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Top 15 Recession Proof Jobs for College and High School Graduates

Updated on May 10, 2011

Recession Proof Employment With and Without a College Degree

Some careers maintain success and stability even during periods of recession and economic depression in America. One senior citizen told me the story of his career success, beginning his tale with the comment, "We'll, you gotta eat!" He was referring to the food business, and mostly grocery retail and wholesale.

This particular gentleman lived from about 1910 through the 1990s, experiencing The Great Depression as well as a few recessions. He spoke of being able to purchase a pound of hamburger or 10 hot dogs for 5ยข in the early 1930s, and of how he found long lasting employment.

In high school, he worked part-time for a local small grocery before air conditioning was widely used. He told me how they put sawdust on the floors to absorb moisture, expeecially in hot weather and always in the meat department. After graduation, he went on to work in our city's first Kroger grocery store and later purchased a franchise for a convenience/grocery store and continued his success into the retirement years. He said he always had work, even when his friends lost their jobs during the Depression Years and during recessions.

For some, then, grocery wholesaling or retail operations is a recession proof career field, despite rising prices.

This idea is the basis for economists' and financial experts' advise to people to invest in Consumer Staples - things we need to have in order to simply exist and survive, no matter the economy. It is a good bet, then, that if you work in Consumer Staples, you will keep your job long-term in up and down economies and even disasters, all other factors being equal. Consumer Staples include groceries, health care services and products, health & beauty aids and home products like soap, utilities and energy, and a few others. Some professionals advise that bars and taverns will continue to thrive during recessions, as well as the use of tobacco. remember that the first business to reopen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was actually a tavern that stayed open despite the water damage, located on the edge of the undamaged sector of the city .

This article will present stable long-term employment oportunities for College Graduates through 2020 and beyond, with another 5 high growth career fields that do not require extensive classroom training.


Recession Proof Jobs For Grads 2008 - 2020

Reports coming from national economists, labor specialists, and the National Association of Colleges and Employees state that employers are offering signing bonuses and higher starting salaries from 2008 onward, than in the past two decades and will continue to do so in several occupations, despite economic recessions.

These occupations are high demand jobs suitable to graduates that are specializing in the career fields of Business, Finance, and Information Technology and earning related academic degrees.

The Millennial Generation (b. ~ 1980 - 2000) is nearly as large as the Baby Boom Generation. This means that not only will Millennials require additional and longer-term Health/Medical care and wellness services, as have the Boomers, but that they require additional years of Financial Planning, because they will live longer in the advent of increasing medical advances. They may even work greater numbers of years and own more businesses or own them for longer periods of time.

Until 2100 AD or so, Millennials will continue to be top consumers of Information Technology advances, comptuers, and gadgets and they will be tracked in additional new databases globally. They will be emoployees, business owners, and consumers of products and services made avaiable in by the expanding worlds of Engineering of all kinds. Many will join the ranks of engineering-degreed Private Space Explorers, working for major corporations. Increasingly, they will also work in and consume the services and products of Green Industries.

Looking at data from the US Department of Labor, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and employment and labor specialists around the country, we have the results listed below, with some videos.

The industries doing the most hiring and expecting the highest percentages of job growth in high demand occupations nationwide through 2020 are the arranged by salary:

Sales & Finance

Marketing Managers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Advertising or Journalism

Median salary: $98,720; Forecasted job growth: HIGH

Financial Managers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Finance

Median salary: $90,970; Forecasted job growth: HIGH

A Day in the Life - Computer Software Engineer


Chemical Engineers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Engineering

Median annual salary: $78,860; Forcasted Job growth: Moderate

Electrical Engineers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Engineering

Median annual salary: $75,930

New Jobs Forecast: 10,000+

Mechanical Engineers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Engineering

Median annual salary: $69,850

New Jobs Forecast: 10,000+

Civil Engineers

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Engineering

Median salary: $68,600; Forecasted job growth: HIGH

Computer Systems Software Engineers

College Major Studies/Degree: Computer Information Science [CIS]

Median annual salary: $85,370; Forecasted job growth: VERY HIGH

Computer Systems

Computer Systems Analysts

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Computer Information Science and Systems

Median salary: $69,760; Forecasted job growth: HIGH

Financial Analyst / Investment Banker


Financial analyst

College Major Studies/Degree Required: Business Administration

Median salary: $66,590; Forecasted job growth: HIGHEST of the Top 10.


