For aspiring international students, having general knowledge of the biggest industries in the UK can be a motivating factor in pursuing that dream of studying abroad.

In a recent QS Quacquarelli Symonds report, the UK’s popularity as a study destination is steadily increasing with 34,880 of 115,000 surveyed international students eyeing to study in the country. London also ranked number one in QS Best Student Cities for international students considering various factors like affordability and desirability.

Aside from supporting a multicultural environment for international students, the UK also offers foreign students excellent opportunities to experience working in their preferred industry in the country for a part-time job. International students in the UK can opt to work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session and ten hours during school breaks.

To give international students a perspective of the UK’s industries today, here are the top five biggest industries in the country in 2022 according to IBISWorld’s expert analysis and database of more than 44 UK industries. IBISWorld is one of the world’s largest and most trusted industry research publishers.

1. Supermarkets

Against the COVID-19 backdrop, food store online retail sales achieved 79.3% growth over 2020 according to the Office for National Statistics with Tesco and Sainsbury leading the technology investment on online platforms to support the burgeoning e-commerce market. From 2017 to 2022, the industry revenue is forecasted to reach £187.7 billion and grow at a compound annual rate of 1.2%. The industry employs 1,182,882 workers across 19,119 businesses.

Asda Stores Limited, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, and Aldi Stores Ltd. are some of the biggest market shareholders in the Supermarket industry aside from Tesco and Sainsbury.

2. Pension Funding

The Pension Funding industry, which includes both occupational and personal pension schemes, is steadily growing driven by the increased popularity of defined contribution (DC) schemes at the expense of defined benefit (DB) schemes. The industry revenue growth is forecasted at a compound annual rate of 1% over the five years through 2021-22. The Pension Funding industry’s market size is £156bn, employing 39,462 across 55,477 businesses.

Though the industry has no key players with a market share of greater than 5%, IBISWorld listed significant contributors in the segment including the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the BT Pension Scheme, and NatWest Group Pension Fund.

3. Construction Contractors

Though impacted by the global pandemic, the Construction Contractors segment is still the third biggest industry in the UK with market size of £120bn employing 572,669 across 85,649 businesses. The industry includes contractors operating across the building construction and civil engineering markets and has no major players with a market share of greater than 5%.

IBISWorld mentioned Barratt Developments plc, Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, and Kier Construction Ltd as industry contributors.

4. Hospitals

Over the next five years (2021-2026), the hospital industry is still forecasted to rise attributed to the increasing demand for services for the growing and ageing UK population. This foresees operators expanding and reforming urgent and emergency care services to support the market. The market size of the Hospitals industry, which covers medical, diagnostic, and treatment services at both general and specialised hospitals, is £102bn. The industry employs 851,955 across 1,214 enterprises.

National Health Service, Spire Healthcare Ltd, BMI Healthcare Ltd, and Nuffield Health are the key players in the Hospitals industry.

5. New Car & Light Motor Vehicle Dealers

With the continued momentum of embedding sustainability in products and services, it is not a surprise that the demand for environmentally friendly cars coupled with attractive financing deals has also increased. The industry is anticipated to recover and be positively affected by the reopening of the economy and the return of people mobility in 2021-2022. The New Car & Light Motor Vehicle Dealers industry has a market size of £101bn and employs 103,098 across 20,642 businesses.

Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Ltd, Pendragon plc, Sytner Group Ltd, Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd, and Honda Motor Europe Ltd are the key market players in the industry.