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GHD has launched its inaugural UK Disruption Index, which evaluates which UK industries have established resilience, and which are most susceptible to future shock and disruption.

The Water sector has been identified as the sector most resilient to future disruption, and Retail as the least.

To build the index, GHD analysed the risk of disruption to 11 key sectors - Rail, Highways, Water, Energy, Chemical & Pharmaceuticals, Construction, Real Estate, Retail, Manufacturing, Financial Services, and Information & Communication - through a combination of independent research, internal GHD expert consultation data, and a survey of 2002 UK consumers and hundreds of business decision makers.

This research was carried out through four lenses, all of which are key to enabling a business or industry to be truly resilient in the long term. By prioritising each of these areas, businesses and industries should ensure they are better prepared for future uncertainty and shocks.

The four lenses were:

  • Customers: Understanding and planning for changing behaviours and expectations.
  • Business: Ensuring business models are robust, investable and sustainable.
  • Assets: Using fully optimised assets that minimise waste.
  • Innovation: Investing in technology and piloting new solutions; testing how to meet changing consumer demands.

Disruption Index rankings:


Overall ranking


1 (most resilient to future disruption)

Information & Communication










Chemical & Pharmaceuticals


Financial Services


Real Estate





11 (least resilient to future disruption)

Key findings from GHD’s research include:

  • 77 percent of business leaders consider their organization to be prepared for disruption in the future.
  • 80 percent of business leaders believe their company has proved more resilient than expected, given the challenges of the past two years.
  • 63 percent of business leaders believe their industry has adapted quickly to COVID-19 and changing customer demands over the past two years.
  • Business leaders see economic uncertainty as the factor that will cause the biggest disruption to their organisation in the next 10 years, followed by changing consumer demands and COVID-19 (or other such pandemics).
  • Changing consumer demands is a considerable vulnerability across the majority of industries and is one of the top risks for the Energy, Rail, Financial Services and Retail sectors.

GHD’s full Disruption Index and accompanying whitepaper, ‘Recovery, Resilience and Reconnection: Designing business for an ever-present state of disruption’, can be found here.

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