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Regional insights

The view from Thames Valley and Southampton

Every two months, we ask business leaders across the country to share their expectations and priorities for the future. We want to track how sentiment is changing in the market and get insight on timely issues: from tax to ESG.

What's changed since December 2021?

  • As we start the year, optimism about the country’s economic prospects has begun to rise again in Thames Valley with 76% of businesses feeling optimistic, compared to 64% in December. This is above the national average of 65%
  • Of the mid-sized businesses in the Thames Valley surveyed, 70% are experiencing unusually high attrition rates – with more people leaving their business than normal. This is above the national average of 62%.
  • Most of the region’s businesses are struggling to recruit new people to replace the talent being lost (68%) and to recruit for additional new roles to support their growth (68%).

The battle for talent

Amidst the ongoing battle for talent, businesses are doing everything they can to both attract new people and retain existing employees. Almost three quarters (74%) are offering higher salaries for new roles, and more than two thirds (68%) confirmed they are offering pay rises or bonuses to help retain their existing people.

Many businesses in the Thames Valley are also willing to adopt innovative new working styles in a bid for talent. Nine in ten respondents (90%) said they would be likely to trial a four-day working week, in line with the current pilot in the UK, in their business.


Jim Rogers, Practice Leader, Thames Valley and Southampton said:

“The rise in hybrid working has allowed people to achieve a better work-life balance, while still providing the opportunity to head into the office for collaboration and human connection. Employers who can continue to offer this flexibility will be much better placed than those who don’t. The fundamental change to ways of working also means that it’s vital for organisations to ensure they have effective people managers - as the old adage that people leave their manager, not their employer, is still often the case.

“A business’ success ultimately hinges on its people and with the job market highly competitive, looking beyond the normal recruitment pathways is crucial. Businesses should be challenging themselves to consider whether it’s possible to recruit from a wider talent pool or to develop and retrain their existing people into new roles to fill potential skills gaps. Apprenticeships, for example, can be a very effective way of achieving both goals, while also increasing diversity within an organisation.”

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