Recession-proof careers

By at home

With so many layoffs and economic woes, it may seem like a frightening time to look for work. But here are 12 careers that have staying power in the face of the recession

  1. Hairdressers Even though many of us are visiting our usual hairdressers slightly less often to save cash, we are still making the pilgrimage to have our tresses shorn on a regular basis. UK hair salons turn over £5.2 billion a year and this doesn’t look it’s slowing down. Some of the UK’s biggest salon chains, including Saks, Regis and Toni & Guy, are still expanding. Some of us are taking the cheaper route though – sales of home hair dye has increased massively and is up £28 million more than forecasts predicted before the credit crunch hit.
  2. Pawnshops Traditionally a destination of the desperate, pawnshops are busier than ever before, with many people preferring to pawn their precious possessions than to sell them directly on ebay. Pawnshops in Europe and the USA, are reporting up to 400% growth in business, since October 2008. And with the price of gold rising, many people are pawning in their gold for cash, as pawnbrokers make instant profits on the gold price.
  3. Cleaning Schools, offices and hospitals all need cleaning which is why there are currently around 45,000 jobs available nationwide and probably 60,000 if you factor in domestic cleaning jobs. Swine flu has upped the stakes too – thorough cleaning is essential for the nation’s health. There’s room for progress too with some cleaners starting up their own businesses and reaping the rewards.
  4. Bar staff While the restaurant business may be floundering, bars won’t exactly boom, but they will be the first place people stop after getting the boot. Hey, people drink more when times are tough.
  5. Campsites Even if there is an economic crisis, holidays are still a need for most people, and while the high end and long haul tourist business is suffering, lower end camping holidays are becoming the trend. In 2009, the total number of camping and caravanning holidays is set to reach 11.2 million and membership of The Camping and Caravanning Club has increased by 52,000, with increases particularly high among 30- to 49-year-olds.
  6. Fast food It seems that healthy eating is going out of the window in the recession as sales of fast food is on the up. Domino’s Pizza has slashed its prices as its sales increase, KFC announced a huge expansion drive which will create 9,000 jobs and 300 new outlets and McDonald’s increased its sales by 7.6% in the final quarter of 2008.
  7. Military Jobs Young people inspired by patriotism or facing joblessness during the recession have contributed to a surge in the number
    of army recruits. Ministry of Defence figures show a 25% rise in the number of recruits this year, with more signing up than at any time since 2005. There has also been a drop in the number of people who quit between basic training and passing out – down from 35% to 28%
    over the last year.
  8. Debt collecting The speed and depth of the recession caught out a lot of businesses who were then not prepared to cope with the issue of late payments. With credit harder to obtain from banks, professional debt collection has become one of the most cost-effective ways of improving cash flow and reducing outstanding payments.
  9. Recycling and rubbish disposal Humans create waste and we’ll always need people to maintain and relocate our rubbish. With big pressure on local councils to recycle as much as they can this is a burgeoning industry, particularly as landfills are fast running out. But we still have a long way to go. According to The Friends of the Earth an estimated 24 million tonnes of recyclable materials are still ending up in landfill or being incinerated each year. Recyclable products such as plastics can be sold for profit, but we are still throwing tonnes away wasting £650 million per year. The government is under pressure to ban recyclable rubbish going to landfill, which will in turrn create jobs. It is imperative that new ways to divert and reuse our rubbish is implemented offering considerable commercial opportunities for relevant companies and plenty of job opportunities.
  10. Gold Traders Confidence in banks and currencies is at an all time low, as many investors are turning to gold as a safe haven. Trading in gold is a short-term winner, until confidence grows again in the economy, and people feel safe that their currencies are not going to be devalued. Gold is one commodity that doesn’t lose value.
  11. Renewable energy and green technology Government plans to create at least 100,000 jobs around the UK to ease unemployment includes big investment in alternative energy sources and green technology, creating ‘green jobs’ in wind and wave power. There is a skills shortage in this area but stagnation and decline in the oil and gas industries creates a potential for the industries’ workers to transfer their skills into the renewables sector.

A word from James
While there has been a downturn during the recession, some businesses are still doing well. Notably, companies which are embracing the development of innovation, science and technology are reaping the benefits.

Recession winners
In the recent economic downturn, it may come as no surprise that online companies are riding the crisis fairly well. But you may be surprised by the nature of their businesses…

Love in a cold climate
Online dating service, has seen a recent rise in popularity. In January this year, the website recorded a 26% year-on-year rise in new members, and in the same month it recorded eight of its 10 busiest days to date, which reveals that existing members are using the service more and more, too.

The current economic climate, therefore, is certainly not acting as a barrier to stop or delay people’s quest to find love. Jason Stockwood, international managing director of, explains that January is a natural time for people to reflect on their lives and try to find a potential partner, despite the recession.

‘Online dating is a cost-effective and more efficient way of meeting people without spending £50 on a night out in a noisy bar,’ he says.

‘It is hard to determine what impact the economy is having on our business, but we are investing more both in our product and our marketing, which is paying dividends,’ Jason says.

He also predicts further growth in the market this year. He says: ‘Technology plays an increasingly important part in people’s lives and relationships are a fundamental human need.’

Money-pinching ideas
Since the credit crunch began, consumers have become more aware of their spending, and, as a result, they are focusing on ways they can save money on things such as retail shopping, days out, meals, holidays and more. To do so, people are turning to specialist money-saving and consumer finance websites, which have all seen an increase in traffic.

A good example of this is the website, founded by journalist Martin Lewis. It provides consumers with information on the best deals on mortgages, shopping, credit cards and more. In January, 7.9 million users made 15.8 million separate visits to the site and over 3 million people have signed up to its weekly email bulletin.

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