Article: How to build a recession-proof career

Life @ Work

How to build a recession-proof career

People Matters shares steps that you can take to advance and protect your career even in an economic downturn.
How to build a recession-proof career

Rising inflation, pandemic-related supply shortages, and other factors increase the risk of a global recession. Typically, the economic cycle grows then slows down, and each cycle has different consequences for companies and the general public.

When the economy falters and central banks raise interest rates to regulate an overheating economy, consumers are forced to tighten their belts. Meanwhile, businesses are pressured to remove unnecessary expenses and, at times, even restrict hiring or cut staff

Being open to career shifts

Often, during these worrisome times, people would want to know which jobs can survive a recession. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to determine how you can advance and protect your career even in a downturn.

Professor Phil Lewis, Director of the Centre for Labour Market Research at the University of Canberra, said that employers continue to look at a candidate’s educational levels, personal skills, and work experience. 

“These are all signals to an employer that you’re going to be a good worker as opposed to somebody who has left school at 15 and has no work experience,” Lewis said. The professor also explained that changes in society have affected the types of work available today. Jobs are becoming more and more complex that it is forcing workers to upskill and stay relevant in the job market whether in good times or bad.

For Nicholas Wyman, CEO of The Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation and author of the book “Ready, Steady, RESET: The post-COVID-19 future of work”, the COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented upheaval that has led to people re-assessing their careers.

Wyman cites the example of Suzi Hannan, a former flight attendant and now a nurse at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Treatment Centre in NSW, who had an alternative career when her job as a flight attendant ended because of the pandemic.

Hannan reviewed her resume, used her other skills, trained as a nurse, and made the career shift. Although she had many hurdles to overcome, Hannan said she got through them because of her can-do attitude.

Wyman said that it was important that Hannan looked at the things she was able to do in former roles and see how she could pivot to a different path altogether.

How to build a recession-proof career

Just like Hannan, you can also find a recession-proof career. Below is a list of steps you can take to build a recession-proof career:

Expand your academic credentials. Melissa Moore, Senior Manager of Employability and Enterprise at the University of Newcastle, explained that those looking to progress in their careers can expand their experience through study. She said that postgraduate studies can bring great satisfaction because it will allow you to meet new people, learn new skills, and gain a fresh understanding of your area of interest. Employers often look for people who are self-motivated and open to new challenges.

Get involved in your community. Moore suggests building your skills and expanding your network. “Look for where you can be with people and contribute,” she said. Doing so can provide evidence of your problem-solving, resilience, and teamwork skills. It can also give potential employers an insight into your values.

Allow yourself to adapt to change. Wyman said that with post-COVID-19 studies, taking up STEM will indicate whether you will get a job. With that, be open to shifting to careers that can guarantee job security, such as jobs in the medical field, specialised care, therapy, counselling, law enforcement, public utility, information technology, and financial and education services.

Improve your self-awareness. Lastly, make sure you are aware of what’s happening around you and of your own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your own personality, values, and motivations will help you understand your worth as an employee.

Always be in the know of what’s happening in the economy and be mindful of jobs that are important to the well-being of our society. But be proactive in finding the job that’s also best for you.

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Topics: Life @ Work

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