Some jobs are doing well financially right now compared to the average in the economy. Other professions like dentistry are approaching financial crisis.
We did a surveyed the readers of this website on March 18, 2020, April 17, and again on May 15, 2020. The population was statistically equivalent in each survey. The sample size was over 4,000, over 3,000, and over 3,400 in each survey respectively.
We wanted to know how incomes across different professions are changing in response to the Coronavirus pandemic over time.
Even though the jobs below are secure financially compared to most, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in every profession struggling from loss of income, including the ones I listed.
Overall, incomes took a huge hit from March to April, but some are recovering in mid May. Some professions in normally steadier fields such as healthcare appear to be slower to rebound.
Here’s our list of the top 10 most financially stable jobs right now during the pandemic recession according to our survey. I’m also including anonymous comments to paint a picture of what people are going through right now since a lot of the stress is not financial.
March 18 Percent of Architects with Unchanged Income: 81%
April 17 Percent of Architects with Unchanged Income: 62%
May 15 Percent of Architects with Unchanged Income: 82%
Admittedly I’m no expert, but an architect’s job seems to be one that is more doable from home using software programs than say someone in construction.
Architecture seems very volatile right now, a sentiment readers continued to call out. Many report working normal hours while they finish out existing contracts. They’re worried though that the work will run out as the economy is slow to rebound.
Here’s what architects told us:
As an architect living abroad, the situation is scary. My company has stated for the time being we are ok, but it’s possible that our boss will ask some of us to take unpaid leave or sick days if our work load decreases a lot.
I work as an Architect/Interior designer and we only do schools for the most part. I made that decision after graduating from grad school in 2008 and being laid off 8 times. So I sought out a more stable niche in my field for that reason based on my past experiences with the volatility of my field based on the economy.
March 18 Percent of Nurses with Unchanged Income: 82%
April 17 Percent of Nurses with Unchanged Income: 64%
May 15 Percent of Nurses with Unchanged Income: 70%
We need as many nurses as possible right now, unless they’re specifically trained in an area unrelated to COVID-19.
One thing to remember is that nurses have a wide variety of job functions. Some might be specialized in specific areas of medicine that have less demand.
Perhaps that’s why we didn’t see close to 100% of nurses saying that their income had not changed. The specialization of nurses is why we’ve seen such a significant drop in nurses who reported unchanged incomes. Elective procedures in medicine have cut back significantly.
No hazard pay. As a nurse I’m being exposed through no fault of my own and taking all the appropriate precautions but then being quarantined without pay for it.
It’s just the worry regarding how long the virus will continue. It has even affected the hospitals. I worry about the furlough that is happening around me.
Because elective surgeries are being cut, the hospital is losing money. Therefore, we are losing some hours by being flexed in and out, having to take our hard earned PTO to cover for the time off or no pay if we chose. Our ancillary staff is forced to take time off so the work load is much much harder for us nurses. Our prep time has decreased to really read our patients chart to understand what’s really going on with our patients and it’s just becoming unsafe.
8. Physician Assistant
March 18 Percent of Physician Assistants with Unchanged Income: 90%
April 17 Percent of Physician Assistants with Unchanged Income: 70%
May 15 Percent of Physician Assistants with Unchanged Income: 69%
We went from 1 in 10 PAs reporting a drop in income in March to 3 in 10 in April and May.
Many PAs have specializations in surgical areas that might be on hold currently. That said, it seems that the majority are still doing ok.
I do wound care for the elderly. I’ve noticed families are scared and taking their loved ones home due to COVID-19 since visiting hours have been banned. My income will take a slight dip but should bounce back due to higher cases of elderly people getting sick or current patients developing wounds due to activities being cancelled, nursing staff being overworked, and patients subsequently getting more skin break down and falls.
I’m a rural family practice PA. I’m working a lot more hours since one of our doctors is off work awaiting COVID-19 testing. I am not able to see many more patients physically and the volume of bullshit (phone calls, med refill requests, etc has more than doubled). I am definitely concerned about burnout.
