Key points (based on headcount data) include:
- In Q4 2016, there were 542,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, this is a decrease of 2,680 (-0.5%) since Q4 2015. In Q4 2016, public sector employment accounted for 20.9% of total employment, the same as the previous year.
- Of the total 542,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, 89.6% are accounted for by employment in the devolved public sector. Employment in the devolved public sector decreased by 1,780 (-0.4%) over the last year to 485,900 in Q4 2016.
- Over the year, employment in the devolved public sector decreased in Local Government by 2,880 (-1.2%)  , Police and Fire Related Services by 260 (-0.9%) and Further Education Colleges by 30 (-0.2%). Employment in the devolved public sector increased in NHS by 890 (+0.5%), Public Corporations by 410 (+5.5%) and Civil Service by 20 (+0.1%).
- 10.4% of the total public sector employment relates to employment in the reserved public sector in Scotland. The reserved sector saw a decrease of 900 (-1.6%) in headcount between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016.
- Employment within the reserved public sector decreased in Public Corporations & Public Sector Financial Institutions by 710 (-6.0%) and in Public Bodies by 260 (-2.6%). Employment increased in the Armed Forces by 10 (+0.1%) and in the Civil Service by 60 (+0.2%).
Major Reclassifications 1
On 17 th December 2013, the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) announced that from 1 st September 2014, Network Rail will be reclassified as a Central Government body in the public sector and will apply from April 2004.
On 30th April 2014, ONS announced the reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group plc. (and subsidiaries) as a former Public Corporation into the private sector (with effect from March 2014). Subsidiaries of Lloyds Banking Group plc. include: Scottish Widows Bank plc. TSB Bank plc., Lloyds Bank plc., Black Horse Limited, AMC Bank Limited and Bank of Scotland plc. This reclassification resulted in approximately 19,400 staff (headcount) moving into the private sector. More information on this can be found in Classification of Lloyds Banking Group and Subsidiaries
ONS announced the reclassification of both Royal Mail Group plc. (effective from October 2013) and Direct Line Group (effective from September 2013), as former Public Corporations. This resulted in approximately 12,400 staff (headcount) moving into the private sector.
A separate public sector series excluding the effects of major reclassifications has been included in this publication to show the impact of the reclassifications on the number of people employed in the public sector.
More information is available on the Public Sector Employment Web Section.
National Accounts Classifications
On 30 th November 2015, the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) announced that from 22 nd November 2013, Glasgow Prestwick Airport Limited will be classified as a Non-financial Public Corporation. Therefore, Glasgow Prestwick Airport Limited has been included in the Public Sector series from Q4 2013.
On 1 st October 2015, Historic Scotland (previously part of the devolved civil service) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (a non-departmental public body) merged to become Historic Environment Scotland. Historic Environment Scotland will be classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body.
On 1 st October 2016, the Office for National Statistics announced that from 2 nd December 2015, Aberdeen Harbour Board would no longer be classified as a public non-financial corporation but instead be classified as a National Private non-financial Corporation.
Public Sector Employment Web section
The Public Sector Employment Web section provides additional information to this National Statistics publication http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Labour-Market/PublicSectorEmployment
It contains detailed information including:
- Employment levels for public bodies in Scotland for 16-24 year olds (Q1 2013, Q1 2014, Q1 2015 and Q1 2016).
- Local government employment by local authority for the current quarter. A time series of total local government employment from Q1 1999 and by gender from Q1 2011.
- Detailed tables showing a full time series of data - all quarters back to Q1 1999 - are also available to download.
- Background notes outlining the methodology used to compile this series.
Public Sector Employment for Government Office Regions and Nations of the UK can be found in the Office for National Statistics Publication.
Comparisons to UK data should be made using non-seasonally adjusted UK data.
See the regional tables at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/public-sector-employment/index.html.
Statistics prior to Q1 2008 are estimates. These have been calculated using the total UK reserved public sector employment figure and applying to Scotland on a pro-rata basis as regional level data has only been collected from Q1 2008 onwards.
Background notes about the information contained in our PSE series are available at the following web section:
Next Publication: June 2017
Note: In this publication, the reduction in Local Government staffing in the devolved public sector was partly due to staff transferring to arms' length external organisations ( ALEOs) which are not part of the public sector. We are in the process of collecting data on ALEOs from local authorities in order to produce a series which accounts for these changes over time.
Email: Tom Pennock