Empowering the Freelance Economy

Top 5 recession-proof professions that you may want to consider

Could you use your existing skills to shift to a recession-proof career? Photo by Alex Green via Pexels
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While the British may not like to admit it, what happens in the US jobs market and Central Bank policy has a tendency to influence decision-making over in Old Blighty. That’s why it doesn’t hurt for freelancers and career shifters to keep tabs on what’s happening in America so they can prepare for any after shocks.


People are already getting job loss jitters in America. In a recent survey, 78% of Americans said that they are worried about losing their job, while 25% say they’ve been laid off or know someone who has been.

When Amazon (AMZN) announced on Thursday that it is pressing pause on corporate hiring, this rose a few eyebrows and heartbeats.

Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at Amazon (AMZN) wrote in a note to employees:“We anticipate keeping this pause in place for the next few months, and will continue to monitor what we’re seeing in the economy and the business to adjust as we think makes sense.”

Just like families across the UK, American families are struggling with inflation, as three-quarters of middle-income Americans can no longer support their cost of living. But one thing Americans have been known for is their proactive mindset when the proverbial doo-doo hits the fan, as it is now, with daily announcements of mass job cuts in the tech sector.

Crippling recession and job uncertainty have forced Americans to act, with 40% actively planning a career change, seeking more security and a higher salary, according to the team at ELVTR, an online education platform. The company surveyed 21,500 Americans looking to change or enhance their careers to discover the top 5 recession-proof professions, which are outlined below. 

“Following decades of wage stagnation, our workforce is finally seeking more,” said Roman Peskin, co-founder and CEO of ELVTR.

Peskin said that close to a quarter of employees are considering their options and scrambling to expand their expertise. But so too are thousands of others.

What is skills inflation?

Peskin explained: “When ‘skills inflation’ hits, the supply of candidates increases and the number of available roles plummets. Ultimately, mastering mass market skills are unlikely to improve a job seeker’s prospects. Instead, employees should focus on acquiring skills that are less common among today’s workforce, yet no less valuable and desirable to employers.”

Top 5 recession-proof professions

Here are the top 5 professions that, according to ELVTR, are in high demand, with each paying up to around $100,000 (£87,110) a year:

1. Product Management
The study said that a world driven by technology, there’s no shortage of innovation or demand for talent in the IT sector, but companies aren’t just seeking technologists. They also require those with product management skills to ensure the success of their products. According to Glassdoor, there are 17,725 current openings in the product management field.

“IT product managers can expect a respectable salary and opportunities to progress. Offering a pathway into the lucrative tech industry that doesn’t require the ability to code, more and more career-seekers are looking to follow in the footsteps of former product managers such as Susan Wojcicki and Sundar Pichai,” said the report.

Average salary, Glassdoor:  $96,496 per year (£84,278)

2. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Management
According to LinkedIn, the number of ‘head of diversity’ professionals has more than doubled since 2015, with companies such as Electronic Arts, Deloitte and Amazon among those hiring. Shown to boost productivity, employee retention and morale, and with 75% of job seekers evaluating a company’s diversity when considering a job offer, investment in DEI management positions will only increase.

“By mastering skills such as communication, issue identification and conflict management, candidates can secure a career in this growing field. Besides offering a lucrative career choice, such roles are perfect for those hoping to leave a positive mark on our workplaces and society,” said the report.

Average salary, Glassdoor: $89,804 per year (£78,433)

3. Game Production
The gaming industry grew by 26% between 2019 and 2021 and will continue on this trajectory despite the recession, according to PwC, as consumers seek low-cost entertainment.

With gaming a favourite hobby among young consumers, this ranks as the most desirable industry among job-seekers, with new professionals seeking a career doing what they love most, said the report.

“To beat the competition, candidates will need to master scarcely available skills. This is not just an opportunity for those with coding knowledge and experience. To meet demand, the industry will need to recruit a diverse range of skills — from UX/UI to sound engineering, and programming to script writing.”

Average salary, Glassdoor: $87,024 per year (£76,005)

4. Creative Direction
With sector job prospects projected to grow 11% this decade, faster than the US job market average, there is an evident need for art direction skills. A decline is unlikely despite the economic situation, said the report, as people continue to seek entertainment during tough times and businesses increase their advertising efforts to maintain recognition and loyalty.

“Opposing the ‘starving artist’ stereotype, art direction roles enable creative types to showcase their creativity with the guarantee of reward,” according to ELVTR.

Average salary, Glassdoor: $72,694 per year (£63,489)

5. Data Analysis
With an ever-growing amount of data available to businesses, professionals with the analysis skills to transform this into valuable insight are in high demand. According to LinkedIn, data science vacancies have been growing by 37% annually in the US. 

With roles spread across almost all industries, those competent in data analysis have the freedom to pick a role and sector that appeals to them, such as banking, healthcare, retail or tech. Also requiring above-average computer literacy and mathematical skills, this is by no means an easy profession, but the rewards are equal to the requirements with even entry-level analysts commanding above-average salaries.

Average salary, Glassdoor: $63,731 per year (£55,661)

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