Public sector employment

Austerity has led to a big cut in public sector employment, which has fallen to 5.4 million people – the lowest number since the current system of measurement was adopted in 1999.  The figure represents 4.4 million positions on a full time equivalent basis.


Public sector employment reached its peak in 2009, with 6.3 million employees.


Central government (including academy schools) employs 2.8 million people.


Local government (including other schools and police) employs 2.4 million people.


Public corporations (including RBS since 2008) employ 187,000 people.


In the last year alone, public sector employment has fallen by 282,000, in a period when private sector employment rose by more than a million.


The reduction in public sector employment levels has been achieved not just through job cuts, but also through the reclassification of some employment from the public to the private sector.  Without sector reclassification, public sector employment would have fallen by 12,000 in the last year.


Royal Mail and Lloyds Bank were both reclassified in the last year as private sector following share issues.  Further education colleges were reclassified as in the private sector in 2012.


Teachers’ employment has moved from being treated as part of local government to being included in central government as schools have gained academy status.  Some 58,000 people were consequently reclassified in the last year from local to central government.

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