Money isn’t the only reason to choose a career, but a big paycheck can go a long way toward making a hard job feel worthwhile, especially if it leads to you becoming one of the richest people in the world. To determine which industries are making the most billionaires, GOBankingRates looked at the 500 wealthiest people on the planet as ranked by Forbes, and the industries in which they made their fortunes. Click through to see where the most billionaires are being minted.
How Different Industries Compare
The technology industry may not have the most billionaires overall, but it’s certainly where the money will be in the future. Five of the top 10 richest people in the world made their billions in tech, and tech has the most young billionaires, too. Click through to see the breakdown of each industry, and learn just what it takes to be a billionaire.
The automotive industry doesn’t have the most billionaires in the top 500 in the world, but of the 14 it does have, more than one-third are in the top 100 wealthiest people in the world. Three German billionaires lead the way, with American Elon Musk of Tesla Motors as the fourth-richest in the automotive industry, with a net worth of just under $20 billion. However, the automotive industry has only produced two female billionaires and none under age 40. Musk is the youngest at 46.
Construction and Engineering
The construction and engineering industry, while a great sector for jobs in general, has only produced eight billionaires — and only one is female. Switzerland is the only country with two billionaires in the top 500, and Diane Hendricks, co-founder and chairman of ABC Supply, is the lone American on the list. The industry’s wealthiest member is Pallonji Mistry, who controls the Mumbai-based Shapoorji Pallonji Group, worth almost $17 billion. No one under 40 has made their billions in the construction and engineering industry.
The diversified industry claims 32 billionaires overall and nine in the top 100. However, the group includes only two women and no one under 40. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, from the United States, sit atop the rankings with a net worth of almost $50 billion each. Len Blavatnik also makes the top 10 in the diversified categories with a net worth of $20 billion. Blavatnik was born in Ukraine and raised in Russia, but moved to the United States for school before selling a stake in a Russian oil company for $7 billion.
The energy field’s 30 billionaires from the top 500 richest people include four women and one person under 40. Overall, Russians dominate this sector, with six of the seven richest people being Russian citizens. However, 15 of the 30 on the energy list are billionaires in America, including Scott Duncan, the youngest on the list at 35. Duncan’s wealth, and the wealth of his three siblings, Randa Williams, Milane Frantz and Dannine Avara, all came from inheriting Enterprise Products Partners from his father in 2010. However, he is not actively involved in the business. You can make money in the energy industry, too, by investing in oil — learn how.
Fashion and Retail
The fashion and retail industry is home to 59 billionaires — the second-most of any industry on this list of billionaires — including five women and one person under 40. Over a quarter of these billionaires are part of the 100 richest billionaires, and 17 are billionaires in America, with seven of them heirs to the Walmart fortune. The top two richest billionaires in the industry are Amancio Ortega of Spain, worth over $72 billion, and Bernard Arnault of France, worth $65.2 billion.
Finance and Investments
The finance and investments industry has produced the largest number of billionaires of any industry with 62, and placed nine into the top 100 richest people overall. However, only two are women, and none are under 40. A familiar name, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, sits at the top of the list with a net worth of almost $80 billion. The United States is by far the country with the most billionaires in this industry, with 35 of the 62 claiming American citizenship. The wealthiest woman in the industry is Abigail Johnson, who serves as President and CEO of Fidelity Investments.
Food and Beverage
The food and beverage industry has 43 billionaires, the fifth-most of any sector. The food and beverage industry also has the largest number of female billionaires, with 11, and women make up more than a quarter of the billionaires in the industry. Maria Franca Fissolo of Italy, who made her fortune with Nutella, is the wealthiest in the industry — male or female. Marie Besnier Beauvalot of France, who inherited a share in the dairy giant Lactalis, maker of President Brie cheese among other products, is the youngest on the list at just 37 years old.
Gambling and Casinos
The gambling industry only has seven billionaires out of the top 500 richest people, with just one in the top 100, one female and no one under age 40. At the top of the list is Sheldon Adelson, who with $37 billion is worth more than the next four gambling and casino billionaires combined. Pansy Ho from Hong Kong is the lone female billionaire in the industry. She is one of the 17 children of gambling legend Stanley Ho and remains the major shareholder of MGM China.
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If you want to make the top of the list of world billionaires, healthcare isn’t the field for you. While the industry currently has 20 billionaires in Forbes’ top 500, none make the top 100 and none are under 40. Dilip Shanghvi, founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals, sits atop the industry with a net worth of $11.9 billion. Massimiliana Landini Aleotti, one of only two female billionaires in the industry, is the second wealthiest, with a net worth of $11.6 billion, though her stake in Italian pharmaceutical company Menarini was inherited from her husband, Alberto Aleotti, after he passed away in 2014.
