Recession Ready

Pursuing an advanced degree in your chosen field or entering an industry that is relatively less prone to the effects of an economic downturn can help you rise up the career ladder even during a financial crunch.

Last year’s economic crisis set students economists as well as corporates thinking about whether or not it is possible to make one’s career recession proof. It is easy to feel the heat by imagining the consequences of the educational and career choices you make amidst a downturn. Inevitably then questions such as – what will the employment situation of my specialization be in 18 months or two years’ time, will my master’s degree be valuable to employers, will it help me pursue a career in an upcoming field or into an industry experiencing troubled times? – are not uncommon. So is it possible to make your career recession proof?

Yes! There is no dearth of opportunities if you are competent enough. This is possible by constantly updating your knowledge according to the industry demands. You may enroll for an advanced degree or the right certification courses that will enhance your job prospects or make you more valuable to your current employer.

However, while selecting the right master’s program you need to be well aware of what your master’s can do for you. If you want to gauge the rewards of a master’s degree in terms of employability during a recession you need to perceive the situation from a different perspective. Essentially you should ask yourself – what problem will my master’s degree help me solve?

The answer to this varies according to the job you apply for. For instance, if you are replying to a job advert in as SME, the problem you are expected to solve will be in the job description. Similarly if you are applying to a corporation the problem you are solving is really one of talent supply. Do you look like a future manager or leader within that organization? Ultimately as an entry level recruit you are there to demonstrate that the human resources personnel know what they are doing.

However, the same question works just as well if you are looking to enter an industry that is recession proof. Place yourself at the center of any one of the challenges the world is facing and you can be certain that you will be joining an emerging industry unlikely to be significantly hit by economic downturns. Three of the greatest challenges at the moment are demographic change, technical change and climate change. So, industries which confront these problems are among the most likely to remain recession proof in the coming years.

Demographic change


It is no accident that healthcare is frequently referred to as a sector that has bucked the recession. People are living longer all over the world and everyone naturally wants the highest standards of healthcare for themselves and their families. Entering the healthcare industry in any capacity, be it as a clinician, researcher or service provider therefore is a good bet.

It is worth adding that within any of the industries, there will of course be surges of supply and demand. The software skills that are in demand today are not necessarily the ones that will be required in two or three year’s time. The time lag between deciding to pursue a master’s and entering the employment market can lead to periods of oversupply. This is why it is important to research the future of the field you plan to do your master’s in.


You can have as many means of communication as you please but you still must have the content to communicate. More people with access to faster broadband and greater amounts of leisure time are going to create a boom in the communication industry. At the moment, everyone is still experimenting with new types of content creation business models for a world where everyone can broadcast anything at any time. However, what is certain is that this is going to lead to of opportunities for creating content on behalf of consumers and business (as every organization now needs professionals levels of communication just as businesses need professional accountants).

Climate change

During these difficult times, finding a new driver of our economy is going to be critical. , said Professor, Executive Director of the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management at IE Business School, Madrid in early 2009, I think that the environmental challenge will definitely provide a strategic direction to industry.

Although last year’s Copenhagen conference failed to set a policy framework for action on climate change by nations tackling climate change is going to create demand for new skills and the support services that go with them. It may be a truism but there is a future in green industries such as carbon capture and storage, manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells bio fuels recycling resources and in the re-engineering of the energy performance of existing buildings, systems and infrastructure.

Whatever industry you choose to be a part of the best thing to do is to secure yourself by adopting a futuristic thought process and asking yourself – What is the next problem I am going to solve?

Even during lean periods the market does not disappear completely, it just shrinks.