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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Southampton


Southampton’s economy showcases a dynamic blend of sectors with a substantial workforce of 64,959 employees. A notable growth in employment is observed, with 119 raisers indicating a thriving business environment. Key sectors such as construction, retail trade, and professional activities dominate the landscape, reflecting a diverse economic base. The city also demonstrates potential for innovation and development, as evidenced by the presence of scaleups, SMEs, and companies with foreign parentage.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Southampton employs 64,959 individuals. The city has experienced a significant employment growth of 15.9%, underlining its robust economic health.
  • Employment Raisers: With 119 employment raisers, Southampton’s job market is expanding, indicating positive business performance and opportunities.
  • Top Sectors by Number of Companies: Construction (1,964 companies), Retail Trade (1,955 companies), and Professional Activities (1,817 companies) are the leading sectors, illustrating a well-rounded economic structure.
  • Top Sectors Showing Growth: Sectors like CleanTech, Consumer Banking, and Energy Reduction Technology are emerging as growth areas, signaling a shift towards innovative and sustainable business models.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: The data suggests a stable business environment in Southampton, with a relatively low number of company cessations.
  • New Companies in Last 2 Years: Southampton has seen 2,270 new companies in the last two years, reflecting a fertile environment for startups and entrepreneurship.
  • SMEs and Scaleups: The presence of 10,478 SMEs and 59 scaleups highlights the city’s supportive ecosystem for small and medium-sized enterprises and their growth trajectory.
  • International and Innovation Indicators: The city is home to 248 exporters and 191 companies with foreign parentage, indicating its global business reach. Furthermore, 157 patent owners and 11 grantees are indicative of a strong innovation landscape.

Gender Representation in Business Leadership

  • Founders’ Gender: Founders in Southampton are predominantly male (87.8%), with female founders representing 9.76%, reflecting a gender gap in entrepreneurship.
  • Directors’ Gender: The distribution among company directors shows 70.62% male and 24.92% female, pointing towards a need for greater gender diversity in leadership roles.

Company Age and Spinoffs

  • Company Age Distribution: A significant portion of companies are well-established, with directors predominantly in the 40-60 age range. Young companies with young directors (under 30) constitute a small fraction.
  • Spinouts: There are no recorded spinouts, suggesting potential untapped opportunities in academic or corporate spinoff ventures.

Economic Resilience

  • Business Attendance and Cessations: The city’s economic resilience is reflected in its high attendance rate at business events (24 attendances) and a relatively low number of business closures (2,001 out of 24,622 total companies).


Southampton’s economic landscape is characterised by a strong and diverse employment base, growth in innovative sectors, and an encouraging environment for SMEs and startups. However, there is room for improvement in areas such as gender diversity in leadership and fostering spinouts. The city’s resilience in maintaining a low rate of business closures and its global outreach are notable strengths.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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