College Major Studies/Degree Required: Accounting

Median salary: $54,630; Forecasted job growth: HIGH

Anoter 86% Increase in 18 Months Ending February 1 2011, Over the Graph Below

Significant increase going into 2011.
Significant increase going into 2011. | Source

168% Increase in Jobs for Certified Teachers and Certified Teacher Assistants

168% increase in job listings cine from December 2008 to July 1, 2010. Data provided by, a job search engine.
168% increase in job listings cine from December 2008 to July 1, 2010. Data provided by, a job search engine.

*Additional Recession-Proof Jobs - Education at All Levels


Education. This includes Certified Teachers, as well as Teacher's Assistants & Aides that do not all require degrees. Adult Education Instructors and self-improvement teachers may or may not require a degree.

The Baby Boomer Generation of teachers is retiringthrough 2030, and many of them are finding that teaching is simply not the job of their dreams or abilities in the first place. That leaves many positions on in Pre-K-12, adult education, life skills training, after school programs, college prep tutoring, summer and year-around work-and-learn, work readiness soft skills training, job skills training, and more. Moreover The Millennial Generation is just as large as the Baby Boomers and are having more children to fill up K-12 than the Boomers had. America needs 3,000,000 more teachers by 2015 and then, even more teachers will be retiring. National initiatives to require and mandate Pre-K 3 (age) and Pre-K 4 raise the number of required teachers considerably through to at least 2050.

Renewable Energy

Energy & Environment

Energy provides occupations the require anything form a high school diploma to a PhD in engineering. It should be the most productive and expansive of national industries in 21stcentury America. Many states and counties, as well as increasing numbers of cities in the US have Green Initiatives and plenty of green reconstruction and new green industries. Green Industries advocates will be pleased to note that Oil will suffer 80% retirement of its 2008 work force by 2018. These vacant jobs in oil, coal, and gas are likely to attrite; coal mining already becoming defunct in the early 21st century. Alternative and renewable energy sources and nuclear energy are likely to rise in importance and new job openings through 2100.

Health Care

Educational required can vary from a high school diploma or GED to a PhD, MD, or other professional degree. This field is wide open for jobs and opportunities for advancement. Not only human health care, but veterinary health care is growing. Psychiatric and psychological services are also fast growing job opportunity fields within Health Care.

Half of all of the 30 Fastest Growing Jobs in the USA are health related, per the US Department of Labor and state and local labor board statistics. Some of these jobs include LPNs, RNs, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists & aides, Workers Compensation nurse consultants, and home health aides. A national nursing shortage is expected to last until 2050 and beyond. California hospitals especially employ a lot of Travel Nurses at higher wages, even paying their rent, and entice permanent nursing staff via $3,500 - 7,500 in a signing bonus. They also offer $3,000+ in yearly Professional Development - continuing education and relocation assistance, paid time off for education, overtime pay, and 3, 12-hour shift workweeks to include 4 days off EVERY week. Some hospitals allow nurses to work 2 12-hour weekend shifts and have FIVE days off.


Security is a growing industry with unlimited potential, not because of Homeland Security requirements, but because of COMPUTER INFORMATION. Computer information security will continue to increase with the expansion of Information Technology applications and inventions. Industrial security job openings will add to this matrix of opportunities.

Aside form these openings, the US Border Patrol lists numerous job openings as well; and the Defense and Homeland Security agencies expect 83,000+ job openings to come available through 2010, with additional openings thereafter.

Security work can require a high scholl diploma/GED or higher education level.

Service Industries

The abundance of service related positions may wax and wane a bit within the economic climate created by each additional US presidential administration and its policies in America, but the US has trended more and more toward a service based economy since the 1980s.

In the 21st century, this is becoming more evident as well and will continue to do so.

One segment of the service industry that continues to grow steadily is the food preparation business at all levels of enterprise, from hotels and fine dining to fast food establishments and aerospace applications such a living places on the Moon.

In Central Ohio, for instance, our newly welcomed immigrants to the area have found gold in food preparation and service. In many instances, they have banded together in groups to work in dining establishments, saved their money together by sharing housing and other expenses, and purchased their own join-owned restaurant franchises after just a couple fo years.

