially as the United States tries to wean itself off of oil dependency.
 
 
Other “Recession-Proof” Tips:
 
·         Education – If you are in a situation where your education is below what is normally required for the position, you have placed yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Possessing the degree that is normally expected in the position will assist you if cuts are made, or if you have to hit the open market. So, if you have been meaning to finish that degree by taking that last course or two, now may be just the time to do it. 
 
·         Experience – Even though individuals out-of-school tend to be cheaper, typically a weak economy hits those entering the workforce, with minimal experience, hard. This is because large companies cut back on their “manager trainee” programs and smaller companies can’t afford to take a chance on someone with limited experience. If you are experienced, stress how your job knowledge will be invaluable to the organization.
 
·         Special Skill – If you possess a skill that is needed, but not in high supply, then you have placed yourself in a solid position.   If you reference the list above, positions in Information Technology and Accounting easily fit into this “special skill” category. Don’t forget the skilled trade positions such as plumbers and electricians.   These skilled trade jobs are in need domestically, even when the building market is soft.
 
·         Market Yourself – It is important, during these times, to continually market yourself both to the outside world with your networking, and also internally within your current company. In a professional way, make sure that those above you, at your current job, know of the value you add to the organization and the significance of your accomplishments.
 
 
It is impossible to completely insulate yourself from the volatility of today’s economy. There are, however, some positions and industries that will provide more security than others. Consider focusing on those areas until the economy rebounds.
  
 
As always, best of luck in your job search and in maintaining your current job.
 
 
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.