Tech & Work

There is no such thing as a recession-proof job

It seems like every business site has a list of recession-proof jobs. But a recent piece in the U.S. News and World Report indicates there is no such thing.

On any given day, there will be five "experts" on the Net that will tell you what jobs are recession-proof. It always annoys me when someone tries to make a blanket statement like that. It's either based on superficial "evidence" or misplaced confidence in the system.

Let's start with the fact if you perused all the sites that have lists of these so-called jobs, you'll find it rare that any two sites agree what those jobs are.

Some come close. For example, the top three recession-proof jobs according to Time magazine are:

  1. Computer Systems Analysts
  2. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
  3. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

On Forbes, appears the following list:

  • Software Design and Development
  • Networking and Systems Administration
  • Business Analysis and Software Implementation

But then you swing over to CareerBuilder's version and you see only one tech job in the top ten. HRWorld lists no tech jobs.

But finally, I came across an article in the U.S. News and World Report, "Why 'Recession-Proof' Jobs are a Myth," that presents the sobering reality: There's no such thing as a recession-proof job. Here is their argument, in brief, against some of the so-called recession-proof careers listed in other publications:

  • Education: According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of local teaching jobs has fallen by 157,000.
  • Military: Congress tends to support big weapons programs more than spending on troops.
  • Public safety: Overall, state and local governments have cut 260,000 jobs this year alone, with more cuts likely in 2011 and 2012.
  • Utilities: Labor Department data shows a net loss of about 4,000 jobs in this industry since 2008.
  • Accounting: There's a glut of unemployed accountants and bookkeepers right now, thanks to severe corporate cutbacks and weak revenue at small businesses.
  • Sales reps: The economy has lost more than 400,000 sales jobs since 2008.
  • Federal government: Take note of the recent federal pay freeze.
  • Tech sector: Low-level IT jobs are being outsourced and offshored on a regular basis.

I know this is some unneeded news for a Monday morning, but there are perhaps some silver linings. All companies, in any area, are dependent upon their network systems functioning properly. And no one knows today what new business-boosting technologies are just around the corner-except for the IT pro. Stay abreast of all new tech and at least you'll be prepared for when the economy turns around.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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