Three industries that offer workers a safe haven

| May 28, 2019

If you’re living in Australia, you’ve just witnessed one of the most improbable election victories in recent memory. In it, Scott Morrison and his Liberal-National coalition managed to hang on to their grip on power, helped by a campaign that fed the nation’s fears of a cooling economy. The reason that the tactic worked is simple: Australia’s economy is in trouble – and plenty of it.

For Australians, the new economic reality is starting to manifest itself in some troubling ways. First, the housing market has started to weaken significantly, then the Australian Dollar fell to a fresh three-year low, and all the while, wage growth has remained flat. The good news is that there are still parts of the Australian economy that are humming along quite nicely, and there’s still time for Australians to move into those resilient sectors to give themselves a better chance to ride out the economic storm. Here’s what they are.

Healthcare and Social Assistance

One of the sectors of the Australian economy that has thus far remained immune to the broader economic woes is healthcare and social assistance. The reason for that is the fact that the nation’s population is ageing and that’s creating ongoing demand for skilled workers in the sector. It’s also forcing wages in the industry to rise much faster than in the broader economy, reaching 2.8% in the third quarter of last year. For workers, that translates to increased job security and greater upward mobility. Best of all, the growth drivers won’t be affected by the weakening economy, so it’s a sector that will provide a safe harbour for workers, come what may.

Education and Training

Another sector that’s doing remarkably well despite the overall slowdown is the education and training sector. Australia’s education system has a well-earned reputation for quality and student satisfaction that stretches back many years. That has allowed schools here to attract a growing number of international students that are helping the sector continue to grow. That, in turn, is leading to excellent demand for labour in the education sector. When you add in strong growth in online degree programmes offered by Australian universities, you have a recipe for a recession-proof industry.

Information Technology

As is the case in much of the rest of the world, the Australian information technology (IT) sector is continuing to post stronger results than almost all of the rest of the economy. Spending in the space is even projected to outpace the global average this year, pointing to further growth in the industry. Much of that growth is centred on startups building new artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions, in addition to a surge in app developers setting up shop all over the country. That is creating plenty of opportunities for web developers, programmers, and IT support staff in almost every part of the nation. Jobs in the sector also tend to be at the higher side of the wage scale, owing to the high degree of skill required of workers in the space.

Success Despite Headwinds

Even as the storm clouds continue to gather over the Australian economy, the above industries remain well positioned to grow in the coming years. In healthcare, that growth is based on internal demand that will continue to grow no matter what happens to the rest of the economy. The education and IT sectors, by contrast, will find plenty of external factors to keep them healthy and stable for the foreseeable future.

The bottom line is that any of these industries are a safe bet for any Australian that’s concerned about making a living if and when the current slowdown turns into a full-blown recession. Plus, they’re all sectors that will form the core of the national economy going forward, so there’s no risk of getting stuck in a dead-end career in any of them. Taken together, that means moving into any one of these three standout industries would make an excellent decision in the near-term and the long-term. That’s a rare alignment of outlooks, and one Australians should take advantage of now, while they still have the option to do so.