By Jami Miedema

Can you believe that thirty-two percent of businesses plan to hire full-time employees yet this year, according to a survey conducted by Despite the sluggish economy, many industries are prosperous and may even face shortages of workers to fill positions in these fields. Those who need employment can try reviving their talents in a fresh industry.

One of the “recession-resistant” industries is Education. Especially in the South, skilled teachers are needed as school enrollments increase. This shows promise not only for education majors, but for administrators, counselors, and other professionals. A salesperson in retail may face a slowdown as consumers’ discretionary incomes are reduced, but his same skills could be used to begin a lucrative career in textbook supply.

Other healthy industries are Energy and Environmental. Power generation has been, and will continue to be, a big issue for our nation. People with knowledge about oil, gas, and renewable energy will see many employment opportunities. Also, workers with “green skills” will be in demand as global warming and sustainability continue to be heavily debated topics of concern.

Another booming industry is Health Care. Occupations in the medical field, such as physicians’ assistants, therapists, and aides, cannot be filled fast enough. This lack of healthcare workers will become an even bigger void to fill as baby boomers age and need medical attention. Health service operations also need information technicians and other business-related workers to keep companies running smoothly behind the scenes.

Finally, Security is an industry experiencing an upswing. Whether it’s at our country’s borders, our local police station, or online, security is always needed. In today’s society where threats and identity theft are becoming increasingly common, guardians are needed to protect and preserve institutions as well as information.

These five industries offer some promising opportunities that don’t require workers to switch career paths, but rather transition their abilities into new sectors thriving in today’s challenging economy. Check around—are there specific organizations in your area in great need of new talent?  Can your economic development team connect unemployed workers from other sectors to jobs in recession-resistant industries? Can you get local community colleges on board to supply the retraining transitional workers might need?

All information from John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an outplacement firm, from Zupek, R. (Sept 4, 2008), “Is your job recession-proof?”
Buhl, L. (2008), “Recession-proof jobs in 2008.”