Ten Recession-Proof Jobs

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012
With the Labor Department reporting that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits is the highest it has been in seven years, is there such a thing as a “recession-proof” job? Probably not, but there are some careers that may survive the current economic crisis better than others. The key is to focus on work that continues even when most people do not have extra discretionary money to spend. So what are some in-demand jobs in a slow economy?


Now more than ever, companies are paying attention to the bottom line. They need good “bean counters”, whether they are fresh out of school or are armed with years of experience to get the job done.

Accountants and auditors help to ensure that an organization is running properly and its funds are managed efficiently and effectively. They make sure the company’s public records are accurate and its taxes are paid properly and on time. As accounting rules become more complex and stringent, it is vital to have mangers that can run their bookkeeping operations.

Accountant Salaries

Accountant Job Openings

Administrative Assistants

The role of the administrative assistant appears to be changing. According to a recent study conducted by the International Association of Administrative Professionals duties and responsibilities for administrative assistants have expanded over the last decade. Responsibilities may now include duties traditionally handled by mid-level managers, making them, in some cases, "the information center of the office."

Still there is generally high turnover in these jobs as incumbents retire or move on to other careers. If this career is not your ideal, it can provide temporary employment while you look for a new job in your current field or train for another job opportunity.

Administrative Assistant Salaries

Administrative Assistant Job Openings

Customer Service Representative

Customer Service Representatives are employed in a variety of industries to serve as the direct point of contact to help resolve an array of customer inquiries. Keeping customers satisfied is especially critical when a slumping economy is forcing consumers to cut back on discretionary spending. Discerning customers and businesses who are counting every penny will expect the highest quality service for their limited dollars.

Customer Service Representative Salaries

Customer Service Representative Job Openings

Financial Analyst

As businesses struggle to meet financial goals, it is important to have skilled financial experts on staff to guide business decisions and help improve managerial effectiveness. In light of the current economic situation, a closer eye will be focused on the bottom line and financial analysts will be needed to keep struggling business in the black.

Financial Analyst Salaries

Financial Analyst Job Openings

Mechanical Engineer

Emerging technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials science are fueling the demand for mechanical engineers. There will be additional opportunities for mechanical engineers outside of these fields as well because a degree in mechanical engineering can often be applied in other engineering specialties.

Mechanical Engineer Salaries

Mechanical Engineer Job Openings

Network Administrator

Network Administrators are ultimately responsible for keeping the computer network up and running. This requires a very specific skill set and there is a relatively small pool of workers who have the necessary skills to be a systems administrator. This element of rarity keeps it in the pool of hot jobs in a slumping economy.

Network Administrator Salaries

Network Administrator Job Openings

Police Patrol Officers

Crime doesn’t stop during a recession so it is likely that there will be some stability in this profession. While opportunities in most local police departments will be good for qualified candidates, particularly those with a bachelor’s degree, it is anticipated that there will be more competition for jobs in State and Federal agencies. Also, the level of government spending determines the level of employment for police officers making the number of opportunities vary from year to year.

Police Officer Salaries

Police Officer Job Openings

Public School Teacher

Teaching positions have historically been recession-proof, but demographics do come into play. High growth areas are definitely better markets for this profession and there is also a higher demand for teachers in the fields of math and science.

More teachers will be retiring as many in the ranks approach retirement age and the number of students enrolling increases, there will still be a demand. Teacher turnover will also contribute to the demand for more teachers.

Teacher Salaries

Teacher Job Openings

Software Engineer

With or without a recession, there is always competition for top engineering talent. Computer software engineers are challenged to keep current with constant changes emerging in computer technology. Those that keep up will be in high demand.

In today’s economy, businesses will be paying close attention to web marketing efforts as a way to assist with slumping sales. Software Engineers with expertise in the consumer, user-generated Web sector should be in particular demand.

Software Engineer Salaries

Software Engineer Job Openings


Even when the economy suffers, people continue to require medical treatment. Additionally, the number of older people who will require medical, occupation, and custodial care is projected to grow rapidly increasing the need for nurses and other allied health professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Medical Assistants.

Thousands of RN openings are expected to result from the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation, many of whom are reaching retirement age in the next few years. Nursing positions are expected to grow more rapidly in nursing care facilities and home health care organizations. Although growth is projected to be slower in hospitals, positions will still come available due to the relatively high turnover of hospital nurses.

Nurse Salaries

Nurse Job Openings