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 December 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 Service9 Police and Fire4 Further Education Colleges5,7 Armed Forces Other Public Bodies5,9
Q4 1999 551,200 223,500 129,800 48,300 - 15,700 15,100 14,600 296,300 31,300 - 31,300
Q4 2009 638,600 265,700 160,800 51,100 - 16,000 11,900 25,800 305,700 30,700 36,600 67,300
Q4 2010 624,600 261,400 158,000 48,700 - 16,800 12,300 25,700 295,900 28,100 39,200 67,300
Q4 2011 593,700 252,400 154,400 46,900 - 15,000 11,600 24,500 283,100 26,800 31,400 58,200
Q4 2012 582,700 249,800 155,800 45,200 - 13,600 10,400 24,900 277,900 26,200 28,700 54,900
Q4 2013 569,800 279,400 158,100 44,400 29,300 13,600 10,900 23,100 247,400 12,200 30,800 43,000
Q4 2014 545,800 279,200 160,500 42,700 28,600 13,900 9,700 23,700 246,700 * * 20,000
Q4 2015 545,400 281,200 161,400 42,300 28,200 13,900 10,100 25,200 244,800 * * 19,500
Change on year to:
Q4 2015 -400 2,000 900 -400 -400 100 400 1,500 -1,900 n/a n/a -500
% change on year:
Q4 2015 -0.1% 0.7% 0.6% -1.0% -1.5% 0.5% 4.2% 6.4% -0.8% n/a n/a -2.5%


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 reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc from public sector financial institutions to the private sector (Q1 2014), 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 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 and from Angus Council to Angus Alive on 1st December 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 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.
9. 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.
10. 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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