The Central South, from Weymouth to Chichester and encompassing south Hampshire and Dorset plus the Isle of Wight, harbours a diverse business ecosystem. This broad industry base has historically helped the region successfully weather any economic disruption and provides a strong platform for local businesses as they seek to meet current challenges.

With two ports and Southampton and Bournemouth airports, the region has always been seen as a ‘gateway to Europe’. This will be reinforced by the creation of the Solent Freeport area bringing opportunities for infrastructure investment and wider regeneration.


As energy bills continue to soar and the price of fuel shows little sign of falling, the cost-of-living crisis is proving to be a key priority for the region’s businesses. 15% of Central South businesses are planning to raise salaries by 9% or more in line with current inflation rates, with another 45% increasing pay by 4-8% to help employees. In addition, 52% of Central South employers will offer one-off bonuses to their team.

These findings come from our latest Rethinking the Economy survey of 500 leaders of mid-sized businesses. However, the focus on staff retention and the cost-of-living crisis isn’t stopping business leaders from looking into the talent pool, with almost a third (27%) of Central South businesses planning to grow their workforce by introducing added benefits to attract new talent.

Another big concern for the Central South is surrounding supply chain issues with nearly half of the region’s businesses stating it is the biggest threat to their success over the next six months.

Read more on our findings here.


International trade ambition in Central South despite inflation burden

April 2022
Our most recent Rethinking the Economy research revealed most companies in the region are exposed because of the highest level of inflation in 30 years.

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ESG is no mean feat in the current climate, but it’s a challenge Central South businesses are willing to take on

June 2022
With ESG firmly on the agenda, the question is now when and how. Like the rest of the UK, Central South businesses face a plethora of challenges.

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Guidebook: Building an intelligent growth strategy

Read our latest guidebook, exploring the importance of taking a data-led approach to assessing business performance & identifying key barriers to growth.

Download our guidebook

People, places & pay – how Central South businesses are addressing talent strategy for growth

February 2022
In our recent Rethinking the Economy research, Central South businesses led the way regionally when we asked how they were performing against forecasts as they set off into 2022.

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The Central South mid-market pledge investment in talent and global growth to keep recovery on track

December 2021
Business leaders in the Central South fear increased fuel costs, staff shortages and rising energy prices will impact their end of year trading, according to our latest research.

Looking ahead

Staff may be in short supply due to Brexit, but Central South businesses remain optimistic about recovery

October 2021
Our latest Rethinking the Economy survey of 500 mid-sized businesses, makes it very clear the profound effect Brexit and the global pandemic are having on the ability of businesses to recruit.

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Rethinking the region post Brexit: The ongoing impact in Central South

August 2021
In the past 18 months the Central South has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of many challenges. In our most recent Rethinking the Economy research.

How is the region fairing?

Is a ‘super deduction’ the boost your business needs? - a view from the Central South

May 2021
The answer appears to be a resounding yes from the 73% of Central South respondents to our recent survey.

What is this 'super deduction'?

Government incentives invigorate investment intentions in Central South

April 2021
Extended support measures, tax initiatives to reinvigorate investment, incentives to trigger growth - there was plenty for the region to digest in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget.

Budget Review

Where will we be working in the Central South?

June 2021
More than a third of Central South businesses (37%) plan to create permanent remote roles, as companies make a major shift towards new ways of working.

What will the future hold for agile working?

Podcast: PE in the wake of COVID-19

Jason Deign talks to Jonathan Caswell at LDC and Ben Knowles at BDO, on COVID-19’s impact on the regional private equity scene.

Listen to the podcast


BDO stalwart retires with some sound advice

Senior partner Kim Hayward offers his opinions on why local business leaders should do more to influence regional government decision making, the value of networking, & supporting entrepreneurial businesses.

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Can Central South businesses see a bright future for international trade?

February 2021
Rewind four months and 80% of Central South business leaders told us that a no-deal Brexit posed a bigger threat than a domestic second wave of COVID-19.

Future of International Trade

The Central South Private Equity Perspective

The implementation of relief measures and changes in valuations means now is an excellent time for private equity-backed businesses to be looking at incentive plans.

Private Equity

Mid Market Finance Director of the Year announced

Find out who has been named as the Central South Mid Market FD of the Year 2020.

Top FD of 2020


Finance Function of the Future

Helping you maximise productivity from your finance function.

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Explore our Central South Insight archive

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BDO Southampton