Recession proof jobs are a hot topic in the post-Pandemic world. Economic turbulence plagues much of the world, causing rippling effects on supply chains here at home. It is likely that there will be an economic downturn in the not too distant future, if not a recession. Indicators are hard to read and forecasts vary depending on which expert you engage. The clouds on the economic horizon have been accompanied by the thunder of layoffs and restructuring. And the lightning is getting closer to your desk. So, why not prepare for the worst and hope for the best?
Here are some insights into jobs and industries that can withstand severe economic crisis. A recent study by Gartner
Food and Beverage: Everyone’s gotta eat and drink
Historically, supply chains have proven to be somewhat hearty and sturdy when under pressure. Because people still need goods and services, supply chains are able to withstand somewhat catastrophic circumstances. Of course everyone is impacted by things like a global pandemic. Yet, supply chain functions were some of the first to rebound. The consequential flood of ecommerce fueled by government funded cash injections created an almost immediate need for increased service and activity. However, there are some parts of the supply chain that prove heartier than others.
No matter what happens, people need to eat and drink. Whether humans are receiving their sustenance from public sector assistance programs or on their own dime, they will find ways to consume. The consumer packaged goods and food and beverage sectors tend to thrive in these situations, as compared to other, less essential fields.
Consider logistics and transportation for Coca-Cola. How much downsizing happened during the Pandemic shut down for these folks? In fact, demand increased and has held steady post pandemic. Bottling plants had to keep bottling. Production facilities had to keep producing. The logistics of transportation had to continue to be deployed. In all actuality, a lot of this was being done short-handed. People got sick or decided they didn’t want to risk exposure to an unknown virus. Pivots were made to automation and digitization to streamline operations.
As things began to normalize, every supply chain sector had been impacted. The need for strategic talent and those who could drive transformational change increased along with those needed to run the day to day business. C-suite executives were asking their direct reports what they could do to be better prepared in the event of another disruption of this type.
Supply Chain Technology
If you don’t know what these things are or are unfamiliar with how to deploy them, then it is safe to say that you don’t hold a recession proof job in supply chain. Employers are constantly looking for competitive advantages and implementing emerging supply chain technologies can provide that edge that so many c-suite executives are seeking. If you bring this tech acumen to the table, you’ll likely be able to call your own shots, regardless of the state of the economy. This is particularly true for Planning tools and Advanced Analytics to enable faster more accurate supply chain decisions
Technological advances like those mentioned here reshape the supply chain landscape every day. Supply chain leaders are desperate to diversify their talent pools with technologically savvy employees. C-suite executives have to contend with a “skill loss cycle” because key employees become burnt out due to the pressure of being some of the only people on staff who can manage complex software and technology platforms being deployed in supply chains at a much higher rate.
If your goal is to obtain a recession proof job in supply chain, then consider becoming certified and trained in any number of supply chain software platforms. Anecdotally, we have heard from people in industry who self taught themselves go to software languages like Python and R and used it to demonstrate greater value to their current employer
There are advantages to being the boss. However, in times of crisis, leadership positions are some of the most easily identifiable recession proof jobs. As the old saying goes, “heavy lies the crown.” Yes, this is true. You want to keep your best people. However, your best leaders may not be in positions of power.
Top executives who are in touch with their staff and key employees understand that leaders are developed. Bringing up talent through the ranks from tactical to operational to strategic is often the best route to go. These leaders are hungrier and less complacent because they know how easily it can be taken from them. Typically, rising through the ranks earns these leaders more respect from the front line workers.
It’s good to be proactive about your continuous improvement practices in times of economic turbulence. Where are you weak? What are the blind spots for you and your team? Have you developed and resourced initiatives that will deliver plan positive impact in the current fiscal year?
It’s also well known that those with the highest salaries can be downsized to cut costs. Are your top earners doing what needs to be done to hold themselves accountable? Are they self directed in shifting resources against work that is critical to growing top line and expanding margins? Do they seek internal and external collaboration in a healthy manner? Do they have the respect of their direct reports?
These are tactics to explore regardless of economic turbulence. But, if and when the proverbial waste flies into the fan, you’ll want to rest easy knowing that the leaders you have in place are dedicated to success of the overall business and have the respect of their peers and subordinates. It’s important to remember that titles do not equal respect. And your supply chain jobs are only as recession proof as their weakest links.
The simple fact of the matter is that economic disruption is rampant. Rampant hiring freezes and layoffs are to be expected in the coming year. Employees should prepare for this, even in the absence of more mitigating external factors. Inflation and interest rates continue to soar, forcing tough decisions on employers as they head into 2023. The world of supply chain is rife with even more built in volatility and disruption, as southeast Asia grapples with a spike in Covid and eastern Europe remains mired in war. Two things are certain, however: Technological advancements and human consumption. If you can position your employment amongst either – OR BOTH – of these sectors in most any industry, you will likely secure long term job security and growth opportunities that can withstand economic volatility and even be considered recession proof jobs. Good luck!