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 Q2 2016. This is similar to the level seen in Q2 2015.

In Q2 2016, public sector employment accounted for 20.7 per cent of total employment in the country and private sector employment accounts for 79.3 per cent of total employment in Scotland.

In Scotland, the devolved public sector saw a decrease of 1,470 (-0.3%). Over the year, decreases in the devolved public sector were seen in Police and Fire by 250 (-0.9%), Local Government by 2,920 (-1.2%) and devolved Civil Service by 1,020 (-5.7%) and increases were seen for college employees by 230 (+1.7%), other public bodies by 1,470 (+10.3%) and NHS staff by 690 (+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.

Notes to editors

The full National Statistics publication can be accessed at:

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 the number of youth employment (16-24) in the devolved public sector for Q1 2013, Q1 2014, Q1 2015 and Q1 2016.

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.

The decrease in the Devolved Civil Service and increase in Other Public Bodies was mainly due to Historic Scotland (previously a Scottish Government Agency within the civil service) merging with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland to become Historic Environment Scotland, a non-department public body within the Other Public Bodies category.
The reduction in Local Government employment in the devolved public sector was partly due to staff transferring to arms’ length external organisations (ALEOs) which are not part of the public sector.
Further information on Labour Market statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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