Public sector employment in Scotland: statistics for second quarter 2020

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 June 2020.

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3. Devolved Public Sector Employment in Scotland; Headcount

(see Table 3)

Employment in the devolved public sector was 11,820 (2.4%) higher, at 512,100 in June 2020 compared with 500,300 in June 2019.

The devolved public sector includes:

  • Devolved Civil Service (see section 5),
  • Local Government, covering Scottish Local Authorities, Police and Fire Services (up to Q1 2013), Valuation Joint Boards and Regional Transport Partnerships,
  • Police and Fire Services (Q2 2013 onwards),
  • NHS in Scotland,
  • Further Education Colleges,
  • Devolved Public Corporations,
  • Other Devolved Public Bodies (which covers Non-Departmental Bodies and other bodies).

Chart 4 shows the size of each group in the devolved public sector as at June 2020.

Chart 4: Breakdown of Devolved Public Sector Employment by Category as at June 2020, Headcount
infographic headcount breakdown Devolved Public Sector Employment by percentage

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 2 2020
Note: Totals may not equal the sum of the individual parts due to rounding

The increase in the overall headcount over the year in the devolved public sector was due to:

  • The number of Police and Fire Service employees rising by 260 (0.9%) to 28,300 in June 2020;
  • Employment levels in Scottish Local Government rising by 3,100 (1.2%) to 253,000 in June 2020;
  • Employment levels in the NHS rising by 7,960 (4.9%) to 171,600 in June 2020;[4]
  • Employment in the Devolved Civil Service rising by 1,350 (6.8%) to 21,400 in June 2020;


  • Employment in Public Corporations fell by 100 (1.2%) to 8,000 in June 2020;
  • Employment in Further Education Colleges fell by 210 (1.5%) to 13,800 in June 2020;
  • Employment in Other Public Bodies fell by 540 (3.3%) to 15,800 in June 2020.
Figure 3: Percentage Change (from June 2019 to June 2020) in the Devolved Public Sector, Headcount
infographic headcount percentage change over the year for the Devolved Public Sector



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