EY is proud to be part of the thriving business community across the South Coast, which includes some of the world’s leading companies which have established a European base in the region, writes James Harris, partner at EY Southampton.
Our teams work with boat builders and aerospace engineers, defence firms and fast-growth tech companies, among the many other diverse and globally connected businesses. The South Coast is also an attractive destination for the burgeoning start-up and scale-up community; Southampton Science Park is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community and Dorset is one of the fastest growing creative and digital hubs in Europe.
EY is committed to the success of the South Coast and is keen to play an active role within the local business community. This is reflected in our Economics for Business programme that supports the region’s changing economic landscape. EY’s latest region and city economic forecast predicts that Southampton and the South Coast economies will each grow by 1.6% Gross Value Added (GVA) over the next three years – outperforming UK average growth of 1.5%. Southampton is also expected to see annual employment growth of 0.4% until 2019.
This is our first regional forecast since the EU referendum and, while clearly there are still many risks and uncertainties, it’s positive that the strong economic performance of both Southampton and the South Coast are expected to continue in the coming years. However, to ensure these growth forecasts become a reality, I believe the region needs to focus on three key drivers to accelerate growth: Firstly, to avoid significant skills shortages, it’s vital that any new immigration ‘systems’ are flexible enough to ensure we can recruit the skilled labour needed to fuel our growth.
Secondly, investment in infrastructure is needed to support business growth, including roads, public transport and the region’s connectivity via faster broadband. Thirdly, we have an opportunity to enhance and sustain a culture of collaboration between corporates and start-up’s to deliver further innovation.
EY in Southampton has over 130 highly-qualified professionals dedicated to serving local businesses across the South Coast, with a successful track record of advising businesses from large listed companies to entrepreneurial start-ups. Our focus is on providing strategic advice to help our clients achieve their growth ambitions, which in turn helps boosts growth, innovation and productivity across the region.