The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS)

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) is a 4-level classification system developed in 1999 by MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices to categorize companies traded on public stock exchanges. The GICS is targeted at professionals in the investment business. In addition to classifying companies, the GICS is used in the creation of equity indexes.

Get The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) correspondence tables

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) crosswalk tables to over 50 different industry classifications.


The current implementation of The Global Industry Classification Standard, valid since March 17, 2023, categorizes companies into:

  • 11 sectors
  • 25 industry groups
  • 74 industries
  • 163 sub-industries

The classification is hierarchical, in that each sub-industry belongs to only one industry, each industry belongs to one industry group, and each industry group belongs to one sector. Knowing the sub-industry to which a given company belongs to, one can easily find the relevant industry, industry group, or a sector of that company.

The codes in the classification are resistant to formatting issues, when a raw classification file is opened in a spreadsheet editor, such as MS Excel. There are no leading zeros and commas which could make these codes be treated as numbers and rounded up as a result (if you don't know the type of the problem, we recommend opening a raw description file of NACE The Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community). With each level of classification, the number of digits in the code grows by two. The most generic, industry codes are 2-digit (e.g. GICS 20 - Industrials), and most-specific, subsector codes are 8-digit long (e.g. GICS 20304010 - Rail Transportation).

The table below shows the sectors of The Global Industry Classification Standard:

Code Description # of industry groups # of industries # of sub-industries
10 Energy 1 2 7
15 Materials 1 5 17
20 Industrials 3 14 27
25 Consumer Discretionary 4 10 27
30 Consumer Staples 3 6 12
35 Health Care 2 6 10
40 Financials 3 6 18
45 Information Technology 3 6 12
50 Communication Services 2 5 10
55 Utilities 1 5 6
60 Real Estate 2 9 17

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) is a "demand-oriented" classification. It attempts to group companies based on how individuals and companies purchase their products and services, instead of categorizing them based on what product the company makes, or what service it provides (it would be a "production-oriented" approach).

History & versions

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) was developed in 1999 as a result of a cooperation between MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices, two major providers of global equity indexes. At that time there were already other industry classifications available, such as ISIC, NAICS, or SIC, however, they were not fit enough for the use in equity investments. Most of these classifications were relevant to a particular geographic region and overrepresented many industries with very few publicly traded companies (e.g. those in the agricultural sector). The GICS creators addressed these issues by creating a globally-applicable classification system based on the quantitative (e.g. revenues, earnings) and qualitative criteria (e.g. an increasingly blurring line between goods and services in the current economy). They also engaged in many conversations with asset owners, portfolio managers, and investment analysts to develop a classification targeted at the use of professionals and institutions in the equity investment business.

The GICS classification undergoes a yearly review process. The objective of examining the GICS methodology, as outlined in the Revisions To The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) Structure Effective March 2023 document released on March 31, 2022, was to verify that the GICS framework remains a suitable representation of international equity markets, thus allowing asset owners, asset managers, and investment research professionals to perform reliable industry comparisons worldwide. To date, there were 12 versions of GICS published:

  • v1: effective from 1999 until March 28, 2002 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v2: effective since March 28, 2002 COB (ET) until April 30, 2003 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v3: effective since April 30, 2003 COB (ET) until April 30, 2004 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:4 effective since April 30, 2004 COB (ET) until April 29, 2005 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:5 effective since April 29, 2005 COB (ET) until April 28, 2006 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:6 effective since April 28, 2006 COB (ET) until August 29, 2008 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:7 effective since August 29, 2008 COB (ET) until June 30, 2010 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:8 effective since June 30, 2010 COB (ET) until February 28, 2014 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:9 effective since February 28, 2014 COB (ET) until August 31, 2016 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:10 effective since August 31, 2016 COB (ET) until Sep 28, 2018 COB (ET) | definitions
  • v:11 effective since Sep 28, 2018 COB (ET) until March 17, 2023 COB (ET) | definitions | summary of changes
  • v12: effective since March 17, 2023 COB (ET) (current version) | definitions |summary of changes

COB (ET) in the list above stands for "close of business, Eastern Time", which is the term used in the official GICS guidelines.

Planned changes to the GICS classification are announced well in advance with a document summarizing both the changes and the reasoning behind them. For example, changes planned in the version effective since EOD (ET) September 28, 2018, were published on November 15, 2017. Changes to the current version, effective EOD (ET) March 17, 2023 were announced almost a year in advance, on March 31, 2022.

Where is it used?

The GICS classification was developed to "to enhance the investment research and asset management process for financial professionals worldwide". Current uses of the GICS classification reflect that purpose. The GICS codes are used:

  • in the development and analysis of equity indexes developed by S&P Global and MSCI. For example, custom equity indexes can be created with the desired composition of different GICS sectors or industries in it (see S&P Global Custom Indexes and MSCI Custom Indexes)
  • in GICS Direct, a database of over 44,000 companies with their corresponding GICS codes. GICS Direct℠ is a service of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and MSCI.
  • in categorizing the publicly traded companies on NYSE and NASDAQ (see Fidelity Investments e research)
  • in analyzing the current structure of industries in the global equity investment markets. That is, since the GICS classification is updated yearly to stay relevant to the developments in industry structure, the classification itself provides an outlook into the importance of particular industries and their sectors.

Further resources

Download GICS

GICS conversion tables

Other resources