The 4 Worst Industries for Job Security
Job security is importance to most of us, especially in times of economic uncertainty. While some careers offer stable employment and financial security, others come with a high degree of risk and volatility. Based on industry trends, technological advances, and the current state of the economy, here are the industries you may want to avoid if job security is your top priority.
Manufacturing jobs, including positions in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries have been hit hard by outsourcing and automation. From its peak of 19.6 million employed in June of 1979 until June 2019, the manufacturing sector has lost nearly 35 percent of its workforce. That’s 6.7 million fewer jobs in a matter of 40 years. It’s safe to say manufacturing in the United States is in decline.
The ongoing trade war with China, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine have further disrupted the manufacturing industry—resulting in serious supply chain issues and job losses. Additionally, as companies increasingly rely on technology to streamline production and reduce costs, many traditional manufacturing jobs are being replaced by automation and robotics. If you’re looking for job security, it’s probably best to look somewhere else.
Retail jobs, especially those operating out of physical stores and malls, have also been subject to considerable disruption in recent years. The rise of e-commerce and online shopping overall has significantly impacted brick-and-mortar retailers, leading to store closures and job losses. Moreover, the pandemic served to accelerate the shift to online shopping, resulting in further decimation of jobs within the retail sector. Retail trade is projected to decline by almost 587,000 jobs between 2020 and 2030. In terms of long-term job security, those numbers are discouraging.
Traditionally speaking, careers in journalism have offered relatively low job security, as the industry is subject to frequent layoffs and consolidation. According to the Pew Research Center, employment in the newsroom has declined by 26 percent between 2008 and 2020, with a loss of around 30,000 jobs.
To make matters worse, the shift to online news sources and the steady decline of print media have resulted in substantial revenue losses for traditional outlets—ultimately leading to considerable downsizing. Additionally, the rise of social media and the prevalence of "fake news" have negatively impacted the journalism industry, making it increasingly difficult for journalists to find stable employment.
Oil and gas
The oil and gas industry has long been subject to boom-and-bust cycles, with employment and revenue heavily influenced by fluctuations in oil prices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, oil and gas companies scaled down their total workforce by 28 percent between 2015 and 2019, this and predictions for further streamlining within the industry has left many with little sense of job security.
Even though worldwide demand is expected to grow in the short term, the increasing focus on renewable energy sources and environmental concerns has and will continue to result in a decreased demand for fossil fuels. The attempt to shift away from oil and gas further impacts the job security of workers within the industry.
Job security is a critical consideration for anyone seeking a stable and fulfilling career. While some industries offer excellent opportunities for job security and growth, others are subject to significant disruption and volatility. Based on industry trends and economic conditions, manufacturing, retail, journalism, and oil and gas are among the four worst industries for job security. That’s not to say you can’t still make an amazing living within each of these industries, it just might be a little more stressful than other, more secure, career paths.