Public Sector Employment in Scotland Statistics for 4th Quarter 2022

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 2022.

This document is part of 2 collections

3. Devolved Public Sector Employment in Scotland; Headcount

(see Table 3)

The devolved public sector includes:

  • Devolved Civil Service
  • 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).

Employment in the devolved public sector was 538,700 in December 2022. This is 5,380 (1.0%) higher than in December 2021.

There was a large increase in devolved Civil Service by 3,100 (12.7%) when compared to December 2021. This increase is mainly due to increases in staffing at Social Security Scotland and in Scottish Government Core Departments.

Chart 3 shows the size of each group in the devolved public sector as at December 2022. 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 2022, Headcount
Chart 3. 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 2022

The increase over the year in the devolved public sector headcount was due to the following changes (changes are given from December 2021 to December 2022):

  • employment in the devolved Civil Service increased by 3,100 (12.7%) to 27,500[8]
  • employment in Local Government increased by 2,490 (1.0%) to 261,000
  • employment in Other Public Bodies increased by 360 (2.4%) to 15,600
  • employment in Public Corporations increased by 330 (2.5%) to 14,000


  • employment in Police and Fire Related Services decreased by 420 (-1.5%) to 27,600
  • employment in the NHS decreased by 300 (-0.2%) to 180,400 [9]
  • employment in Further Education colleges decreased by 190 (-1.5%) to 13,100
Figure 3: Percentage Change (from December 2021 to December 2022) in the Devolved Public Sector, Headcount
Figure 3. bar chart showing annual percentage change for Devolved Public Sector bodies



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