The basic industry is concerned with the production of materials that are supplied to other industries. While this industry falls among the biggest employers of labor, we definitely can’t refute the fact that it is important to a country’s economy.

For better understanding of the term ‘basic industry’, let’s break down the term to what the layman can easily understand. The word ‘basic’ simply means necessary while ‘industry’ refers to a sector of the economy consisting of large-scale enterprises.

Therefore, the basic industry is an umbrella term for companies that produce and distribute raw materials needed by other sectors or industries for the development of a nation.

Now that you probably have basic understanding of the basic industry, you might want to have an insight into what the industry is composed of. In that case,


…Here are the Major Categories in the Basic Industry


It is not surprising to have agriculture atop the list of categories in the basic industry, though one might be tempted to ask why.

Well, agriculture not only provides raw products/materials needed by other industries, but also, it is one of the industries with the largest number of employees. This sector is said to have over one-third of the world’s workers. A recent study by the US Department of Agriculture showed that 19.7 million full and part-time jobs were connected to the agricultural and food sectors.

It is vital to note that as the world’s population increases, so will there be demand for food produce which, in turn, leads to the establishment of companies needed to convert this raw produce into consumables. There’s also a need for professionals in such a field. Agriculture is not just about planting and harvesting (that is, being a farmer), as there are other jobs under this category of basic industry.


We have the agronomist who is an expert in the science of soil management and crop production. There is also the animal scientist who is concerned with the biological study of animal species. While one could also work as a food scientist, the food scientist or food technologist studies food cultivation and processing, including the taste, nutritional value, and sources of food. The listed professions and many more jobs are just some of the goodies the agricultural sector offers.

Oil and Gas

Another big category in the basic industry is the oil and gas industry. This sector also employs a very large number of workers who contribute immensely to the economic growth of a nation. The oil and gas sector has three key areas: the upstream, the midstream and the downstream.

The upstream subsector involves searching for natural gas or crude oil fields and the drilling of wells to recover oil and gas. Transportation of discovered resources to a refinery, and storage and processing of oil and gas constitute the duties of this subsector.

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The downstream subsector consists of companies that refine crude oil and purify natural gas before the products can be conveyed to consumers (end users). What job opportunities does the oil and gas sector offer?


While in the oil and gas industry, one could work as a geoscientist, helping in the study of earth structure by collecting, measuring, and examining rocks, soil, minerals or fossils. Another job the industry offers is working on an oil rig. An oil rig is a kind of machine rested above an oil well, where it is intended for a specified purpose. One can work on an oil rig as a driller, mechanic, electrician, rig cook, rig medic, etc.

Paper and Pulp

Hearing this, what comes to mind may be described as paper, but it is way more than just paper. The paper and pulp industry produces the different kinds of paper used for printing. It also produces hygiene products and tissues.

The various jobs provided by this sector include working as a sawyer, a paper mill operator, a woodworker, etc.

Chemical Industry

This consists of companies that produce industrial chemicals. Such companies change and convert raw materials –such as oil and metals –into chemical substances that are reusable by other industries. Usually, the chemical products from this industry are classified into three: the basic chemicals such as fertilizers and polymers; the speciality chemicals such as dyes, adhesives, paints, colors, cosmetic additives, etc., and the consumer chemicals which include detergents, soaps, etc.

The chemical industry is a very large sector whose products are used by several other sectors including the agriculture, construction, and service industries.  Various professionals are involved in the chemical industry and one could find employment as a chemical engineer, a chemist, a lab technician, and so on.


Mining is a very vital component of the basic industry as it helps with the extraction of mineral resources which eventually act as raw materials for industrial uses. Numerous other sectors/industries of a country largely depend on the raw materials from the mining sector. The consumer goods industry and the capital goods industry, for instance, need such raw materials for their manufacturing purposes.


Companies belonging to this basic industry category are known for provision of water, electricity, gas, telecommunications, etc. Therefore, the utilities sector of the basic industry employs such professionals as utility inspectors, water treatment technicians, plant operators, plant engineers, and field installers.

Steel and Metal

Steel and metal is the basic industry category/sector which may be considered the lifeblood of the construction industry. This is because the steel and metal sector provides construction companies with the needed steel for the construction of bridges, beams, pipelines, and railways. Parts of the professionals the steel and metal category employs are as follows: machinists, metal fabricators, iron workers, sheet metal workers, and tool and die technicians.


