Information

Public sector employment in Scotland: statistics for third 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 September 2020.

This document is part of 2 collections


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

Public sector employment increased by 9,860 (1.8%) between September 2019 and September 2020, while private sector employment also increased(up 1.5%). This increase in public sector employment is due to an increase in the devolved public sector.

Figure 1 provides a summary of total employment in Scotland by public and private sector.

Figure 1: Public and Private Sector Employment in Scotland as at September 2020
Figure 1 infographic number of people employed in Public Sector and Private Sector by headcount

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 3 2020

Chart 1: Public Sector Employment in Scotland between March 1999 and September 2020, Headcount, non-seasonally adjusted
Chart 1 time series of Public Sector Employment headcount in Scotland, March 1999 to September 2020

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 3 2020

Chart 1 shows that the number of people employed in the public sector remained relatively constant between Q1 2014 and Q2 2018, before falling in Q3 2018 and rising again from Q4 2018 onwards. Excluding the effects of major reclassifications[2](i.e. taking out the headcounts for all large organisations listed in footnote 2 from the overall numbers), the number of people employed in the public sector gradually reached a peak in Q2 2006, decreased to Q3 2013 and remained relatively constant until Q3 2018. The increase between Q3 2018 and Q4 2018 is mainly due to Cordia services moving back under Glasgow City Council services and has continued to rise from Q4 2018 onwards.

Chart 2 shows the annual change in employment for the public sector. Employment rose by 9,860 between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020. The devolved public sector headcount has risen due to increases in local government, NHS and devolved civil service.

The annual change in Chart 2 in Q2 and Q3 2020 shows the effect of the inclusion of several Train Operating Companies (TOCs) within the public sector as at 1st April 2020.

Chart 2: Annual Change in Employment for Public Sector, Headcount
Chart 2 bar chart of annual change in Public Sector Employment headcount quarters Q4 2019 to Q3 2020

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 3 2020

Impact of Excluding Major Reclassifications from Public Sector

If the major reclassifications2 were to be excluded from the public sector series (i.e. the headcounts for all large organisations listed in footnote 2 were taken out of the overall numbers), there would be around 551,000 people employed in the public sector in September 2020. This was 20.7% of the total employment in Scotland compared with 21.4% if major reclassifications are included.

Public sector employment, excluding the effects of the major reclassifications, would be around 7,000 (1.2%) higher in September 2020 compared with September 2019.

Chart 3 below shows that the overall public sector in Scotland increased by 9,860 (1.8%) between September 2019 and September 2020. Chart 3 also shows the estimated impact of removing major reclassifications from the series.

Chart 3: Annual Change (from September 2019 to September 2020) in Public Sector Employment, Headcount
Chart 3 histogram annual change to Total Public Sector headcount and without major reclassifications

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 3 2020

Note: Totals may not equal the sum of individual parts due to rounding

Contact

Email: lmstats@gov.scot

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