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Public Sector Employment In Scotland Statistics For 4th Quarter 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 2021.

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 16,330 (up 2.8%) between December 2020 and December 2021. This increase in public sector employment is mainly due to an increase in the devolved public sector.

The public sector is defined according to the UK National Accounts Classifications Guide

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

Figure 1: Public and Private [4] Sector Employment in Scotland as at December 2021
infographic of number of people employed in Public Sector and Private Sector by headcount

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 4 2021

Chart 1: Public Sector Employment in Scotland between December 1999 and December 2021, Headcount, non-seasonally adjusted
time series of Public Sector Employment headcount in Scotland, December 1999 to December 2021

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 4 2021

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 reclassifications5 (i.e. taking out the headcounts for all large organisations listed in footnote 3 from the overall numbers), the number of people employed in the public sector gradually reached a peak in Q2 2006, decreased until 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 the series has continued to rise from Q4 2018 onwards.

Chart 2 shows the annual change in employment for the public sector. Employment increased by 16,330 (2.8%) between December 2020 and December 2021, driven mainly by increases in the devolved public sector headcount. The devolved public sector headcount has risen due to increases in the NHS, local government and the devolved Civil Service.

The annual changes in Chart 2 prior to Q2 2021 show the effect of the inclusion of several Train Operating Companies (TOCs) within the public sector from 1st April 2020 onwards alongside increases in the NHS, local government and devolved Civil Service.

Chart 2: Annual Change in Employment for Public Sector, Headcount
bar chart of annual change in Public Sector Employment headcount quarters Q1 2021 to Q4 2021

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 4 2021

Impact of Excluding Major Reclassifications from Public Sector

If the major reclassifications[5] were to be excluded from the public sector series (i.e. the headcounts for all large organisations listed in footnote 5 were taken out of the overall numbers), there would be around 571,000 people employed in the public sector in December 2021. This was 21.6% of the total employment in Scotland compared with 22.3% if major reclassifications are included.

Public sector employment, excluding the effects of the major reclassifications, would be around 16,000 (2.9%) higher in December 2021 compared with December 2020. This shows that the increase over the year is due to increases in substantive public sector organisations.

Contact

Email: LMStats@gov.scot

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