7. Nurse Practitioner
March 18 Percent of Nurse Practitioners with Unchanged Income: 83%
April 17 Percent of Nurse Practitioners with Unchanged Income: 72%
May 15 Percent of Nurse Practitioners with Unchanged Income: 65%
Nurse practitioners have advanced training and often perform primary care type functions. Depending on the state, they have differing levels of autonomy to make healthcare decisions for patients.
It makes sense that NPs show up on the list of most secure jobs right now. They’re extremely busy. Although like other healthcare professionals their income is still taking a hit.
Nervous about mandatory quarantine and using all of my sick/vacation days but also about dying (not necessarily financially related, crazy times!)
I am currently pregnant. I was given the option to either go in the clinic and see patients face to face or stay out and use my PTO. I don’t want to feel pressured to put myself or my unborn child in danger at this time. Luckily the switch to telephonic encounters appears to be on the horizon soon for our clinic and may be the answer. Everything is so uncertain and I am feeling the strain.
Hospitals are empty. Nurses and physicians are off and furloughed. If you work for a good system you are getting paid but if not you are using PTO. Healthcare administration took a pay cut. Physicians pay cut will be announced today. I am worried it will move on down the line. I work for a hospital in the Chicago area. We have made adjustments to unit dynamics to hold hundreds of COVID patients but overall, adult census and especially our children’s hospital is empty. Essential workers will lose jobs if this keeps up. We have to open this economy.
March 18 Percent of Clergy with Unchanged Income: 81%
April 17 Percent of Clergy with Unchanged Income: 73%
May 15 Percent of Clergy with Unchanged Income: 83%
Even though many communities of faith cannot physically worship together right now, tough times like this cause spiritual needs to be greater, not less.
Across the board, rabbis, imams, priests, pastors, missionaries, and other religious workers seem to be relatively unaffected financially from the pandemic.
The PPP program Congress passed on March 27 allowed churches to apply to have 2 months of their payroll covered by the government stimulus bill. Some churches likely received this even though the PPP roll-out was not successful for many small businesses and organizations.
Despite decreased financial support, very few clergy reported loosing their jobs.
The slop has not hit the fan yet for church workers in my state. Ask me again in 3 weeks. We announce today that there will be no church services in our area — indefinitely.
We’re currently paying for daycare even though we’re keeping our kids at home. Current pay structure for our daycare workers doesn’t support time off or pay interruptions, so we’re currently paying for child care we’re not receiving to help them.
5. Corporate Employee
March 18 Percent of Corporate Employees with Unchanged Income: 83%
April 17 Percent of Corporate Employees with Unchanged Income: 74%
May 15 Percent of Corporate Employees with Unchanged Income: 71%
Many small businesses have shut down, but workers at large multinational corporations have a lot more financial stability, according to our survey results.
Zoom allows many meetings to continue virtually. IT workers, project managers, and sales reps can continue most of their work from home.
Disruptions in supply chains and sagging consumer demand seem to be the main headwinds for workers in Corporate America right now. That said, most do not feel the pinch yet.
The Coronavirus panic is affecting my mental health and my stress levels are sky high, which in turn, is affecting my ability to focus on work. Business feels steady (I work for a software company that doctors use), but how long will we be okay for and how long do we need to be okay for?
I am fortunate that I have a job where I can work remotely with little disruption. (I am a Senior Project Manager for a development company). So at the moment, I feel secure about my job and income, although that could always change depending on the situation.
Feeling very lucky that my income is stable. Also feeling a responsibility to use the money from my reduced spending to support local businesses/independent workers.
March 18 Percent of Teachers with Unchanged Income: 76%
April 17 Percent of Teachers with Unchanged Income: 76%
May 15 Percent of Teachers with Unchanged Income: 77%
While a lot of K-12 teachers are struggling through lessons via Zoom, most are still getting paid.
