Public sector employment in Scotland: statistics for first quarter 2018

A snapshot of employment as at March 2018 with distinctions made for employment in devolved bodies and reserved bodies (located in Scotland).

Table 8: Total devolved public sector employment by sector; Scotland, Full-time equivalent

Not Seasonally Adjusted

Total Devolved
Public Sector
NHS 6 Civil Service 8,9 Police and Fire Services 2 Further Education Colleges 3,5 Other Public Bodies 3,8 Local Government 2,4,6,7,10,12 Public Corporations 11
Q1 1999 384,100 106,000 14,100 - 11,500 7,800 235,000 9,000
Q1 2012 425,200 131,200 15,800 - 11,100 13,300 236,000 18,000
Q1 2013 425,100 133,200 15,800 - 10,600 13,900 233,000 19,000
Q1 2014 425,800 135,600 16,100 27,800 10,400 12,600 203,000 20,000
Q1 2015 427,000 137,600 16,600 27,700 10,500 12,800 202,000 19,000
Q1 2016 426,100 138,500 16,000 27,500 10,500 13,900 200,000 20,000
Q1 2017 424,900 139,400 16,000 27,100 10,300 13,800 198,000 21,000
Q1 2018 427,000 139,900 16,400 26,800 10,500 14,000 198,000 21,000
Change on year to:
Q1 2018 2,100 490 370 -290 180 190 830 340
% change on year:
Q1 2018 0.5% 0.3% 2.3% -1.1% 1.7% 1.3% 0.4% 1.6%


1. Employment figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred; change on year rounded to the nearest ten; percentages are based on unrounded figures. "-" denotes blank entries. Totals may not equal the sum of individual parts due to rounding.

2. Police and Fire Reform: From Q2 2013 Police and Fire Services have been reclassified as central government rather than local government (as their predecessors were). All police staff are employed by the Scottish Police Authority ( SPA) whether deployed with the SPA or with the Police Service of Scotland. Although the SPA is an ’Other Public Body’, to avoid duplication and ensure comprehensive numbers are reported for the Police and Fire category all police staff have been included within Police and Fire (and not the Other Public Bodies category) from Q2 2013.

3. In October 2012 the Scottish Agricultural College ( SAC) merged with 3 colleges to form Scotland's Rural College. This new organisation is classified as a public body as the SAC was. This has resulted in staffing levels moving from the Further Education to Other Public Bodies categories to reflect the merger of these organisations.

4. A number of local government staff have transferred to arms length organisations which are part of the private sector under National Accounts definitions. For example, staff transferred from Scottish Borders Council to SB Cares on 1st April 2015 and from Angus Council to Angus Alive on 1st December 2015 thus explaining part of the decrease in local government employment.

5. Information for further education colleges in Scotland is based on collected information from Q4 2010. The method used to create the back series is detailed in the background notes of this publication.

6. From Q4 2011, NHS has responsibility for employing Healthcare staff within prisons. Previously, these people were employed directly by the Scottish Prison Service ( SPS). Also, In Q2 2012 1,491 & 1062.1 FTE headcount staff transferred from Highland Council to NHS Highland as a result of the move to integrated health and social care services.

7. Prior to Q2 2006, Scottish Borders Council headcount and FTE figures do not include Casual/Relief employees who were paid in the reference period. This means that these figures underestimate the true headcount and FTE for Scottish Borders Council.

8. In Q4 2015, Historic Scotland (previously part of the devolved civil service) merged with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (a non-departmental public body in the other public bodies category) to become Historic Environment Scotland in the Other Public Bodies category.

9. From Q2 2017, the Civil Service figures include the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

10. From Q4 2006, the Local Government figures include Community Safety Glasgow. The series has been estimated using annual administrative data from the inter-departmental business register. Actual figures are used from Q1 2017 onwards.

11. From Q3 2001, the Public Corporations include Registered Social Landlords. This series uses estimates which are predominantly based on annual values provided by the Scottish Housing Regulator.

12. Prior to Q1 2016, Aberdeen Council headcount and FTE figures may be an underestimate due to methods used to collate this data.

13. From Q2 2017, the Public Corporations include the Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management).


Email: Mhairi Wallace

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