The job sectors where most billionaires make their money

 ·18 Apr 2022

The Hurun Research Institute has published its Hurun Global Rich List 2022, ranking a new record of 3,381 billionaires whose total wealth regardless of the Russia-Ukraine war and the impact of Covid-19 continued to rise by 4% to $15.2 trillion.

The chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said that the Russia-Ukraine war, Covid-19 and the US-China Trade War contributed to 337 billionaires dropping off the list this year, almost one a day.

“However, continued digitalisation of the economy, tech innovations as well as inflation helped 490 new faces make the list, giving a surprising net increase of 153 billionaires.”

Currently, there are 1,124 more billionaires than there were five years ago – a 50% increase.

Hoogewerf noted that as the world pushes toward the fifth industrial revolution, spurred on by biotech advances and Covid-19, healthcare has become the second most important source of wealth for billionaires after financial services, which overtook real estate.

“Five years ago, healthcare was not even a top five source of wealth,” stressed Hoogewerf.

The table below details the top industries and companies:

Rank Industry/Job sector % of billionaires % of change Richest person Company
1 Financial Services 9.3% 11.5% Micheal Bloomberg Bloomberg
2 Healthcare 8.7% 2.2% Cyrus Poonawalla Serum Institute of India
3 Real Estate 8.1% -8.5% Lee Shau Lee Henderson Land
4 Retail 7.4% -5.6% Jeff Bezos Amazon
5 Consumer Goods 7.3% -1.8% Bernard Arnault LVMH
6 Food and beverage 7.2% -2.9% Zhong Shanshan YST
7 Software & Services 6.3% -7.7% Steve Ballmer Microsoft
8 Media & Entertainment 6.1% 7.1% Larry Page, Sergey Brin Alphabet
9 Industrial Products 5.6% 14.3% Chen Jianhua & Fan Hongwei Hengli
10 Investments 4.8% 6.5% Bill Gates Microsoft

The report further detailed that the following industries boasted stand out years:

  • Renewable energy – led by India-based Gautam Adani.
  • Biotech – led by Germany-based Ugur Sahin of BioNTech.
  • Luxury goods – led by France-based Bernard Arnault of LVMH.
  • Semiconductors – led by US-based Jen-Hsun Huang of Nvidea.
  • Software services – led by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft.
  • Shipping – led by Switzerland-based Klaus-Micheal Kuhne of Kuhne & Nagel.

According to Hurun, the top three cities in the world for billionaires are all in China: Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, which this year overtook New York for the first time. The cities with the fastest-growing number of billionaires were London, Mumbai and New Delhi.

“China continued to pull away from the USA in the past year, up 75 to 1133 ‘known’ billionaires, compared with the USA, which added 20 to 716,” said Hoogewerf.

The report showed that China’s billionaires were hit hard, with 9 of the 10 biggest wealth shrinkages and 160 drop-offs.

Industries such as e-commerce, real estate, education, generic drugs, and vaping took the hardest hit as a recent Covid-19 outbreak across China and increased tension with the US combined to see the steepest drop in value since the 2008 financial crisis, with many of China’s biggest companies shedding up to half their value.

Read: 2 South African billionaires climb global wealth rankings

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