The Top 5 best performing public job sectors during the recession and beyond

By Public Jobs Direct the public sector recruitment specialist

Many officials and economists around the world claim that in spring 2009 the global economy passed the critical test for what lies ahead. Although, nobody can guarantee with certainty that the recession is over many believe that the economy showed glimpses of recovery. The stable  and in some cases increasing prices in the housing market, the latest rally in the stock markets in Europe, Asia and the US are some of the reasons to be more optimistic for the future.

Nevertheless, both Ben Bernanke, the president of the Federal Reserve in the US and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of IMF, claimed that the situation is still fragile and the recovery will be slow. With plans to inject even more money into troubled companies and sectors (the so called “statistical easiness”) it is almost certain that it will take longer than initially thought for economies to fully recover. In the UK, the Governor of the Bank of England Mervin King is under new pressures to print more money as GDP slumps again.

One of the sectors mainly affected by the recent developments in the economy is the labour market. The unemployment index has reached record levels in the UK and Europe and predictions are less promising for 2010. Latest data from the British Chambers of Commerce economic survey indicate that the UK recession is still very serious and that unemployment can be expected to grow rapidly in 2009 and 2010. So which job sectors can be considered “safe” and how the economic situation will affect the jobs market? We will analyse in this article the top 5 best performing public job sectors and which the safest career choices are at a time of economic slowdown. Are you safe in your existing job or do you welcome the opportunity to try something new?

This is a list (in no particular order) of the top 5 best performing public job sectors according to Public Jobs Direct. The analysis refers to the sector as a whole and presents future plans that strengthen will their performance.


Latest figure show that the education sector is still going strong and for certain disciplines such as science teachers the situation is even more promising. With shortages for such skills across the majority of schools in the UK the demand for teachers is on the increase.  The new plans of the government to invest in building more schools also gives a boost in the employment activity for this sector.

Health and Social Care

Similar to education health and social care seems to be a “recession-proof” sector. The government in an effort to reduce unemployment is not adopting job cutting practices in this sector and on the contrary continues to hire new personnel.  Doctors, administrative staff and social care workers are still high in demand.  The social care reform plan than was launched in early 2008 outlines the roadmap to help councils redesign and reshape their services and systems over the next 3 years.

Public Transport

Public spending on infrastructure is one of the popular measures governments adopt in order to stimulate the economy in situations such as a recession. Investing in public transport development helps both the employment market and at the same time improves the local communities. With the 2012 Olympics just 3 years away the government is planning to invest in certain infrastructure improvements such are trains and busses. Moreover a £1bn plan to electrify the main rail route between London and Swansea has been announced by the government.

Renewable Energy

This is another sector where the government is planning to invest heavily in the next few years. The prime minister unveiled that the plan is “to build up Britain’s clean power supply in order to reach the EU-imposed target of producing 15% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020”. With a total investment that exceeds £100 billion the estimate is that the renewable energy programme would generate around 160,000 jobs.


Despite some major job losses in the short term mainly in the financial sector, the IT sector is proving quite resistant in the mid to long term.  After all, we live in a technology driven world. Many companies have the standard practice of cutting jobs in the IT infrastructure and outsource their operation in the short terms. But the demand for highly technical and skilled professionals drives the market. Companies will usually invest in new projects and systems (both software and hardware) in order prepare their in-house operations for the “day after the recession”.  The demand for talented software designers and developers is currently growing and there seems to be an increasing trend for the next 4 years.

PublicJobsDirect is a leading recruiter for the public sector in the UK.

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