Only 2% of teachers reported loss of income completely. Although teachers do not make huge incomes, their incomes at worst generally have been cut rather than completely eliminated.
That makes sense, as local governments employ the largest number of teachers. Those employed at private schools seem to be suffering the most.
Layoffs and salary reductions do not appear to have gotten worse for teachers from March to April to May, making them among the most stable of all professions during this pandemic.
No impact at this time because the state is paying all educators for 4 months. If this extends 12-18 months and I am no longer employed, my house will be lost
My district is trying to teach online, and we are working out the kinks and so I’m not really on the same 7:30-3:30 schedule that I was, but I am still getting paid my contract wage for my contract hours (not necessarily identical to corona hours)
March 18 Percent of Physicians with Unchanged Income: 91%
April 17 Percent of Physicians with Unchanged Income: 78%
May 15 Percent of Physicians with Unchanged Income: 77%
My wife is a physician. She does elective surgeries for older women with pelvic disorders. Originally, we thought that she might be getting pulled to cover shifts in the emergency room.
Our area, like many in the country, have not seen their healthcare capacity become overwhelmed. What healthcare systems have seen is a massive drop-off in revenues.
From our survey results, physicians reported in April that only the worst emergencies or important patients consults still happened at their hospitals.
Many health systems in May began to reopen, but incomes for physicians who did receive a pay cut will take a long time to recover.
It’s worth noting that very few physicians report losing their jobs entirely at any point from March to May. A significant number (22%) report a significant drop in their incomes.
While they are financially better off than most, some physicians are physically or mentally spent while battling on the front lines and risking their lives. Many others have seen a drastic drop in incomes, RVUs, and salaries, although most are still unchanged.
Being forced to take 2 weeks unpaid quarantine due to an occupational exposure.
Two physician house. Still paying multiple preschool tuitions (I don’t mind, worried about teachers more than us). But now we have to look for a nanny. We don’t know our hours (which may be significant as we are called to serve more), and we feel bad about exposing a nanny to us. We feel we are ok financially, but at the highest risk for serious illness or death, which would obviously be a much larger burden.
Honestly I’m worried about what will happen when I contract COVID-19 and can’t work. I’m also super worried about my parents and having to take over financially if they get sick (I already help).
I am not spending money because I am working 100+ hr weeks
I am a sole practitioner and while I am able to do Telemedicine, I’m seeing a decline in patients seen as we aren’t emergent care. While income is still present now, I am concerned about the coming months as my practice is not insurance based, but cash based.
March 18 Percent of Lawyers with Unchanged Income: 87%
April 17 Percent of Lawyers with Unchanged Income: 80%
May 15 Percent of Lawyers with Unchanged Income: 80%
As one of my lawyer friends told me this week that “if there’s massive numbers of bankruptcies, you’ll need lawyers to process them all.”
There are new laws and regulations coming out at breakneck speed, businesses scrambling to raise cash, and perhaps even more strain on civil and criminal courts than there usually is, so it seems natural that lawyers would be doing well financially compared to other professions.
Lawsuits continue against big banks that failed to process government stimulus programs equitably. Equity and debt financing for some companies is more important now than ever, and you must have lawyers to complete these deals.
As a litigator, I am seeing business increase. Companies are scared about business income interruption and employment law concerns.
Torn between spending more and helping the local businesses I care about in my community, and saving enough for darker times. Income currently is stable, but worried that that could change during a prolonged crisis.
I’m a lawyer at a larger firm, and though I have a relatively strong salary, I work in M&A and am very worried about losing my job, not immediately, but in the next 12 months.
March 18 Percent of Pharmacists with Unchanged Income: 93%
April 17 Percent of Pharmacists with Unchanged Income: 88%
May 15 Percent of Pharmacists with Unchanged Income: 81%
In March, one prominent pharmacist I spoke with said “people are flocking to pharmacies not just to get their prescriptions ahead of time, but trying to buy everything and anything, so staff is being asked to work extra hours.”