Top 5 High-paying Jobs in Basic Industries


Drilling Engineer

The job of the drilling engineer entails the execution of drilling activities as well as maintenance of onshore and offshore drilling rigs. In discharging their duty, the drilling engineer ensures compliance with safety measures with respect to the execution of drilling processes.

Drilling engineers are largely responsible for assessment of oil wells as well as validation of drilling equipment. They are also responsible for estimating the amount of finances needed for carrying out drilling projects. While their average base salary stands at $100, 203, drilling engineers earn between $92,456 and $110,060 in annual salary.

Petroleum Geologist

Petroleum geologists are experts who handle the initial phase of oil discovery; they are the ones who help ascertain whether oil is deposited in a given region. By combining their understanding of geophysics with their geological knowledge, petroleum geologists successfully determine where oil or gas is deposited in the earth.

It’s noteworthy in the entire process of oil discovery or exploration, petroleum geologists are first needed –to ascertain the presence of oil –before any drilling activity by engineers can take place.

While the drilling is ongoing, petroleum geologists supervise the engineers and guide them all through the drilling. Aside from this supervisory role, petroleum geologists conduct thorough analysis and testing on the drilled particles. This way, they will be able to tell if such particles truly contain oil and gas. Petroleum geologists command a base annual salary that ranges between $96,939 and $119,357.


Agronomists are agricultural experts tasked with the responsibility of solving complex problems in the field of agriculture. To successfully discharge their problem-solving responsibility, agronomists engage in activities such as collection and analysis of test samples.

The problem-solving competency of the agronomist is especially useful for proffering solutions to issues that may arise in the areas of soil management, fertilizer application, irrigation etc.

In addition to their expertise of soil management, agronomists are capable of mapping out efficient and effective farming practices. Agronomists’ average yearly salary stands at $54,179.


Metallurgists can be regarded as ‘metal experts’, owing to their thorough understanding of metals and their properties. It’s also in view of such understanding that metallurgists are employed by companies in the mining industry where metal extraction, processing, heating and shaping occur.

Metallurgists work with other experts in the industry by providing expert recommendations for alloying, casting and other metal-related areas. Though the average yearly salary of metallurgists stands at $68,125, the total annual salary of these metal professionals is estimated at $82,861.

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The job of the horticulturist involves landscape design, plant cultivation, and expansion of plant yield, among others. Horticulturists cultivate plant varieties including fruits, veggies, flowers, and ornamental trees.

Aside from plant cultivation, landscape design is a special area where horticulturists harness their skills. In this case, horticulturists can be hired by park authorities for the landscape design of their (amusement) parks.

Horticulturists’ total annual salary is estimated at $72,363.

Is Basic Industries a Good Career Path?

The sectors that make up the basic industry are considered vital contributors to the economy of any nation where such industries are found. In the United States, for instance, the agriculture, oil and gas, and mining industries contribute immensely to the country’s economy. While the US’ oil and gas industry accounts for 5.6% of total employment in the country, a 2021 report revealed that about 8 million jobs were provided by the US’ mining industry.

In that same 2021, it was revealed that more than 600,000 people in the United States depended on the country’s mining industry. With that said, agriculture is another vital component of the basic industry, and in the US, the agriculture and food sectors accounted for 10.3% of the country’s total employment in 2020. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that the country’s agricultural and food sectors were responsible for 19.7 million full-time and part-time jobs in that year.

If you’re seeking to pursue a career in an industry that offers beneficial packages such as medical insurance, vacation days, and retirement plans, the basic industry might just be an ideal choice for you. This is because the industry is home to myriads of organizations well known for providing employees with medical insurance and a host of other beneficial packages.


With the information provided in this post, it’s pretty clear that the basic industry is a good career path in terms of remuneration and job availability. Young people with the required degrees, certifications and/or experience can pursue meaningful careers in the industry.

Interestingly, dozens of companies and/or organizations within the basic industry offer employment positions to differing professionals including metallurgists, steel fabricators, synthetic chemists, drilling engineers, petroleum geologists, agronomists, forensic scientists, and so on.

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