In 2020 there were 5.5 million public sector workers in the UK, representing 16.7% of all people in employment. 32% worked for the NHS, 27% worked in education, and 19% worked in public administration.

The number of people employed in the public sector increased by 115,000 from 2019. The number was 926,000 or 14.4% lower than 2010, in part owing to organisations being reclassified from the public to the private sector. Excluding the effect of these reclassifications, public sector employment decreased by 215,000 or 3.8% in this period.

Northern Ireland had the highest share of workers employed in the public sector of all UK countries and regions in June 2020 (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 (750,000).

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 attached.

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