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The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Dorset


Dorset’s economic landscape is characterised by a strong presence in sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, professional services, and information and communication, among others. With 132,363 employees and a notable 14.76% growth in employment, the region shows robust economic health. The diversity in sectors, from manufacturing to real estate, indicates a multifaceted economy. The presence of 104 scaleups and the growth in certain sectors like food and drink processing and internet platforms signal a dynamic business environment. However, the absence of IPOs suggests a need for enhanced capital market activity.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Dorset employs 132,363 individuals, with a significant growth of 14.76% in employment. This growth is indicative of a healthy job market and expanding business activity.
  • Top Sectors by Employment Growth: The sectors contributing most to employment growth are food and drink processors, internet platforms, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). This reflects a trend towards digitalisation and a focus on quality in the food industry.
  • Scaleups: The presence of 104 scaleups demonstrates a vibrant startup ecosystem and potential for future economic expansion.

Sector Dynamics

  • Leading Sectors: The leading sectors in Dorset are wholesale and retail trade (16.85%), professional services (15.45%), and information and communication (11.49%). This diverse sectoral composition underpins the region’s economic resilience.
  • Emerging Sectors: Sectors like food and drink processing and internet platforms are gaining momentum, indicating shifts in consumer preferences and technological advancements.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: A total of 2,764 companies ceased operations, representing a challenge to business continuity and highlighting the need for supportive measures for business sustainability.

Corporate Leadership and Diversity

  • Gender Representation in Founders and Directors: Founders are predominantly male (78.69%), with female founders at 19.13%. In directorship, male directors dominate (66.31%), with female directors at 29.45%. This indicates a gender gap in leadership roles.


Dorset’s economy is marked by healthy employment growth, a diverse sectoral mix, and an emerging focus on technology and quality-driven sectors. Challenges include the absence of IPOs and a gender gap in corporate leadership. Overall, the region shows strong potential for future economic development, with a need for strategies to enhance capital market activity and gender diversity in leadership.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.