Human Services: The Recession-Proof Profession?


There are a number of reasons to pursue a career in human services. Besides helping people and making a difference in your community, a career in human services also has a number of advantages that provide job security and long-term career growth. There are a number of built-in advantages that make the human services a strong career choice even in tough economic times.  I discuss some of these aspects of the human services field that make it a good option for long-term job growth.

1. Mandated Positions
Many jobs in the human services field are mandated positions. Services such as child/adult protective services and mental health/intellectual disability case management are often required by local and state government. These positions tend to be on the stressful side but are always in demand. These positions also seem to increase in demand as more children in early childhood development programs transition to long-term case management services. These programs also provide lifelong services from age 6 and up. The constant influx of new cases into the system increases the demand for new case managers in order to maintain manageable caseloads.

2. Jobs cannot be replaced by Robots
Human service jobs are less impacted by automation. The human services field requires a specialized skill set that cannot be replicated by machines. Services such as counseling, substance abuse treatment, and service coordination cannot be replaced by automation. Even with the emergence of  online counseling, it still requires a human at the other end to provide the services.  Of course jobs that provide direct care to people with disabilities will always be in demand.

3. High Demand even in Tough Economic Times
Demand in human services increase when the economy struggles. Often during recession, people who have never applied for financial assistance such as TANF and SNAP see a significant increase. The increase in new applicants in addition to the normal workload creates a high demand for more eligibility workers and benefits counselors.
There is a significant amount of evidence to suggest that economic  recession can have a major impact on mental health. An increase in clinical services also creates a high demand for counselors, therapist, psychologists, and mental health case managers.
  
4. More Stable Funding
Many positions within the human services field are reimbursed through Medicaid or other form of government money. In many situations, the money for certain programs are already set aside and are not impacted by recession.  Therefore, jobs in the human services field are readily available while jobs that depend on a thriving economy such as retail or sales often struggle during a recession.

The human services field offers a number of opportunities to help people improve their lives. This field is challenging and not for everyone. It can involve working with people with a variety of physical and mental health issues. Despite some of stress involved in the field, job stability and security is one of the more positive aspects of the profession. There so many different areas of expertise available you are bound to find the career path that works for you. Human service jobs are not going anywhere despite the job market changes in other fields.


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