If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that employment is fickle. There are no guarantees when it comes to having a recession-proof job. As evidence, some startling numbers came out of the St. Louis Federal Reserve in early April 2020.

Here are three that stood out:

· The coronavirus economic freeze could cost 47 million jobs.

· The unemployment rate could soar past 32 percent.

· There are nearly 67 million Americans working in jobs that are at a high risk of layoffs.

These numbers should wake us out of career melancholy and provoke us to find a profession that fulfills, challenges and inspires us.

Here are a couple of industries on the rise in the midst of these challenging times.

Health Care

Anytime a pandemic or public crisis breaks out, health care workers are on the front line. You’ve seen the heartbreaking stories on the news of completely exhausted and overwhelmed medical professionals. Their skills are so valuable – yet so strained – in the fight against this virus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2026. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.9 million in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026, an increase of 438,100.

But that’s still not enough professionals to meet the needs of the Baby Boomer population.

The Bureau also projects the need for an additional 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026 to fill newly created positions and to replace retiring nurses.

Anyone with a phone received the statewide emergency alert on Tuesday announcing that medical professionals are urged to sign up at IllinoisHelps.net to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Use this experience as an opportunity to pursue a career in the health care field. What better way to help humanity while doing something that brings you career joy?

Technology

As Americans have been forced into isolation, we’ve seen a new explosion in the technology section. Teachers are using Zoom and other online video platforms to help their students socialize and stay on track. Parents are taking to Facebook Live and other online channels to teach their kids about new things. Work meetings have all gone virtual. Online grocery orders and fitness classes have spiked.

Technology is basically another member of the family at this point. Imagine going through the COVID-19 lockdown 20 years ago without video chats or Facebook. Americans are more dependent on tech than ever before, making the industry about as recession-proof as you can get.

What’s the point? Find a career in technology! Here are the top five technology jobs, along with their median salary and education needed, as ranked in a recent U.S. News report:

· IT Manager ($142,530, bachelor’s degree)

· Software Developer ($103,620, bachelor’s degree)

· Information Security Analyst ($98,350, bachelor’s degree) 

· Database Administrator ($90,070, bachelor’s degree)

· Web Developer ($69,430, associate’s degree)

Pick an Industry You Love

Other industries seeing upticks in business are digital retailing, cleaning and sanitization, communications and some sectors of manufacturing. When the dust settles on the COVID-19 catastrophe, don’t get stuck again. You can never go wrong by doing what you love.

If you’ve been furloughed or laid off during this time, use it as motivation to never let history repeat itself. Take online classes to sharpen a skill you’ve always wanted to use in the workforce. Network with professionals in the field you’d like to pursue. Stop scrolling Facebook and start searching for exciting new job opportunities.

Effort equals results. Adversity evokes change.

This post originally appeared in The Southern Illinoisan’s Business Journal. Read it here. Contact The UpWrite Group at Services@TheUpWriteGroup.com for resume services or career coaching.

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