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In times of economic uncertainty, it’s natural for workers to evaluate the security of their jobs.

When a recession happens and the GDP dips, it can have a significant impact on individuals, businesses, and the economy.

Despite being a part of an economic cycle, it’s not always easy on people if there are threats to jobs or working hours.

But there’s plenty of opportunity to position yourself well.

With predictions of a likely global recession over the next few years, it’s normal to feel worried about where your job or employer is heading.

Whilst there may not be such thing as a recession-proof job there are certainly recession-proof skills that workers can develop and hone to help ensure their security.

Even during times when economic insecurity isn’t looming, it pays to refine and highlight your skills, so you can be ready now and in the future.

What is a recession?

Recessions are defined as a period of no less than two back-to-back quarters of economic growth in which gross domestic product contracts. Each recession can impact personal and professional life differently and 'usually results in job losses and an increase in the unemployment rate,’ as well as tightened organisational budgets.

With domestic and global issues pressuring the Australian economy, the cost-cutting seen during economic uncertainty could negatively impact the jobs market.

With this in mind, remaining employed will hinge on an individual worker’s ability to build on and display specific soft and technical skills to employers. In short, skills that will be transferable no matter the job or the industry. 

7 recession-proof skills 

Recession-proof skills refer to abilities or knowledge that are in high demand and are unlikely to become obsolete, regardless of economic conditions. These skills are valued by employers and can help individuals stay employable during tough economic times, such as recessions when job losses are possible. 

1. Communication

Communication is one of the most critical recession-proof skills to have. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively will prove beneficial on a daily basis. According to a survey, poor communication can lead to lost sales, low morale and significant project delays. 

Whether communicating with or listening to colleagues, management or clients, the ability to appropriately convey thought processes, decisions and actions required is a skill needed across all industries that will ensure you stand out from others. 

Related: Why effective communication skills are vital for admin roles

2. Emotional intelligence

At the heart of all organisations is the need to interact with others. ‘Emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to understand their own emotions, as well as other peoples’ emotions, and ultimately to make decisions using this information during everyday life and in the workplace.’

While communication skills are paramount, emotional intelligence is equally as important because this variety of intelligence aids people in relating to others, diffusing potential conflicts and motivating fellow workers. Emotional intelligence 'is an important factor in job performance both on an individual level and a group level.’

3. Leadership

The ability to both manage and motivate fellow workers is another key recession-proof skill. This is largely due to the fact that leadership skills make employees more valuable to employers.

Employers will look at resumes that showcase leadership skills, so include yours when applying for your next role. 

4. Adaptability

Adaptability— the ability to adjust to changing circumstances or dynamics— is a highly valued characteristic, whether employers are looking at current employees or looking to hire additional staff.

For those looking for recession-proof skills, adaptability ensures that you can pivot into new roles or entirely different industries seamlessly. 

5. Self-management

Self-management is a crucial attribute employers seek as it highlights that workers can be assigned and complete tasks, whilst taking instructions, without the need for additional human resources or time, contributing to a better functioning organisation. 

6. Time management

Time management is essential. Otherwise, deadlines could be missed or customers are unfairly impacted. Which means lost business. 

With people and processes at the core of all business operations, time management is a crucial quality for workers looking for recession-proof skills. 

7. Technology proficiency

One of the most essential recession-proof hard skills is the ability to work with and understand technology. According to the National Skills Commission, 69% of jobs require a high level of digital skills. 

Every business will have different requirements. However, a basic understanding of the Microsoft Office suite and administrative operating programs will prove to current and potential employers that you can adopt and adapt.

Anything you can do to upskill in this area will prove fruitful. 

Related: 7 must-have administrative skills you need to up your game

David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific, said:

“The skills employers need are not only evolving rapidly but also directly translating into new-look job descriptions and evolving skill sets. Just a few years ago, marketing managers weren’t assessed on their ability to configure software, nor were software developers judged by their skills in building rapport with stakeholders. However advancing technology is creating both new opportunities for workers and new challenges for employers trying to fill roles.”

Whilst not a definitive list, the seven skill sets above should be primary areas of focus to continually develop, foster and bring attention to when it comes to looking for new opportunities to grow. 

If you are looking for a new role ahead of economic uncertainty, Robert Half can help you find the perfect role. Apply for your next job now.