What Companies Are in the Basic Industries Field?

Basic industries like oil, steel, and mining are essential to production. Explore what companies are in the basic industries field.
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Updated on April 18, 2023
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  • Basic industries provide materials and energy sources essential to production.
  • Basic industries fields produce commodities like oil, steel, and chemicals.
  • Companies in these fields often sell to manufacturers rather than consumers.
  • These industries can provide diverse, well-paying, and in-demand jobs.

In 2019, the United States exported a total of $1.6 trillion in goods, making it the second largest exporter in the world. Basic industries, including key sectors like mining, agriculture, and energy, represent some of the largest exports in the United States.

For example, the nation's largest exports are mineral fuels, including oil; these fuels account for a large percentage of total American exports and billions of dollars in annual revenue. Organic chemicals are another large export, also accounting for nearly billions in annual revenue.

What Is Basic Industries?

Basic industries provide the raw materials and energy sources essential to production within other industries. Companies in the basic industries fields often sell products directly to manufacturers instead of consumers because they are foundational to producing key products and services. For example, the steel industry is integral to producing vehicles and appliances that are sold directly to consumers.

Because basic industries are highly dependent on natural resources, products like metals, fuels, and edible crops are often intended for export instead of domestic sale. In some cases, key products can be used as economic leverage or can incentivize trade partnerships between countries.

What Are the Types of Basic Industries?

  • Agriculture is the production of crops specifically used for food supply. Almost half of the land area in the United States is designated for agricultural purposes. The midwestern United States, specifically, produces large quantities of soy, wheat, and corn.
  • Oil and gas have been used as leading sources of energy since the 19th century. Oil is burned as fuel and is frequently used to create heat and electricity. Similarly, natural gas is mined and distributed through pipelines.
  • Mining is a process in which resources like minerals, metals, and coal are extracted from the earth. In 2020, American mines extracted about $82 billion in raw minerals.
  • Steel is a ubiquitous building material because of its toughness, malleability, and relatively low cost. This metal is produced by mixing carbon and iron at temperatures above 2,600 degrees. It is essential to producing vehicles, buildings, and other infrastructures.
  • The paper and pulp industry uses wood materials to produce products like office paper, printed publications, cardboard, and packaging. This sector accounts for about 14% of overall wood consumption and 33-40% of globally traded wood products.
  • The chemical industry supplies industries with a wide range of gas and chemical products. These include artificial or lab-created materials like adhesives, elastomers, gels, monomers, and polyethylenes.

Technology Bootcamps for You

How Can I Get a Tech Job in the Basic Industries?

Basic industries account for a large number of jobs in the United States. These include a plethora of roles in tech, engineering, and IT.

Many well-established companies have career pages accessible on their websites. Job seekers can often browse roles in their desired field or location through company websites and submit applications.

Some larger corporations have partnerships with colleges or bootcamps; students and graduates can use these connections to pursue jobs or internships through their institution's career center or alumni job boards.

Top Companies for Tech in the Basic Industries

Because of widespread demand for their products and materials, large multinational corporations lead many basic industries markets. The following companies lead basic industries markets in areas like energy, chemical manufacturing, mining, and metals.

BHP Group Limited

Headquarters Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

This Australian-based mining and petroleum company produces essential materials like coal, copper, iron, and nickel. Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) was founded in 1885 in New South Wales, Australia.

The company's total profits peaked at approximately $21 billion in 2011, and in 2017, BHP ranked as the world's largest mining company. As of 2019, BHP had almost 32,000 global employees, many of whom work in high-level tech and engineering roles like geoscience systems specialist, principal data modeling engineer, and specialist technology engineer.

Dow Chemical Company

Headquarters Location: Midland, Michigan

As one of the world's largest chemical producers, this subsidiary of Dow Inc. manufactures chemicals, building materials, and agricultural products. Its extensive array of products includes adhesives, sealants, plastomers, monomers, optical materials, silicones, and polymers.

Dow Chemical is in about 160 countries and has approximately 54,000 global employees. Tech jobs at Dow include information technology analyst, digital thread architect, and Microsoft development technical lead.


