Public sector employment in Scotland: statistics for second quarter 2018

The statistics in this release are 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 June 2018.

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 11,13
Q2 1999 384,700 106,200 14,100 - 11,500 7,800 236,000 9,000
Q2 2012 424,300 131,400 15,800 - 10,800 13,500 235,000 18,000
Q2 2013 424,600 133,400 15,900 29,100 10,200 12,800 204,000 19,000
Q2 2014 426,700 135,900 16,300 28,100 10,200 12,600 203,000 21,000
Q2 2015 425,500 137,400 16,900 27,600 10,500 12,800 201,000 20,000
Q2 2016 425,000 138,100 16,000 27,300 10,600 14,100 199,000 20,000
Q2 2017 425,600 138,900 16,100 27,000 10,300 14,200 198,000 21,000
Q2 2018 425,900 139,100 16,500 26,900 10,200 14,300 198,000 21,000
Change on year to:
Q2 2018 360 160 340 -90 -100 160 -120 -20
% change on year:
Q2 2018 0.1% 0.1% 2.1% -0.3% -0.9% 1.2% -0.1% -0.1%


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.

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).

14. Prior to Q1 2017, West Dunbartonshire Council FTE figures may be an underestimate due to methods used to collate this data.


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