Scottish Public Sector Employment

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Public Sector Employment Statistics for Scotland, released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, show there were 561,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in September 2019.

As of September 2019, public sector employment accounted for 21.5% of total employment in Scotland and private sector employment accounted for 78.5%.

There were 504,500 people employed in the devolved public sector in September 2019, a net increase of 14,600 (3.0%) since September 2018. There were increases in headcount in devolved civil service by 2,510 (+14.1%), public corporations by 50 (+0.5%), further education colleges by 110 (+0.8%), NHS staff by 1,860 (+1.1%) and Police and Fire by 550 (+2.0%). There were also increases in headcount in local government by 9,670 (+4.0%), mainly due to Cordia services moving back under Glasgow City Council services. There were decreases in headcount in other public bodies by 130 (-0.8%).

The figures released 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.


These statistics were designated National Statistics in December 2009.

The full National Statistics publication is available on the Scottish Government website.

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, Q1 2018 and Q1 2019

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.

Read further information on Labour Market statistics in Scotland.

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


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