Headquarters Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Originally founded in 1802, DuPont has gone through many iterations during its 200-year history. The multinational corporation produces many products, including construction materials, fabrics, packaging materials, water solutions, and electronic solutions.

DuPont is a fixture in sectors like construction, energy, and automotive materials. It is the parent company of many prominent brands, including Styrofoam.

Candidates looking to work in tech roles at DuPont can explore jobs like IT network engineer, IT end-user experience, and master data supply chain specialist.


Headquarters Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Founded in 1923, Ecolab is a multinational corporation that provides services like geothermal energy, chemical processing, food and beverage processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, water treatment, mineral processing, and mining.

The company employs roughly 50,000 people in over 170 countries. Applicants can find many tech-oriented jobs like software engineer, system engineer, and solution architect.

PPG Industries

Headquarters Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In 2021, this chemical company ranked 218 on the Fortune 500 list and boasted nearly $17 billion in net sales in the same year. PPG Industries primarily manufactures paints, coatings, optical products, and specialty materials, contributing to industrial and construction markets.

PPG has approximately 50,000 total employees, with 21,300 working in North America. The company provides ample tech and information technology opportunities, including positions like application developer specialist, Linux infrastructure engineer specialist, and IT security manager.

Procter and Gamble

Headquarters Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Founded in 1837, Procter and Gamble is the world's largest consumer goods company, with a total 2021 revenue of about $76 billion. P&G is the parent company of 65 pervasive brands like Pampers, Vicks, Oral-B, Pepto-Bismol, Crest, Pantene, and Herbal Essences.

Procter and Gamble caters to about five billion yearly consumers in over 180 countries with products that consistently lead grooming, health, and personal care markets. Roughly 95,000 people work for P&G. Professionals in the tech field can assume roles like IT software engineer, IT operations site leader, and operations engineer.

Schneider Electric

Headquarters Location: Rueil-Malmaison, France

This French Fortune Global 500 company provides products and services related to energy management and digital automation. The multinational corporation delivers products like industrial safety and control systems, home automation, electrical grid automation, and power distribution systems.

With nearly €29 billion in revenues in 2021, Schneider Electric has over 128,000 global employees and distributes services in more than 115 countries. Here, tech professionals can work in roles like technical support engineer, AI cybersecurity architect, and AI solutions technical expert.


Headquarters Location: London, United Kingdom

Unilever was established through the 1929 merger of the Dutch Margarine Unie company and the British Lever Brothers soap manufacturer. The multinational corporation produces consumer goods like food, cleaning products, and personal care items.

Unilever is the parent company of prominent brands like Ben & Jerry's, Dove, Vaseline, and Hellmann's; its products are distributed in 190 countries and serve 3.4 billion worldwide consumers. Professionals hoping to work in tech roles at Unilever can find jobs like Apple MAC and smartphone technical analyst, IT innovation lead, and customer development IT executive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Basic Industries

Is working in a basic industry a good career path?

Basic industries produce goods, materials, and services that are vital to economic growth and stability. Although industries like energy and manufacturing evolve as technology improves and demand for clean energy grows, basic industries are essential for production, a virtually permanent fixture in the economy.

Many careers in basic industries pay well and are in consistent demand. Job seekers can find roles in industries like metal manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing, agriculture, and chemical manufacturing.

How many jobs are available in basic industries?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of 2021, 173,070 people worked in the mining industry, 106,440 worked in the oil and gas industry, and 348,500 people worked in the paper manufacturing industry.

The basic industries can offer a breadth of opportunities for tech professionals. In 2021, 2,660 people in the paper industry and 3,790 in the oil and gas industry worked in computer and mathematical occupations. In the same year, 10,780 people in the oil and gas industry and 4,240 in the mining industry worked in architecture and engineering occupations, according to the BLS.

What do basic industries jobs pay?

Many basic industries pay professionals competitive wages; in the paper manufacturing industry, for example, software developers earned a median annual salary of $102,190 in 2021, while engineers earned a median of $95,310.

According to the BLS, in the same year, computer and information analysts in the oil and gas industry earned a median of $125,450, computer network support specialists earned $90,500, and computer network architects earned $128,960. In the mining industry, software developers earned a median of $95,990, and computer systems analysts earned $102,360.