These groups of individuals have worked hard and been most successful, and have increased the level of good customer service in our metropolitan area.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from North America

      Competition for jobs may be high, but jobs are attainable with the right preparation. Thanks for your comment!

    • dhimanreena profile image

      Reena Dhiman 2 years ago

      Nice information sharing regarding recession and jobs. The stats about recession in the market in the next few years is very helpful.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Good luck with your career!

    • louromano profile image

      louromano 5 years ago

      Wow you have generated a very innovative idea. Thanks to give me a chance to meet it. I think next generation follow your innovative ideas.

    • profile image

      nerd 5 years ago

      Yeti dude same here how weird

    • profile image

      YetiOnDuty 5 years ago

      Hey Thanks pal! hey hey hey what do ya know! I just Did an assignment on this for journalism and whatda ya know! This is the perfect Hub for me! oh boy oh boy thanks Patty!

    • profile image

      Nerd 5 years ago

      LOVE your hub very informational

    • profile image

      sadavis, CA 5 years ago

      Hi Patty, I worked for several companies that are laying off or closing, B of A, Countrywide, Fanne Mae and property management, accounts receivable/payables. Have not been able to work did not think it would take so long..Thank you for the information.

    • Dr Rockpile profile image

      Dr Rockpile 6 years ago from USA

      A great informative Hub, especially for kids going into college. Starting down one of these paths is much easier than switching mid-stream.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      That may be true!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      You could add in HVAC and Plumbing - as staying warm or cool and flushing the toilet will always be of the highest priority.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Forensic Accounting is BIG and getting bigger in the USA. Financial Examining is just as big and growing. You have made a wise choice!


    • profile image

      AJ 6 years ago

      Great info. but here is my confusion? I am 30 and i have been working in the administration dept. for 9 yrs now in a construction company which ain't doing well here in dubai. We have had lay-offs. I have done Bachelor's in Arts. If i am interested in doing an MBA in finance or an accounts course like CPA,CFA etc,is it the right time and age for me?

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Good hub! Well that means that liberal arts and humanities graduates will not get any jobs soon.

    • Ebey Soman profile image

      Ebey Soman 6 years ago from USA

      This is a pretty good list! Thank you, it will help so many people choose their career paths wisely

    • jessicab profile image

      jessicab 6 years ago from Alabama

      Great interesting hub. I need a recession proof job.

    • profile image

      Johnny Bridges 6 years ago

      Thanks for this write-up relating to the recession. A particular occupation that's more or less recession proof is trucking. There are always products that need to be transported, and truck driving jobs will always be in demand. Just a thought...

    • skylar.wishwash33 profile image

      skylar.wishwash33 6 years ago

      Yeah I agree... You can't go wrong with anything in the medical field - no matter how the economy is, taking care of your health is something can never afford to sacrifice.

    • rallyre profile image

      rallyre 6 years ago from San Diego, California

      I would think that the military would be the #1 recession proof job. I'm not sure if military is considered though because it does not fall into the same corporate category. Great article, just like your others.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Thanks for posting kellysgirl -- We can see, and reinforces via stat analyses that include Pew data, that US Millenials are being increased as a cohort with like-aged legal and undocumented immigrants to US having children at a higher rate than Boomers did.

      By 2015 - 2016, US is forecasted with 74 million Boomers; and 83 million Millennials that will comprise 30% or more of the voting eligibles in that year. We'll be watching these figures.

    • kellysgirl profile image

      Mrs Campbell 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Patty, as an HR professional I spend a grave deal of time researching industry growth and articulating the data. I am a bit curious about the statement, "The Millennial Generation is just as large as the Baby Boomers and are having more children to fill up K-12 than the Boomers had."

      Empirically speaking, it's difficult to assess how Gen Yer's can be having more children than Baby Boomers. With the world wide acceptance of same sex marriage, abstinence teaching being more widely accepted in schools and Gen Y'ers staying at home longer because of the lack of available jobs that will allow them to go out on their own - especially in this economy, it's difficult to see how the birth rate is higher now than during the BB years.

      Great post. I will definitely be following you.

    • profile image

      khmohsin 6 years ago

      nice and really informative ..

    • Absent Friend profile image

      Absent Friend 6 years ago

      No wonder you are in The Elite. Very well put together and produced Hub. With more than enough information on the subject matter for every-one whether choosing a path, or enquiring about their own. Thank You!

