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 September 2015. The publication includes information on public sector employment in Scotland with distinctions made for employment in devolved bodies and reserved bodies (located in Scotland).

Table 2: Public sector employment by National Accounts Sector Classification; Scotland, Headcount

Not Seasonally Adjusted

  Total Public Sector Total Central Government National Accounts Central Government Categories9 Local Government4,6,8 Public Corporations2 Public Sector Financial Institutions2 Public Corporations & Public Sector Financial Institutions2,3
  NHS Civil Service Police and Fire4 Further Education Colleges5,7 Armed Forces Other Public Bodies5  
Q3 1999 546,400 223,400 129,700 48,500 - 15,700 15,000 14,400 293,600 29,400 - 29,400
Q3 2009r 636,900 265,900 159,800 51,300 - 16,000 11,900 26,900 304,400 28,500 38,100 66,600
Q3 2010r 625,500 263,500 158,800 49,100 - 17,100 12,300 26,200 298,100 27,000 36,900 63,900
Q3 2011r 595,900 253,700 154,500 47,700 - 15,100 11,700 24,800 284,200 25,700 32,300 58,000
Q3 2012r 583,300 250,800 155,300 45,500 - 14,200 11,000 24,800 278,900 24,400 29,200 53,600
Q3 2013r 582,900 280,000 157,400 44,700 29,800 13,500 11,100 23,600 246,300 24,300 32,300 56,600
Q3 2014r 545,200 278,600 159,700 42,900 28,800 13,500 9,800 23,800 246,300 * * 20,400
Q3 2015 544,700 280,400 160,900 43,500 28,200 13,900 9,800 24,000 244,800 * * 19,500
Change on year to:
Q3 2015
-500 1,800 1,100 700 -500 400 0 200 -1,500 n/a n/a -800
% change on year:
Q3 2015
-0.1% 0.7% 0.7% 1.6% -1.9% 2.9% -0.1% 0.7% -0.6% n/a n/a -4.1%

r = Revision - previous estimates have been revised due to revisions to Scottish Borders Council data (Q1 2009 onwards), Armed Forces data (Q3 and Q4 2012) and the inclusion of Glasgow Prestwick Airport
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. "-" denotes blank entries and "*" denotes entries that have been suppressed for disclosure reasons.
2. Due to the recent reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc from public sector financial institutions to the private sector, a new category has been created combining public corporations with public sector financial institutions to ensure employment figures are not disclosed. Both categories have been merged to produce a backseries prior to the reclassification to allow for calculation of year on year changes.
3. Employment in public corporations & public sector financial institutions has been largely affected by the reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc. (and subsidiaries), as well as Royal Mail plc. and Direct Line Group plc. Over the last year, employment in public corporations has decreased mainly due to people no longer being employed as part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, East Coast Mainline Company and Remploy being taken over by private companies and the Defence Support Group being privatised with some employees moving to Babcock and others transferring to main MOD.

4. 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, from Q2 2013 all police staff have been included within the Police and Fire category (and not in the Other Public Bodies category).
5. 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. Although the SPA is an 'Other Public Body' to avoid duplication and ensure comprehensive numbers are reported for the Police and Fire category, from Q2 2013 all police staff have been included within the Police and Fire category (and not in the Other Public Bodies category).
6. 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 transferrred from Scottish Borders Council to SB Cares on 1st April 2015 thus explaining part of the decrease in local government employment.

7. Information for further education colleges in Scotland is based on actual information from Q4 2010. The method used to create the back series is detailed in the background notes of this publication.
8. Prior to Q1 2009, 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.
9. Detailed tables showing a full time series of data - all quarters back to Q1 1999 - are available to download from the Public Sector Employment Websection:


Email: Claire Gordon

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