Some pharmacists work in drive through pharmacy settings and might have less exposure than other front-line healthcare workers. However, others face more patient contact and have significantly more risk.
It’s worth noting that just months ago, we wrote an article about the struggling job market in pharmacy. Things have changed very, very fast.
Even though we haven’t seen a huge drop off in incomes for pharmacists, I’ve heard a lot of stories suggesting that pharmacists have become significantly less busy filling prescriptions.
It seems as though there was a rush early on that has slowed as the COVID era becomes the new normal and customers discover they will still get their prescriptions filled, leading to less panic buying.
I work at an independent pharmacy. Many medications seem like they will be on back order soon if they aren’t already. If we can’t fill medicine, we don’t make money, and I don’t get paid. So far it isn’t an issue, but it’s uncomfortable to think about.
I work per diem for the VA. Luckily I have been receiving full time hours but I have been told that could change. The fear is that there will be a hiring freeze across hospitals if we go into a recession so I am saving up now in case I cannot get a full time job in the future and my hours get cut. The future is uncertain.
I don’t know what the right answer is as to how we go back to normalizing. I have no gut feeling on what I think the right response is. It seems like a complete guess and experiment. As far as working during the crisis goes, I have worked every day during it. I’m a pharmacist that works in home infusion and we had to stay open to keep patients out of the hospital and helped get people from the hospital home to quarantine. It’s been rewarding but stressful because we had staff working remotely and some of us working on site every day. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever been part of and idk how we return to normal. That’s the big question.
One of the Worst Hit Professions: Dentistry
Right now there’s a huge divergence between professions doing well financially and those that are getting killed.
Dentistry is in financial crisis right now.
March 18 Percent of Dentists with Unchanged Income: 31%
April 17 Percent of Dentists with Unchanged Income: 19%
May 15 Percent of Dentists with Unchanged Income: 25%
Back in March and April, dentists told me if we surveyed them in a week that they think 100% of dentists would report a huge drop in income.
In the survey we did on March 18, 2020, 3 in 10 dentists said that they no longer had an income at all. Only 31% reported that their income had not changed, and many of those who said that seemed to work in military dentistry or in very rural areas.
On April 17, only 19% of dentists still had similar incomes as before COVID-19. 56% lost their income completely.
On May 15, 25% of dentists reported normal incomes. 42% lost their income completely, which is an improvement from May. That said, clearly there’s a long way to go.
Here’s some of what we’re hearing from our dentists readers right now.
As a first year dentist, I have a lot of debt and only been practicing for 7 months. As an associate at my practice, I have been furloughed until further notice and I have no idea when they are going to need me again since the practice is open but very selectively treating urgent patients and purposely have a light schedule. This is putting a huge delay on my growth as a dentist, not to mention financially and it’s very depressing!
As an incoming dental student, much of our curriculum has moved to remote instruction so we aren’t getting the hand skills we need, yet tuition isn’t being changed at all.
Practice loan repayment is a concern. Not sure how banks will react and help.
Was about to buy a dental practice and since have had to put it on hold since the future of dentistry this year is very uncertain.
Jobs Ranked From Most to Least Secure During COVID-19
Here’s the full survey results below of major professions. I restate the top 10 and show dentistry as a reference point.
I first list the order of professions for the May survey alone.
Then I list the results from the April and March surveys for reference.
The ranking above was based on the total level of economic security across all three months in the surveys we conducted.
May Survey Results
April and March Survey Results
Economic Recovery Will Happen, But It Will Take Time
While many workers in the professions above are doing ok financially right now, not all are.
As some of the comments mentioned, you might be getting a steady paycheck but you might also be risking your life and the lives of your family.
While these are scary times, financial markets and the economy will survive this. Most of our readers are not that worried about their student loans right now compared to their overall finances, but if you do need a plan we can help.
If you wanted to share what you’re going through with the economic fallout of Coronavirus, just comment below and share.
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