DEAR READERS: While there’s no way to look into a crystal ball to see what the country’s financial future holds, many industry pros are predicting a recession lies ahead. And I know many people are worried that their position might be on the chopping block if things take a turn for the worse. That has me wondering: Are there jobs that likely would be more at risk than others if a recession hits?
First, some data: Most economists say a recession is possible but not probable between now and the 2020 presidential election, according to Bankrate’s Third Quarter Economic Index survey. Predictions ran as high as 75% to a low of 0%, with “the average forecast betting on a 41% chance.”
The truth is that economic cycles are inevitable, according to Greg Githens, executive and leadership coach at Catalyst & Cadre LLC and author of “How to Think Strategically” (StrategicThinkingCoach.com).
“We know that there will be a recession, but we just don’t know when,” says Githens, who notes that recessions reward firms that have a good strategy and move capital away from those that don’t.
“A good strategy recognizes the core challenge facing the organization — impending economic slowdowns, rival’s competitive actions, opportunities for growth,” Githens says. “A bad strategy is a list of things that someone wishes will happen. Unfortunately, when times are good, companies tend to get complacent about their strategy and pay insufficient attention to changes, or impending changes, in their business model.”
Recessions, he adds, tend to cause managers to focus on the core business.
“People who don’t work in the core are often the ones who are released from employment,” Githens says. They also likely will focus on the highest-probability new business opportunities outside of the core business — things “that are essential to the future of the enterprise.”
So what kinds of careers are usually safest when the economy takes a downturn?
“When it comes to weathering a recession or slowdown, there are no guarantees,” says hiring/jobs expert Carisa Miklusak, the CEO of tilr. “But some jobs are generally more stable than others.”
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They include health-care jobs (think nurses, doctors, paramedics and dental hygienists) as well as jobs in law enforcement, public utilities, education, accounting, funeral services and mining, Miklusak says.
So what should you do if hearing all the talk about a recession is causing anxiety?
“One of the best things you can do is to evaluate your role and ensure the projects and initiatives you’re working on are indispensable to your company,” Miklusak says. “That way, if the time comes when they have to make some cuts, you’ll be seen as someone with a critical role.”
Getting your job-hunting tools in order is also a wise move.
“Take some time to refresh your resume and update your LinkedIn profile, including asking colleagues and clients to leave you endorsements and recommendations,” Miklusak says. “Also bolster your relationships with your customers. ... Your position will be tougher to eliminate if your customers view you as integral.”
Being visible and vocalizing your versatility is also important.
“Find ways to stay top-of-mind with your manager, whether it’s setting up a meeting to discuss what’s on the horizon or asking for a midyear performance review,” Miklusak suggests. “It’s important to remind management that you’re passionate about your job and to highlight other roles that you’re able to fill if the time comes that they need to consolidate.”
Being positive is also a benefit.
“Approach your work with enthusiasm, and energize your team,” Miklusak concludes. “You want to be the person that your manager and colleagues will miss most.