Is there such a thing as a recession-proof career? In the current economic climate, this is a question that is vexing many jobseekers, as well as some who have until recently been comfortably employed. Suddenly, a job has gone from something people turn up at grudgingly in the morning, counting the hours until they can leave, to a precious, treasured position; a luxury item not to be thrown away at any cost.
A recent article in the Guardian interviewed a dancer who expressed her delight at the increase in parents encouraging their children to pursue a career in the arts, now that they are being viewed almost as ‘safer’ careers than, for instance, banking or real estate. Perhaps, therefore, the time has come for the arts to have their day. Indeed it is difficult to imagine an era in which there is no demand for theatre, ballet, opera, cinema, fine art and so on. Such aesthetic pleasures are stalwarts of our society; much-loved friends with whom we would never wish to part. And yet the crunch is having its effect on these areas too. A friend of mine related to me the other day how a fine artist of his acquaintance had a wonderful few months for sales leading up to the economic downturn, but that business was now crashing as very few people are willing to spend money on superfluous luxuries, however high the quality.
Advertising, too, is not thriving across the board. It was recently reported that a number of large firms are planning to cut their marketing budgets by up to 45% in 2009. There is one area, however, which seems to be doing well despite the credit crunch hitting: that of online advertising. More and more people are turning away from the television in the wake of impossibly high license fees; few people have time to listen to the radio anymore, and when they do, they are more likely to switch channels when adverts come on the air, rather than pausing to listen to them. The internet, however, has swiftly grown from a luxury few could either afford or fathom to a staple of many homes. The growing culture of flexible working hours, work-from-home positions and constantly-on-call job commitment calls for a means of communication to be open and available at all times. The internet provides this and much more. What would life be without the timewasting pleasures of all the videos you could wish for at your fingertips; the sometimes accurate articles on reader-edited sites; the addictive nature of social networking websites? Where would we be if we had no idea which of our friends was sitting down to have a cup of tea? Tweetless. A horrible state; or so many seem to believe.
Thus internet marketing is a growing field; a younger brother cautiously peering out from behind his older sibling as he is allowed into the Big Wide World. Much online advertising is conducted in the form of viral videos or widgets that can be played and passed on to friends; thus the the credo of Mastercom comes into play: ‘It’s better to entertain than to interrupt and disturb.’ Of course, pop-ups and their ilk are annoying. Nobody likes them. But with software becoming more sophisticated by the day, newer and better media are available to companies who wish to provide their customers with a positive consumer experience. Perhaps, then, during the downturn the internet is the place to go when you feel like hibernating.
What do you think? Is running to the internet the answer to keeping your job through the recession? What other areas are growing during the downturn? I’d love to hear your thoughts.