      A comic note about health. If all were healthy positions would be filled. But there would still be those looking for work because no-one would need healthcare!

      Thanks again.

    • generalbrat profile image

      generalbrat 6 years ago from california,usa

      thanks good info.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Purplepassion1 - glad you like this article. During grad school, we were taiught to get the graphics together with captions and write around them to explain graphs and tables and make a good article. So, I like the videos instead of graphs now a lot of times, especially current news about a sunject. Thanks for writing!

    • Purplepassion1 profile image

      Joanne Lombardo 6 years ago from Prescott AZ

      Like I need to tell you this: well written and researched article; I like your style of linking videos and spacing pics throughout. I am new here and when writers impress me, I pay attention. Thank you for being a teacher to us baby writers.

    • onlineduniya profile image

      onlineduniya 7 years ago from India

      Yes, Financial Planner and Software Engineer always in demand.

    • profile image

      scholarshipsformo 7 years ago from California

      This is some useful information. Keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      vivian desabille 7 years ago

      very great!i want to take finance major,but unfortunately i'm not great in Math,haha!

    • wt1s3rv3r profile image

      wt1s3rv3r 7 years ago

      You provide some great information in this hub

    • alishaneuron profile image

      alishaneuron 7 years ago from Colorado (U.S)

      Wow you have generated a very innovative idea. Thanks to give me a chance to meet it. I think next generation follow your innovative ideas.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      JNew - Depends on your location, but your comments are true, with the need to search elsewhere, including in suburbs, adult ed/government programs, Charter Schools, and in the private sector among large tutoring agencies, corporate training outfits, or corporations themselves. Some teachers are contracting to teach overseas, especially to teach English in Asian countries. Nationwide in USA, Certified Teachers and Certified Teacher Assistants as a job listing increased 168% from 12/08 to 7/1/10 (chart added above); with openings rating high in lists around some of my metro area Hubs. However, all levels of "professor" decreased significantly during the same time period.

      A number of teachers can no longer teach in Ohio at all, because they were not able to obtain a masters of education degree within 10 years of their career start, as now required.

      Thanks for your testimony!

    • profile image

      JNew 7 years ago

      Currently there are many unemployed teachers due to the budget cuts in many states. You are looking at least tens of thousands of unemployed teachers. Therefor its almost impossible to find a job as a teacher. Job opportunites may change over time but keep this in mind. I am one of those unemployed teachers looking for a job with four years of teaching expirience and can not even get an interview anymore. I have heard other unemployed teachers are having a hard time finding jobs too. Districts are telling me there is 200-500 applicants for one or two teaching jobs right now.

    • lamincome profile image

      lamincome 7 years ago

      Thanks for the info! I'm gonna tell my nephew about this article!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Yes, it is sometimes the same in USA. marketing and finance industries create more wealth and expand more businesses, so are more highly paid.

    • fitman profile image

      fitman 7 years ago from Ankara,Turkey

      My brother is working as an engineer , he is very intelligent ,hardworking and he can achieve whatever job one can give him .But he makes less money than marketing ,finance staff .Is it the same in your Country? I never understand why these hardworking intellgent people are paid less than business people.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Hoping that this infomration helps people secure good jobs quickly...

    • Garima Bothra profile image

      Garima Bothra 7 years ago from Jaipur, India

      Hi Patty,

      Enlightening one. I am a student and get lot of tips from this hub.

      Thanks and thumbs up!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I always love and learn at your hubs Patty!! thank you!!

    • xs13 profile image

      xs13 7 years ago from Homyel, Belarus

      Hi there! Nice lens! Here I've got a new blog post about Brian Kopp. Check it please.

    • Greenheart profile image

      Greenheart 7 years ago from Cambridge

      Thanks Patty for the hub.

      There is a line of thinking that more and more people will move away from the traditional security / insecurity of 9-5 paid work.They will discover and appreciate the network marketing industry in which you can work from home and make a great income while being your own boss.This is an empowering approach.And really works.Two of the top network marketing companies make over $16 billion between them,Amway and Avon.

      Wishing you a happy new year.


    • kcnck profile image

      kcnck 7 years ago

      Very thoughtfully written hub, giving pay and rating of each.

