Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2022 Workforce Data

05 Sep 2023

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) today published Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2022 Workforce Data.


This is the 15th workforce data report published by the SSSC and the 12th set of Official Statistics. The report combines administrative data from the Care Inspectorate with data collected by the SSSC directly from local authorities to form a comprehensive picture of the paid workforce employed in the social service sector in Scotland at the end of 2022. 

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Revision note 06 September 2023: There was an error noted in the version of this report published on 05 September 2023 in Table 6. The data in this table for the private and public sectors had been erroneously transposed leading to an anomaly between the individual elements, the column headers and the national totals. The main report and the data tables (xlsx, csv and ods) were corrected and republished on 06 September 2023.

Revision note 20 November 2023: In developing and quality assuring our processes ahead of our work on the 2023 workforce data report our analysis processes were reviewed and an anomaly was detected. It was found that when calculating some of the percentage rates on the characteristics of the workforce (e.g. ethnicity, gender, disability etc.) an incomplete version of the data set was used. This has resulted in the need to revise some of the data tables to correct these errors in the published report. A full list of the affected tables can be found in the revision announcement here.

Revision note 27 November 2023: Further to the revision notice published on 20th November 2023, the following additional tables were revised on 27th November 2023.

Table 27: Estimated number of nurses by sub-sector and employer type, 2022
Table 28. Estimated number of teachers by sub-sector and employer type, 2022
Table 30: Response rates by sub-sector, 2022

This report provides an overview of the data at a national level and, where possible, also provides data sub-divided by sub-sector or local authority area. The format of the report mainly follows the SSSC’s previous workforce data reports for 2008-2021.

Key points

  • The size of the workforce rose slightly to 211,510, an increase of 1.5% since 2021. The social service workforce makes up approximately 7.8% of all Scottish employment.
  • This increase has been driven mainly by increases in the housing support/care at home, day care of children and nurse agency sub-sectors.
  • The whole time equivalent (WTE) measure of the workforce is 160,960, an increase of 1.1% since 2021.
  • The stability index of the workforce is 75.5%. This means just over three-quarters of the workforce remained in the same post from the previous year.
  • The largest employer type differs between local authority areas, with services in Orkney, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan Siar (the three island authorities) provided mainly by the public sector. However, in most areas the private sector is the largest employer.
  • The three largest sub-sectors are housing support/care at home, care homes for adults and day care of children; together these account for almost 79% of the workforce.
  • The median age of the workforce is highest in the public sector (46) and lowest in the private sector (40). Staff working in early years services in the private sector have the lowest median age (28).
  • The percentage of men working in the sector is 15%, although it is around double or greater that proportion in criminal justice social work and residential children’s services.
  • The workforce is mainly employed on permanent contracts (82%).
  • The median figure for the typical weekly hours worked by staff is 33 and 53% of the workforce work full time (more than 30 hours per week)  

As an Official Statistics product, this publication complies with the Pre-Release Access to Official Statistics (Scotland) Order 2008. The list of people who have pre-release access can be found here.

The tables and charts in this report are available in Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods) format, plus all the report's data tables in non-proprietary Comma Separated Values (CSV) format. The CSV files are provided together in a compressed ZIP file. The provision of the data in these formats is intended to facilitate its analysis and re-use.

Description File type File size (kB)  
All tables .xlsx  78  Download
All tables .ods  40  Download
All tables (compressed .csv files) .zip  21  Download
All charts (compressed) .zip  2,431  Download


Also available for download is the blank survey template used by local authority social work survey respondents to submit their data for December 2022.

More detailed tables giving a breakdown of the number of people working in all sub-sectors and employer types within individual local authority areas will be published in our detailed data section in the coming months