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 542,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in Q4 2016, the lowest level since the series began in 1999.

In Q4 2016, public sector employment accounted for 20.9% of total employment in the country and private sector employment accounts for 79.1% of total employment in Scotland.

In Scotland, the devolved public sector saw a decrease of 1,780 (-0.4%). Over the year, decreases in the devolved public sector were seen in Police and Fire by 260 (-0.9%), Local Government by 2,880 (-1.2%) and college employees by 30 (-0.2%),and increases were seen for other public bodies by 80 (+0.5%), public corporations by 410 (+5.5%), NHS staff by 890 (+0.5%) and devolved civil service by 20 (+0.1%).

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 is available here.

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 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.                   

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

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