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Business Bootcamp: How can I find companies within an industry?

A guide to business sources as students look for careers and internships.

Getting started.

It can be challenging to lookup companies within an industry. For example, maybe I would like to work in the aircraft industry? I would need to know the name of companies in the industry to be able to see if they have any job openings or possible internships. 

I did a quick Google search to get started looking for companies that build aircraft and got a list of the top companies. This gives me the name of several companies so that I can find a complete list, and one with more information on each company. 

Make a list of companies within an industry

Once I know the name of a company within an industry I can then research that industry. Can you think of some reasons why this would be useful? I can think of four:

  • I am researching this industry so having a list of the companies is useful 
  • I want to sell something to these companies and I need contact information
  • I want to start a similar company and I am interested in the market. Think about it? If we were going to start a coffee shop I would look to see how Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts succeed in the market place. 
  • Finally, I might want to work for one of these companies. 

Great, so my industry of interest is aircraft manufacturing. I will use the company Boeing to help me look up more data. Remember, in the last section searching the name of a company led me to competitors and industry data. Using company data is an efficient way to learn more about an industry as a whole.

ReferenceUSA / Data Axle

In ReferenceUSA (now called DataAxle) you can search for a company by name, by industry code or by its location. Company listings within this resource include links to the job and internship listings. When you view a company record you can see open positions within the company. 

The results the search generates can be made into a list. Notice the description of the company includes the industry codes, company information, data about the company, competitors and so on.  

Open the link and then follow these images to see how to build a list of companies within an industry. 

Start by clicking on the database link and then U.S. Businesses. Notice the link for US Jobs / Internships

1. Click into the company name box and add a company. The following search is for the company Boeing. 

2. Here are the search results for the Boeing search. I found lots of companies and they all look like they are a part of the parent company.

To sort, click the blue arrow to the right. It should display the link to the company headquarters. And then click on the company name to view. The company headquarters are where the hiring and other corporate decisions are made. See any jobs listed?

3. On the Boeing information page you can read about the company and look to see what kind of jobs they advertise. To find competitors of Boeing you should scroll down to the industry codes and check for the primary code. We will use the primary NAICS -  Aircraft Manufacturing to find all of the competitors in the US that are in the market of Manufacturing Airplanes. Using this industry name or number 33641103 to search will work here, in other business sources, or when doing a web search. 

See other codes? Check to see if there is an area of interest worth investigating. 




4. OK - let's do the search to find all the companies within this industry. Go to top of the page and click on new search and then chose advanced search. Here we can search by business type.

  • Use the check boxes and check Keyword/SIC/NAICS under Business Type.
  • Click Search all NAICS and type in the name of the industry (or number if you want)
  • Click appropriate code/name and then click update count.   
    • The results before performing the search are 14,830,317 companies
    • Click update count and the number is about 629 companies. 


5. Next I want to see a list of only the headquarters for these companies. That will narrow the search down to only the company's home office. This is where they do the hiring and make the contracts. On the lefthand side look for the section called Ownership and chose Headquarter and Subsidiaries and then update the count. You should have a list of about 29 companies. 

The count is lowered by selecting headquarters. Click on View Results and I will be able to see a list of companies within this industry. I can then click on and view each company record and look for open jobs or other market data. 

6. Here are all of the competitors in the US that are in the aircraft manufacturing market. The results can be sorted by size, address, city, etc. To further refine your results, simply select more search criteria. For instance, you might want all of the companies that have over a billion in sales, all of the companies that are headquarter in New Jersey or just the companies that have more than 500 employees. 

Notice the download link at the top of the list?

You can download this list - just check the ones that you want and then click download - then keep it as an excel file to use later for job searching. business contacts or market research. In fact, I did some quick analysis and there are 29 companies and two are led women, Sikorsky and General Atomics. Connecticut, California, Kansas and Washington State all have at least three companies located in their state. Collectively there are 265,000 employees and the companies saw well over 35 billion in sales. Of the 29 companies 17 are public or branches of a public company and 12 are privately held.