Key points (based on headcount data) include:
- In March 2021, there were 579,400 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, accounting for 21.9% of total employment.
- In March 2021, employment in the public sector was 16,810 (3.0%) more than in March 2020.
- When major reclassifications are excluded, the public sector increased between March 2020 and March 2021 by around 11,000 (2.0%).
- Of the total 579,400 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, 524,600 (90.5%) were employed in the devolved public sector in March 2021, 15,840 (3.1%) more than in March 2020.
- Between March 2020 and March 2021, employment in the devolved public sector increased in the NHS by 10,690 (6.4%), in Public Corporations by 4,750 (56.1%), in the Civil Service by 1,100 (5.2%) and in Local Government by 690 (0.3%). Employment in the devolved public sector decreased in Further Education Colleges by -1,070 (-7.4%), Police and Fire Related Services by -160 (-0.6%) and Other Public Bodies by -150 (-0.9%).
- In March 2021, 54,900 (9.5%) people in the public sector were employed in the reserved public sector in Scotland, 970 (1.8%) more than in March 2020.
- Between March 2020 and March 2021, employment within the reserved public sector increased in the Civil Service by 530 (2.2%) and in Other Public Sector by 440 (2.2%).
Youth employment in the devolved public sector
- In Q1 2021, there were 24,150 young people aged 16-24 in employment in the devolved public sector, accounting for 4.6% of total employment in this sector. This was the same as the proportion of young people in employment in the devolved public sector in Q1 2019.
- The sector which employs the largest number of young people aged 16-24 is local government. In Q1 2021, there were 11,680 employees aged 16-24 working in this sector, nearly half (48.4%) of all young people working in the devolved public sector in Scotland.
- Since 2019, the largest increase in the number of young people aged 16- 24 years was in: NHS (up 1,730) and Scottish Government Agencies (up 90); the largest decreases were in: local government (down 420) and Police and Fire Services (down 130).
- The sectors where young people aged 16-24 years made up the highest proportion of the overall workforce were: Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals (6.3%, down 0.7 percentage points since 2019) and Scottish Government Core Directorates (5.7%, down 1.7 percentage points since 2019).
About this publication
The estimates of public and private sector employment published in this quarter’s release have been impacted by the reclassification of Train Operating Companies operating under Emergency Measure Agreements, which were included in the private sector until March 2020. Having been reclassified to the public sector on 1 April 2020, they are included in estimates of public sector employment from Q2 2020 onwards. This reclassification is split across the reserved and devolved public sector.
An outline of other major reclassifications which have taken place in the Scottish public sector since 2013 are outlined here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/classifications/
A separate public sector series excluding the effects of these major reclassifications has been included in this publication to show the impact of the reclassifications on the number of people employed in the public sector.
More information is available on the Public Sector Employment Web Section.
National Accounts Classifications
An outline of National Accounts classifications which have taken place in the Scottish public sector since 2015 are outlined here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/classifications/
Public Sector Employment Web section
The Public Sector Employment Web section provides additional information to this National Statistics publication:
It contains detailed information including:
- Local government employment by local authority for the current quarter. A time series of total local government employment from Q1 1999 and by gender from Q1 2011.
- Detailed tables showing a full time series of data - all quarters back to Q1 1999 – are also available to download.
- Background notes outlining the methodology used to compile this series.
Public Sector Employment for Government Office Regions and Nations of the UK can be found in the Office for National Statistics Publication.
Comparisons to UK data should be made using non-seasonally adjusted UK data.
See the regional tables at:
Statistics prior to Q1 2008 are estimates. These have been calculated using the total UK reserved public sector employment figure and applying to Scotland on a pro-rata basis as regional level data has only been collected from Q1 2008 onwards.
Background notes about the information contained in our PSE series are available at the following web section: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/background-notes/
Next Publication: September 2021
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