    • networkrecruiting profile image

      networkrecruiting 7 years ago from Spicy Alabama

      Fantastic hub, it shows where the employment sector is heading and the vast array of opportunities available in the future.

    • christianesk profile image

      christianesk 7 years ago from The Global Hamlet

      Well done. This is an informative hub. My prediction is that IT requirements, electrical engineering based work and jobs that arise out of future "green" technologies are going to go into overdrive over the next twenty-five years. These areas of work will all "feed off one another" to create more of the same.

    • profile image

      spirittrouper 8 years ago

      Nice hub.

    • profile image

      spirittrouper 8 years ago

      hello. nice hub.

    • profile image

      lifecoachlive 8 years ago

      Great Hub!! This is information that we all can use. Thanks for sharing.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Thanks for all the comments!

      Emerging industries meed to emerge faster, I think :)

    • profile image

      Jake Chambers 8 years ago

      College students as well as those seeking career change will find this a great source of information. Recession proof jobs are a good place to look for employment now, but in a few months I would want to keep an eye on the new growth markets that will lead us out of the recession.

    • Kent Campbell profile image

      Kent Campbell 8 years ago from Ventura, California

      You provide some great information in this hub. College students sometimes don't realize just how many opportunities that they have and that they should take advantage of. Even if you don't have a college degree, hard work and some research can get you a recession proof job.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      A lot of information, here. I'm sure you spent a lotof time doing this hub, so thank you.

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 8 years ago from India

      You know my Grandpa used to say that things realted to these three will never go in a loss.




      It is so true, no matter how sad a state the economy is in you will eat, you will wear clothes and you will live in some sort of home.

    • profile image

      SEO Freelancer 8 years ago

      Good Hub. I wish kids were taught more about setting up their own businesses and working for themselves. This is lacking in the UK anyway.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      A wonderful list of jobs another excellent hub

    • Becca's Blog profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 8 years ago from A Cornfied in the Midwest

      Really good information. Good to know there are at least some good jobs to be had out there.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      It is taking some time for the sustainability jobs to emerge, but they are arising. Check my top 30 Cities list for those jobs, such as in Idaho. Check universitites that are partnering with business and governement in this area in the Top 30.

    • GypsyZills profile image

      GypsyZills 8 years ago

      Great hub, wish I read it before studying anthropology for four years and then doing a masters in global movements, social justice and sustainability. Sigh, I knew jobs would be hard to come by, but THIS hard?

    • profile image

      belfast maine 8 years ago

      Great Hub you have here :) Please check out my Belfast Maine website would love to network!

    • smichael308 profile image

      smichael308 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great hub! Lots of great suggestions

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I can't tell form my own life - I maintain a minimal carbon footprint and do not spend much money or make large purchases. I know many senior citizens that returned to work in the last 2 years, though, so that may be an indication of recession or bad retirement planning.

    • profile image

      christopher247 9 years ago

      Are we trully living in a "recession" ??

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Interesting observation, Chad.

      Of course, the underground economy seems to be growing more rapidly in the last 5 years as well.

    • profile image

      Chad 9 years ago

      You forgot "criminal" with the way the economy is going, and a completely dem government, criminal would be the idea profession. We'll have record job loss, an overwhelmed police force and strict gun control. woot for criminal being number one.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      "Kina" (RIPE/Amsterdam). Stop leaving irrelevant profanity on Hubs.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      That is a brilliant idea, ad-agency! Our work began with 13 year olds, but 10 year olds could benefit and have fun with it as well. Thanks for the idea and I hope everyone that reads this will pass it on to parents and teachers. It could be part of Social Studies.

    • Brian Kopp profile image

      Brian Kopp 9 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      I love your hub

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

    • Hein Marais profile image

      Hein Marais 9 years ago from Ireland

      Wonderful Hub. Great Information.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I envy college students today - so much more opportunity for both men and women. New worlds to explore as well.

      Best of success to you!

    • Nicki B profile image

      Nicki B 9 years ago from Orange County, Ca

      This is a really great resource for me as a university student... still not quite sure which path I want to take, but this will help to decide. Thanks for the hub.

      -Nicki B.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks In The Doghouse. Much success to your son!

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California


      A wonderful list of jobs that will be available during a recession or anytime. My son is finding a niche in the national security industry... go figure! These are all wonderful suggestions, and yes, you gotta eat!