British Columbia

If a Canadian recession hits, who's most at risk of losing their job?

There's little doubt the economy is slowing down, and many people are wondering about their job security. Money columnist Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares insights on which jobs might be at greater risk and what you can do about it.

Resource industry most likely to slim down, while education, healthcare sectors more stable

With a Canadian recession potentially looming, money columnist Rubina Ahmed-Haq explains which industries are likely to be hit hardest, and what you can do to protect your job. (Getty Images/OJO Images RF)

Is Canada in a recession? So far, the messages are mixed. But there's little doubt the economy is slowing down, and many people are wondering about their job security.

Money columnist Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares her insights on which jobs might be at greater risk and what you can do about it.

Jobs at greatest risk

The industries most likely to slim down during an economic downturn are the resource, manufacturing and construction sectors, Ahmed-Haq said.

"Oil, gas, mining and even construction are cyclical industries where jobs can come and go," she said.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is an experienced financial journalist who shares money management lessons on CBC's On the Coast every Wednesday afternoon. (Supplied)

Employment in the banking industry also mimics economic growth cycles. When the economy slows down, banks make less money from transaction fees and they tend to compensate by laying off junior staff, including financial advisers, investment bankers and analysts, she said. 

As moms and dads lose their jobs, day care workers and nannies may also find their services no longer needed.

Finally, consumers cut back on luxury goods purchases. "When times are tough we give up the extras until we feel more comfortable," Ahmed-Haq said.

Jobs that offer greater security

"There is no such thing as the perfect recession-proof job," said Ahmed-Haq. However, some offer more stability than others.

According to HR World, a leading resource and community for HR professionals, healthcare, education and public sector jobs are typically insulated from economic fluctuations. 

Funeral directors, casino workers and those in the military can also be more confident about their job status.

But Ahmed-Haq says this job-specific approach is too narrow.  

"It's smarter to think about recession-proof industries, rather than recession proof jobs," she said. 

For example, if you're a janitor by trade, you might look for a job at a high school or a teaching centre, since research shows the education sector is less vulnerable to job fluctuations.  

The best thing you can do to protect your job

It's not necessarily about making the leap to a more secure industry, Ahmed-Haq said.

Her best advice is to try as hard as you can to keep the job you have.

"Make yourself indispensable in that career that you're already doing."

She recommends taking training courses to update your skills.

To hear the full interview with Ahmed-Haq, listen to the audio labelled: How to recession-proof your job.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.