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

3. Devolved Public Sector Employment in Scotland; Headcount

(see Table 3)

Employment in the devolved public sector was 15,660 (3.0%) higher at 534,400 in December 2021 compared with 518,700 in December 2020.

The devolved public sector includes:

  • Devolved Civil Service (see section 5),
  • Local Government, covering Scottish Local Authorities, Police and Fire Services (up to Q1 2013), Valuation Joint Boards and Regional Transport Partnerships,
  • Police and Fire Services (Q2 2013 onwards),
  • NHS in Scotland,
  • Further Education Colleges,
  • Devolved Public Corporations,
  • Other Devolved Public Bodies (which covers Non-Departmental Bodies and other bodies).

Chart 3 shows the size of each group in the devolved public sector as at December 2021. Local Government and NHS employ the largest proportion of employees in the devolved public sector.

Chart 3: Breakdown of Devolved Public Sector Employment by Category as at December 2021, Headcount
tree map of devolved Public Sector Employment showing relative size of public bodies

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

Source: Public Sector Employment in Scotland, Quarter 4 2021

The increase over the year in the overall devolved public sector headcount was due to (all changes are given from December 2020 to December 2021):

  • Employment levels in the NHS increasing by 8,080 (4.7%) to 180,700[7];
  • Employment in the Devolved Civil Service increasing by 2,810 (13.0%) to 24,400 [8]; and
  • Employment in Scottish Local Government increasing by 5,560 (2.2%) to 259,000;


  • Employment in Public Corporations decreased by -140 (-1.0%) to 13,000;
  • Employment in the Police and Fire Services decreased by -140 (-0.5%) to 28,100;
  • Employment in Further Education Colleges fell by -110 (-0.9%) to 13,200; and
  • Employment in Other Public Bodies fell by -390 (-2.5%) to 15,300.
Figure 3: Percentage Change (from December 2020 to December 2021) in the Devolved Public Sector, Headcount
bar chart showing annual percentage change for Devolved Public Sector bodies



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