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Publication - Statistics

Public sector employment statistics: 4th quarter 2020

Published: 23 Mar 2021

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 December 2020.

34 page PDF

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34 page PDF

930.2 kB

Supporting files

Contents
Public sector employment statistics: 4th quarter 2020
Summary

34 page PDF

930.2 kB

Supporting files

Summary

Summary infographic:

Overview of Public Sector Employment in Scotland as at December 2020, Headcount

  • In December 2020, there were 573,200 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, 2.1% more than in December 2019.
  • In December 2020, there were an estimated 2,059,400 people employed in the private sector in Scotland, 0.9% fewer than in December 2019.
  • Over the year, the devolved public sector headcount increased and reserved public sector headcount decreased. Devolved public corporations saw the largest percentage increase, 59.6%, while other reserved public sector saw the largest percentage decrease, -9.3%.
  • 518,700 were employed in the devolved public sector in December 2020, 2.7% more than in December 2019.
  • Local Government and the NHS employ the most employees in the devolved public sector.
  • In December 2020, in the devolved public sector, there were 254,000 people employed in Local Government, 172,600 employed in the NHS, 28,200 employed in Police and Fire, 21,600 employed in the Civil Service, 15,600 employed in Other Public Bodies, 14,000 employed in Public Corporations and 13,400 employed in Further Education Colleges.
  • Between December 2019 and December 2020, devolved public sector employment increased in Local Government by 0.8%, NHS by 4.0%, Police and Fire by 0.4%, Civil Service by 4.7% and Public Corporations by 59.6%. Employment decreased in Other Public Bodies by -2.1% and in Further Education Colleges by -6.0%.
  • 54,600 people in the public sector were employed in the reserved public sector in Scotland in December 2020, 3.1% less than in December 2019.    
  • In December 2020, in the reserved public sector, there were 24,600 people employed in Civil Service, 20,200 employed in Other Public Sector, and 9,800 employed in the Armed Forces.
  • Between December 2019 and December 2020, employment within the reserved public sector increased in the Armed Forces by 1.3% and in the Civil Service by 0.9%. Employment in Other Public Sector decreased by -9.3%.

Key points (based on headcount data) include:

  • In December 2020, there were 573,200 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, accounting for 21.8% of total employment.
  • In December 2020, employment in the public sector was 11,970 more than in December 2019.
  • When major reclassifications are excluded, the public sector increased between December 2019 and December 2020 by around 9,000 (1.6%)[1].
  • Of the total 573,200 people employed in the public sector in Scotland, 518,700 (90.5%) were employed in the devolved public sector in December 2020, 13,690 (2.7%) more than in December 2019.
  • Between December 2019 and December 2020, employment in the devolved public sector increased in the NHS by 6,670 (4.0%), in Public Corporations by 5,040 (59.6%), in the Civil Service by 960 (4.7%), in Local Government by 2,100 (0.8%) and in Police and Fire Related Services by 100 (0.4%). Employment in the devolved public sector decreased in Further Education Colleges by -850 (-6.0%) and Other Public Bodies by -330 (-2.1%).
  • In December 2020, 54,600 (9.5%) people in the public sector were employed in the reserved public sector in Scotland, 1,720 (3.1%) less than in December 2019.
  • Between December 2019 and December 2020, employment within the reserved public sector increased in the Armed Forces by 130 (1.3%) and in the Civil Service by 230 (0.9%), and decreased in Other Public Sector by -2,080 (-9.3%).

About this publication

Major Reclassifications

The estimates of public and private sector employment published in this quarter's release have been impacted by the reclassification of Train Operating Companies operating under Emergency Measure Agreements, which were included in the private sector until March 2020. Having been reclassified to the public sector on 1 April 2020, they are included in estimates of public sector employment from Q2 2020 onwards. This reclassification is split across the reserved and devolved public sector.

An outline of other major reclassifications which have taken place in the Scottish public sector since 2013 are outlined here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/classifications/

A separate public sector series excluding the effects of these 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

An outline of National Accounts classifications which have taken place in the Scottish public sector since 2015 are outlined here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/classifications/

Public Sector Employment Web section

The Public Sector Employment Web section provides additional information to this National Statistics publication:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/public-sector-employment-statistics-web-tables/

It contains detailed information including:

  • 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.

UK Comparisons

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.

Background Notes

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: https://www.gov.scot/publications/about-public-sector-employment-statistics/pages/background-notes/

Next Publication: June 2021


Contact

Email: LMStats@gov.scot