Post-layoff, what are “recession-proof” industries?

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Q:  I have recently been laid off and I want to look at opportunities in a more secure industry.  In March, I was terminated from a travel-industry software company.  What companies are recession-proof?


A:  Many job seekers are looking at industries which have not been impacted by COVID-19.  There are some industries which have experienced upticks.  Some food service companies are hiring, including Instacart and Taco Bell.  As many of us are spending more time in our homes, companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot are also hiring.  I just bought a rug online from Wayfair this weekend.  Usually I would head out to HomeGoods but Wayfair will deliver for free by Wednesday.  Other companies hiring include Amazon, CVS Health, Chewy, and online learning organizations like Edx.

You raise a good point.  Many employers who touch travel, restaurants or transportation are struggling.  Some of these companies may not make it to the other side of this pandemic. Or they may have to re-think their model of delivering services in the short-term (and possibly long-term).

No company or industry is completely recession-proof.  Many are able to pivot or rebound but few companies are “recession-proof” in the year 2020 or beyond.  Some job seekers have landed in education, thinking that was recession-proof.  Nope, not in 2020.  Some job seekers have been hired by companies, which were on an upward trajectory prior to March, 2020.  The balance sheet looked promising and the economy was speeding along.  Domestic and international crises like COVID-19, September 11th attacks, the Great Depression of 1932, and wars all impact employers differently.  World War II was a catalyst for Boeing’s growth in late 1930’s into the early 1940’s.  However, in late May, 2020, Boeing laid off over 6500 workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you begin to search for your next role, think about industries that will likely thrive post COVID-19.  There are some sectors thriving, some holding their own and some struggling.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.