Sector by sector: What are British industries prioritising in the next five years?
October 16th, 2023, Kineree Shah

Sector by sector: What are British industries prioritising in the next five years?

In a recent deep-dive by YouGov Surveys: Serviced, we asked British business decision-makers about their priorities for the next five years. The poll, reaching decision-makers from sectors as varied as manufacturing and media, sheds light on the distinct trajectories different sectors are charting for their future.

Unsurprisingly, a recurring theme across most industries was the emphasis on expansion. Businesses are seemingly looking to beef up their growth strategies for the upcoming five years, with eight sectors overall saying this is a priority for them.


Outside of growth, the manufacturing sector predominantly leans towards brand development (33%) and sustainability (26%) as its priorities. A quarter also put emphasis on customer experience (25%) and employee satisfaction (23%). In contrast, the adoption of AI (7%) and consideration of hybrid vs remote working (4%) aren’t massive areas of focus.


In construction, employee satisfaction (33%) and brand development (24%) as areas of strong focus. While growth (48%) remains a priority, there is a strong emphasis within the sector on sustainability goals too (22%). Only a tenth (10%) expect to be focusing on the hybrid vs remote working question.


Following the theme of expansion (51%), the retail sector prioritises customer experience, with nearly two in five business decision-makers indicating so (37%). Additionally, a third emphasise brand development (32%) while about a quarter are inclined towards sustainability (23%). Just 5% will say that the hybrid vs remote question is going to be on the agenda, almost certainly an outcome of the hands-on nature of staffing in the retail sector.

Finance and Accounting

In the finance and accounting domain customer experience holds significant weight (35%). One in four expect to focus on employee satisfaction (26%), while a fifth believe that brand development (20%), workplace culture (20%) and hybrid or remote work (18%) are going to be areas of focus. AI adoption and ESG practices are on the agenda for 16% of the stakeholders.

Hospitality and Leisure

The hospitality industry presents an almost equal emphasis on customer experience (46%) and expansion (47%). A quarter foresee brand development (26%) as an area of focus, whereas one-fifth view sustainability and employee satisfaction as top priorities (20% and 22% respectively). Both remote work and AI adoption garner only 5% attention.

IT and Telecoms

In the IT and telecoms sector, two in five business decision-makers’ expect to focus on customer experience (39%). Brand development (29%), and employee satisfaction (24%) are other notable areas of focus, with ESG trailing at 10%. The industry's tech-oriented nature is evident, with 23% prioritizing AI integration. Additionally, 15% will wrestle with hybrid work structures, a figure surpassing most of the other sectors.


In the media and allied sectors, a quarter are prioritising AI integration, the highest amongst all industries. Customer experience (25%) and workplace culture (24%) closely follow. However, the emphasis on ESG practices remains subdued at 7%.


In the educational sector, about half underscore the significance of customer experience (45%), mirroring the centrality of student experiences. Brand development (23%) and employee satisfaction (25%) also occupy the minds of a considerable fraction.

Finally, we wanted to reveal which of our sectors were most highly-prioritising each of our focus areas (see chart above).

  • Adopting AI: The industry showing the most interest in AI adoption is the Media sector at 25%.
  • Becoming a more sustainable business: The Manufacturing sector leads the way in sustainability, with 26% of businesses emphasising its importance.
  • Customer experience: Hospitality and Leisure stands out with 46% of businesses in the sector prioritizing customer experience.
  • Workplace culture: Media emerges on top, with 24% of leaders in this industry highlighting the significance of workplace culture.
  • Brand development: Both the Manufacturing and Media sectors equally emphasize brand development, each at 33%.
  • Expansion/growth: The Media sector is the most growth-oriented, with 64% of businesses prioritizing expansion.
  • Employee satisfaction: The Construction sector underscores employee satisfaction the most, with 33% of businesses marking it as essential.
  • Hybrid vs remote working: Finance and Accounting takes the lead with 18% of its businesses considering a shift to hybrid or remote work structures.
  • Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG): The Manufacturing sector showcases the highest commitment to ESG practices at 16%.

Explore our living data – for free

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 18-26 September, 2023 with a nationally representative sample of 2,003 business decision makers in Great Britain (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size and region. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.