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In 2019 there were 5.4 million public sector workers in the UK, representing 16.5% of all people in employment.

65% of public sector workers are female compared to 42% in the private sector. 88% of public sector workers report they are white, while 12% report another ethnic background.

The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 1 million, or 15.9% between 2010 and 2019, in part owing to organisations being reclassified from the public to the private sector (see box below). Excluding the effect of these reclassifications, public sector employment decreased by 309,000 or 5.5% in this period.

Northern Ireland had the highest share of workers employed in the public sector of all UK countries and regions in June 2019 (25%).

London had the lowest share of workers employed in the public sector (14%). However, because the total number of people working in London is higher than for other regions, London still had the highest number of public sector workers of any region (732,000).

Estimates for public sector employment by constituency are available from the Office for National Statistics’ Business Register and Employment Survey and are provided in the spreadsheet below.

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