The logistics industry only has seven billionaires to speak of, tied with gambling for the second-lowest of any industry. None of the seven are female, and none are under 40. The richest billionaire in the industry is Klaus-Michael Kuehne of Germany, who took over his grandfather’s shipping company, Kuehne + Nagel KG, in the 1950s. Also making the list is American Frederick Smith, who made his fortune founding FedEx, who comes in at just under $5 billion. Enrique Razon, Jr. is the youngest on the list at age 57. He made his fortune expanding a port company his grandfather started in 1916 and father rebuilt after World War II.
There are 38 billionaires of the top 500 who fall under the manufacturing industry, the sixth-most of any industry, but only three are women and none are under 40. However, when it comes to citizenship, the group is very diverse. The 11 wealthiest billionaires in the industry all come from different countries, including Denmark, China, Japan, Nigeria, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Russia, the United States and Singapore. The American representative is Herbert Kohler, Jr., who made his wealth in the family business, Kohler Co., which produces plumbing fixtures.
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Media and Entertainment
Fifteen of the 24 billionaires who made their money in media and entertainment are American citizens. Michael Bloomberg is by far the wealthiest, with a net worth of over $47 billion. In addition, seven of these billionaires are women, making media and entertainment the industry with the highest percentage of women billionaires. The wealthiest woman in the industry is Blair Parry-Okeden, who received a one-quarter interest in Cox Entertainment in 2007 when her mother passed away. However, none of the billionaires in this industry are under 40.
Metals and Mining
The metal and mining industry has contributed substantially to the net worth of 23 world billionaires, including eight in the top 100. No Americans make the list, as Russians dominate this industry with nine people, including the wealthiest, Alexey Mordashov. Mordashov is the majority shareholder in a steel company, and also owns interests in gold mining, engineering and tourism companies. The wealthiest woman on the list, Gina Rinehart, is only about $1 billion behind Mordashov. Rinehart, who is Australia’s wealthiest citizen, made her fortune in the iron ore business, rebuilding her father’s bankrupt estate.
Real estate also has eight of the world’s 100 wealthiest billionaires, and has 47 in the top 500, including five women. The wealthiest female real estate billionaire is Yang Huiyan, a 36-year-old Chinese citizen worth almost $22 billion, who inherited a majority interest in Country Gardens Holdings and also chairs Bright Scholar Education Holdings. At the top of the industry is Hui Ka Yan, another Chinese citizen, who is worth almost $40 billion. Hui Ka Yan worked as a technician in a steel factory for almost 10 years after college and is now the richest person in China. You might not become a billionaire, but investing in real estate is a realistic way to make your first $1 million.
Nineteen of the 500 wealthiest billionaires in the world made their fortunes from the service industry, including Wang Wei of China, whose package delivery service SF Express has delivered him the top spot in the industry with a net worth of over $22 billion. The list also includes three women, including two Americans, Karen Pritzker and Tamara Gustavson, each worth approximately $5 billion. The youngest billionaire in the industry is Zhang Bangxin, 37, who chairs TAL Education and has a net worth of about $5 billion as well.
For all the attention given to professional athletes, only four billionaires have sports to thank for their wealth, the lowest of any industry — and none are players themselves. All four are owners of NFL teams, including Stanley Kroenke, who owns the Los Angeles Rams. Kroenke is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, heiress to the Walmart fortune. Others on the list include Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots; Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys; and Stephen Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens.
Technology comes in right behind finance and fashion as the top industry for creating billionaires, and the most represented industry in the top 100, with 17. Half of the 54 billionaires claim United States citizenship. Familiar names lead the way, with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the two richest not only in technology, but in the entire world, and Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Larry Page are also among the top 10 wealthiest people in the world. If you want to strike it rich while you’re still young, the technology industry is the place to be, as four billionaires are under 40. The other 17 industries had just six billionaires under 40 combined, and only the food and beverage industry had more than one.
The telecom industry is responsible for the wealth of only nine of the top 500 billionaires in the world, but none of them are women and none are from the United States. The youngest is Xavier Niel, the 51-year-old French billionaire who owns more than half of Iliad, a telecom company. Previously, he launched WorldNet, France’s first internet provider. Also on the list is Carlos Slim Helu, the sixth-wealthiest man in the world, worth almost $65 billion.
Methodology: GOBankingRates examined Forbes’ data on the top 500 richest people in the world, and then sorted by industry and secondary characteristics like age and gender. Valuations are per Forbes’ real-time net worth rankings and were checked on Nov. 13, 2017.
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