The 10 safest jobs in 2009

Biotechnology workers, online analysts and garbage collectors will be some of the safest jobs in Australia this year, according to analysis by research company IBISWorld.

Biotechnology workers, online analysts and garbage collectors will be some of the safest jobs in Australia this year, according to analysis by research company IBISWorld.

As the economy slows, fears about widespread unemployment are mounting. On Monday, the latest ANZ job advertisement survey revealed that the number of job ads fell 9.7% in December – the biggest drop since the survey started in 1993 – leaving the labour market at “recession levels”.

But IBISWorld general manager Robert Bryant says there are a number of industries poised to weather the storm well and workers in these sectors should find their jobs are relatively safe.

The best-protected job in Australia can be found in the biotechnology sector, which performed relatively well last year compared with the wider economy.

“While the NASDAQ crashed by 42.4% last year, biotech stocks only fell 14.3%, and despite difficulty accessing funding for many sectors, Australian biotech companies raised nearly $2 billion in recent months, up 50%,” Bryant says.

IBISWorld is also expecting workers in the online space – including online analysts, online retail staff, web developers and support staff – to be relatively safe as demand for web content and online shopping continues to grow.

Non-residential construction will be the third safest job. “Those building roads, bridges, rail, pipelines, waste water treatment facilities and projects to further electricity generation and supply will need more people power, fuelling demand for builders, labourers, engineers and surveyors,” Bryant says.

Fourth on the list is beauty workers, who should benefit from the much-talked-about “lipstick theory”, which says sales of beauty products grow during economic slowdowns as consumers look for a cheap way to treat themselves. “This means reduced spending on clothes, shoes and handbags, in favour of lipsticks, skin creams, perfumes and other beauty products.”

The fifth safest job is something of a surprise – farmer. IBISWorld is expecting increased production of grain and livestock this year, which will fuel demand for labour. The falling Australia dollar should also help boost exports, providing an extra layer of security for workers in the sector.

Of course, it’s not all good news. Last week IBISWorld revealed its 10 riskiest industries in 2009, led by car retailing, tyre manufacturing and real estate agents.

IBISWorld’s 10 safest sectors to work in 2009:

  1. Biotechnology.
  2. Online information services.
  3. Non-building construction.
  4. Cosmetic and toiletry retailing.
  5. Grain and livestock farming.
  6. Blood bank and health services.
  7. Internet service providers.
  8. Passenger rail.
  9. Waste disposal services.
  10. Online shopping.


Free webinar

If you want to try and pick the start of the next boom, it’s well worth joining Robert Bryant of IBISWorld and SmartCompany editor James Thomson, who will discuss the key trends and forecasts for the economy and reveal which sectors will be under most pressure in a special outlook webinar on 15 January. Register now for our free webinar this Thursday at 2pm.



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