Scottish Government workforce information 2016

Statistics on the Scottish Government’s workforce for each quarter from 2012 up to the most recent quarter at the end of 2016.

2. Scottish Government workforce numbers

Full time equivalent ( FTE) numbers of directly employed staff

2.1 The full time equivalent ( FTE) measure accounts for differences in working hours within the Scottish Government, as part-time working or job-sharing is available to suit personal circumstances. More information on how this is calculated is available in Annex B. Descriptions of worker categories along with classifications as permanent or temporary, are listed in Annex C.

2.2 At the end of December 2016, there were 5,149 FTE directly employed staff in Scottish Government core directorates. Of these, 4,989 were permanent staff (97 per cent) and 160 were temporary staff (3 per cent) ( Table 1, Chart 1). The number of directly employed staff has increased by 29 FTE staff from 5,120 in December 2015. The percentage of workers that are temporary has remained low. Although, there was an increase in 2015, this has now returned to levels previously seen in 2012.

2.3 There has been a 7 per cent increase in the number of directly employed staff from the low point of September 2012 to the December 2016 total ( Table 1, Chart 1). This reflects the changing nature of the work of the Scottish Government. Key change projects have resulted in the need for additional staff, often specialised in nature, to be recruited. Recent examples include:

  • work to strengthen the Scottish Government's digital capability, including the new Digital Transformation Service, which operates as a shared service capability across Scottish Government and other public bodies
  • implementing a new Common Agriculture Policy IT system
  • preparing for the creation of a social security agency following the devolution of new powers under the Scotland Act 2016.

Contingent worker headcounts

2.4 At the end of December 2016, the total headcount of contingent workers engaged by the Scottish Government was 992 ( Table 2, Chart 2). This is a net decrease of 50 contingent workers from 1,042 at the end of December 2015. Contractors (48.0 per cent, December 2016) are the biggest group of contingent workers.

2.5 The longer trend for contingent workers indicates that the number more than doubled from 646 in March 2012 to 1,354 at the end of December 2014, with most of the increase during 2014 ( Table 2). This was mostly driven by an increase in the numbers of contractor staff. The headcount then fell in 2015 and 2016, mostly due to contractors completing their assignments.

2.6 Contractors are typically brought in under a service contract which has been awarded to an organisation to deliver a specific product. This has been the largest category of temporary workers since the end of 2013. The numbers of contractor staff increased steadily during 2012 and 2013. In 2014 the headcount of contractors then increased significantly, from 223 at the end of December 2013, to 659 at the end of December 2014 ( Table 2). The headcount of contractors then began to decreased and was 476 at the end of December 2016, which is 183 lower than the high point of December 2014.

2.7 A data cleansing exercise during February and March 2015, removed around 150 out of date records for non-directly employed workers from the HR system, which partially explains the relatively large decrease at this time.

Chart 1. FTE of directly employed staff

Chart 1. FTE of directly employed staff

Chart 2. Headcount of contingent workers

Chart 2. Headcount of contingent workers

Note that UK Civil Service Fast Stream are excluded due to small numbers.


Email: Shona Rennie

Back to top