Recession-proof Careers?

As of June, hiring in the US has stalled, making the stock market take a dip and making people who are looking for work very anxious. Many people are flocking to what have been traditionally considered recession-proof careers: healthcare, military and teaching. If you plan to go this route: think again. Job training or retraining is of little use if there are few jobs available in those industries. So why has hiring stalled in these fields? Primarily, there are fewer jobs because of a lack of funding. Newly graduated nurses are finding it difficult to land  jobs because many hospitals and clinics do not have the money required for additional training of new nurses. Several military branches are downsizing, and sign-on bonuses in many cases are being downsized as well. Teachers around the US are getting pink slips because of school funding woes. Teacher salaries are modest at best, so replacement with newly minted teachers is just not feasible.

So where do you go from here if you are thinking about job retraining for a new career? Do your research. For example, if you do not want to or cannot relocate and a new electronics factory is coming to your area, start asking questions. Call HR at headquarters and find out how many people they think they will be hiring for this factory and which skills will be in demand. What tax incentives are in place to keep the factory in your hometown? Retraining is not going to help you if the factory moves overseas because doing business where you live becomes too expensive. It is also not going to help you if twice the number of people as anticipated jobs are training for them or you cannot perform the skills most in demand.

Same with healthcare — do your research. Do not sink your money into a certificate or degree program without asking questions first. It was predicted two decades ago that physical therapists would be in great demand as the baby boomers aged. Well, we may be fat and on a lot of prescription meds, but most of us have managed to stay healthy, and the need for PTs did not soar. This left a glut of new PTs and few jobs for them. Call the top schools in your area of interest and ask about the number of people on the waiting list for admission. Do some informational interviews with people doing the hiring in your favored industry. Will they be hiring newly trained people right out of school? Which skills will be in demand? Do you already have medical skills? How do you efficiently parlay them into a new career?

Prepare yourself if you still have your heart set on a military career. It may take up to a year before recruits on the waiting list start earning a paycheck. Find out up front what the enlisting bonus will be and when you will get it.

Still want to teach kids? Apply for your state’s emergency teaching credential if you do not have one, and check out private schools. They may still have funding in place through endowments. Alternatively, think about starting out as a part-time teacher, or as a teacher’s assistant. Both jobs may pay very little, but they will get your foot in the door of this career.

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2 Responses

  1. In an interview with a gentleman who does some kind of ghostbusting tv special, the star declared that he had no intention of giving up his day job – since it was, by his assessment, recession proof.

    He was a plumber.

    To add to your concerns about teaching, in several states (NY being one of them) the numbers of school age children are declining. Fewer kids need fewer classrooms…

  2. Good points. I’d be sunk w/out a plumber, ghostbuster or not, seeing as I have been flooded in this apt about 4 times now.

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