Public Sector Employment in Scotland Statistics for 1st Quarter 2024

Statistics based on administrative records and surveys of individual public sector bodies carried out by the Scottish Government and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is a snapshot of employment as at March 2024.

Public Sector Employment by Devolved and Reserved Responsibility; Headcount

The devolved public sector covers those bodies which are the responsibility of the Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament while the reserved public sector in Scotland covers those bodies for which the UK Government has ministerial responsibility.

The devolved public sector headcount was 6,630 (1.2%) higher in March 2024 compared with March 2023 and the reserved public sector was 420 (0.7%) higher.

In the devolved public sector, Public Corporations saw the largest percentage increase (6.1%) over the year, while Further Education Colleges saw the largest percentage decrease (-5.5%).

The largest increase in headcount over the year was in the NHS (increasing by 6,200) and the largest decrease was in Further Education Colleges (decreasing by 720).

In the reserved public sector, both the Other Public Sector[1] and Civil Service saw increases in headcount over the year, at 1.2% and 0.6% respectively.

Changes in the devolved and reserved public sector are explored in more detail in sections 3 and 4 respectively.

Figure 4: Both the Devolved and Reserved public sectors have increased over the year

Breakdown of Public Sector[2] employment (Headcount) in Scotland and annual change from March 2023 to March 2024

Figure 4. infographic of headcount in the devolved and reserved Public Sector with annual change

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 1 2024

Note: Armed Forces data is updated once per year, in July.


[1] For the Reserved sector: Public corporations, public sector financial institutions and public bodies have been combined into ‘other public sector’ to ensure individual organisation employment figures are not disclosed.  

[2] For further details on the make-up of the Scottish Public Sector, please see the background notes for this publication on the About public sector employment statistics – background notes webpage


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