To find out which careers and sectors are offering the safest jobs right now, MSN Money spoke with Tim Cook, managing director of the UK’s largest recruitment firm – Hays. Of course, no job is guaranteed, but these are his choices for finding the most resilient roles and sectors in a downturn, along with his reasons for these selections.
1. Public services
Teachers, doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals can all benefit from a more secure job environment, which is affected by government expenditure rather than the economy at large. Skill shortages in the public services sector will always fuel demand for high-calibre professionals.
2. Social housing
With the majority of Housing Associations nearing completion of their targets, demand for social housing professionals continues to accelerate across a number of disciplines. The type of role sought varies considerably: accountants, procurement specialists and construction workers, as well as the more traditional housing roles, such as maintenance and rent collection.
3. Oil and gas
World reliance on oil and gas makes this a resilient sector for a range of professionals. Demand for commercial staff, reservoir engineers and design and maintenance engineering professionals is buoyant. Newly-qualified accountants are also competing hard to work in the sector, which is not surprising for an industry that offers first-class pay and benefits packages as well as excellent career opportunities.
4. Risk and compliance
Risk and compliance recruitment has surged as corporate governance continues to dominate the business agenda. The days of deregulation are over and the government, along with the FSA, has already specified that all financial services institutions will be more closely scrutinised.
5. Internal audit
In times of financial uncertainty, the internal auditor has an even more important role to play and this has never been recognised more than during a downturn. Job opportunities have naturally been affected, but this remains an in-demand profession. In light of lessons learned during the financial crisis, it is likely that internal auditors will top the list of desirables when recruitment levels start to pick up again.
Hays is seeing a sharp increase in the demand for senior-level candidates in the insurance sector. People typically look to increase and renew their policies in times of financial unrest. There is demand for all classes of underwriters and a strong requirement for sales account executives.
7. Credit control
Credit controllers will benefit in a downturn as people look to mitigate the risks of non-payment, late payments and the opening of new accounts. As companies seek to maintain a healthy cash flow, the role of the credit manager remains in the spotlight.
As organisations focus on cost management, experienced purchasing and procurement professionals are much sought after across both the public and private sectors as companies increasingly recognise the benefits of an effective purchasing team.
9. Nuclear energy
The government has recognised that nuclear energy will have to play a part in our future to ensure the UK can reduce carbon emissions and secure energy supplies. Those nuclear plants that have been decommissioned will now need to be reinstated and there is a severe shortage of engineers with the necessary skills to do this. Civil engineers will be able to transfer their skills to this industry and opportunities are likely to be rife in the future.
There is a strong interim market for human resources (HR) professionals, especially in the fields of change management, employee relations, talent management and reward roles, as organisations review their career development and pay structures. Smaller businesses are rationalising their teams with a shift in favour of general rather than specialist HR skills.
Article written by James Andrews, exclusive to MSN Money