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).

1. Total Employment and Public and Private Sector Employment in Scotland; Headcount (see Table 1)

Figure 1 provides a summary of total employment in Scotland and the breakdown of public and private sector employment. The public sector is defined according to the UK National Accounts Classifications Guide[1].

Figure 1: Public and Private Sector Employment, Scotland, Q3 2015


Chart 1: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Headcount, Q1 1999 – Q3 2015, non-seasonally adjusted


Chart 1 shows that the number of people employed in the public sector in Q3 2015 was the lowest level since the series began in 1999. Excluding the effects of major reclassifications2, the number of people employed in the public sector gradually increased to a peak in Q1 2006, decreased to Q2 2013 and has remained relatively constant since Q2 2013.

Chart 2 shows the annual change in employment for the public and private sectors.

Chart 2: Annual Change in Employment by Main Sector, Headcount


Impact of Excluding Major Reclassifications from Public Sector

If the major reclassifications[2] were to be excluded from the public sector series, there would be estimated to be 530,800 people employed in the public sector in Q3 2015. This would account for 20.3% of the total employment in Scotland.

Public Sector employment excluding the effects of the major reclassifications, would have decreased by 600 (-0.1%) over the year to Q3 2015 and decreased by 2,800 (+0.5%) since Q3 1999.

The major reclassifications are all included in the reserved public sector in Scotland; their impact in this sector is covered in section 4 of the publication.


Email: Claire Gordon

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