Fareham lies between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton in the county of Hampshire. A number of new businesses have helped draw visitors to the town in recent years, including Debenhams, a large Tesco supermarket, and the new Market Quay development. It is also home to several tourist attractions, such as Portchester Castle, the Royal Armouries Museum, and the Hovercraft Museum.
The towns main economic activity is retail, which employs 15% of the population of around 60,000. According to one of the UK's leading recruitment agencies, it is the second most-popular location for many business call centres. The average annual salary for those in full-time employment is £30,333 and the current unemployment rate is 4.5% (as of September 2012). 37% of residents hold an NVQ4 or above.
There are plenty of major employers in Fareham, including the Office for National Statistics, Eaton Aerospace (high technology engineering), CooperVision Limited (contact lens manufacturing), HMS Collingwood (MOD Training), the borough council, Meggitt Avionics (aircraft cockpit component manufacturers), and Schefenacker Vision Systems UK Ltd (car accessory manufacturers).
The highest proportion of staff are employed by the finance and IT sectors (30%), with 21% working in public administration, education and health, and a further 22% working in distribution, hotels, and restaurants.