Recession Proof Jobs

Crain’s New York Business (July  26 – August 1, 2010 issue) just published a story highlighting the fact that there are more IT jobs in metro-New York than qualified candidates.  IT is a great example of a recession proof job.  Why?

Let’s begin with a definition of “recession proof.”  Don’t worry, I am not going to have a relapse into my former life as an academic and produce a good theoretical definition.  I never was keen on theory!  Here’s my practical definition:  If it’s in demand, it’s recession proof.

So how do we know what’s in demand?  Here’s my test:  If you can’t live without it, it’s in demand and therefore, by definition, recession proof.

Imagine the follow scenario:  The electricity at work goes off at 2 in the afternoon.  For sake of argument, it’s a comfortable weather day outside.  No humidity.  Not very warm.  So no need for the AC.  You open the window, a nice breeze comes in, and plenty of light.  You can see, but that’s about it.  No one is complaining that the phones aren’t ringing.  If it’s really important everyone has a cell.  But there are no computers.  You can’t work.  What’s worse, you didn’t get a chance to save what you were working on before the power went off, so you lost your work.  You’re angry!  And you are frustrated because you can’t send e-mails, can’t shop, and can’t play a game because the Internet is down.  You simply can’t function without your computer.  And that’s why IT is recession proof.

So what else can’t we live without?  No matter how bad the economy is we still need to get things fixed.  In fact, in a recession it’s better to fix than to buy new… thus the recession… So we need the mechanic, the plumber, the electrician.

We also need to just relax for a few hours.  So, as long as the product is good, we’ll go to our favorite restaurant for a nice meal once a week, maybe fortnightly (one of my favorite words!).  And, when push comes to shove, everyone needs to get away.  Granted, it may not be as far and as glamorous as a few years ago, but a short vacation close to home can sometimes suit a person’s needs just as well, if not better, than a long lavish trip.  So food services and the hospitality industries are, to a great extent, recession proof.

Of course, health care is also recession proof and it’s so recession proof that there’s no need to explain why!