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 561,900 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in March 2020.

As of March 2020, public sector employment accounted for 21.3% of total employment in Scotland and private sector employment accounted for 78.7% of total employment.

There were 508,700 people employed in the devolved public sector in March 2020, a net increase of 8,700 (1.7%) since March 2019.

There were increases in headcount in:

  • devolved civil service by 2,460 (+13.1%)
  • public corporations by 30 (+0.4%)
  • further education colleges by 160 (+1.1%)
  • NHS by 2,910 (+1.8%)
  • police and fire by 470 (+1,7%)
  • local government by 2,810 (+1.1%)

There was a decrease in headcount in:

  • other public bodies by 150 (-0.9%)

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 statistics in this release were designated National Statistics in December 2009.

Read the full National Statistics publication.

In addition to the National Statistics publication there is also a Public Sector Employment Statistics page 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. Information was not collected in Q1 2020

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. Learn more about the standards of official statistics in Scotland.


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