Scottish Public Sector Employment

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Public Sector Employment Statistics for Scotland, released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, show that there were 545,100 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in September 2018.

As of September 2018, public sector employment accounted for 20.7 per cent of total employment in the country and private sector employment accounted for 79.3 per cent of total employment in Scotland.

There were 489,700 people employed in the devolved public sector in September 2018, a net decrease of 13,520 (-2.7%) since September 2017. There were increases in headcount in devolved civil service by 650 (+3.8%), other public bodies by 410 (+2.6%), further education colleges by 300 (+2.2%) and NHS staff by 250 (+0.2%). There were decreases in headcount in Public Corporations by 14,730 (-63.5%) which was mainly due to Registered Social Landlords being reclassified into the private sector. There were also decreases in headcount in local government by 300 (-0.1%) and Police and Fire by 100 (-0.4%).

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.



The full National Statistics publication.

In addition to the National Statistics publication there is also a Public Sector Employment Statistics Websection containing:

  • Local government staffing by local authority and gender.
  • Detailed tables showing a full-time series – all quarters back to Q1 1999.
  • Further information on youth employment levels (16-24) in the devolved public sector for Q1 2013, Q1 2014, Q1 2015, Q1 2016, Q1 2017 and Q1 2018.

The data are not seasonally adjusted and therefore comparisons should only be made with the same quarter over time.

Devolved public bodies refer to public bodies which are the responsibility of the Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament. This includes the core Scottish Government and Agencies, Non-Ministerial Departments, Local Authorities, Police and Fire Services, NHS, Non-Departmental Public Bodies, Public Corporations and other significant national bodies.

Further information on Labour Market statistics within Scotland.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland.


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