ESCO is the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. ESCO is part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The Commission services launched the project in 2010 with an open stakeholder consultation. DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion – supported by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training Cedefop – coordinates the development of ESCO. Stakeholders are closely involved in the development and dissemination of ESCO.

Between ESCO v0 and ESCO v1, the content of the classification has been entirely re-developed. The work took from 2011 until 2017.

ESCO v1 is the first full-scale ESCO version.

Different from the previous ESCO versions which have versioning numbers starting with 0 (zero), it is not only recommended for piloting and testing, but also for systems in production that deliver services to end users. As of this version, a  versioning mechanism will keep track of changes in ESCO.

ESCO v1 follows the three pillar approach. It will contain around 3,000 occupations, 13,500 knowledge, skill and competence concepts and a framework for the qualifications pillar. ESCO v1 wil be available in 26 languages.

The ESCO v1 data has been developed following two approaches:

The Cross-sector Reference Group has supported the horizontal development of the classification throughout the whole process.

ESCO has been developed in an open IT format, is available for use free of charge by everyone and can be accessed via the ESCO portal.

Skills and Competencies

The ESCO classification identifies and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the EU labour market and education and training. It systematically shows the relationships between the different concepts.

ESCO can be used to provide different services in several business cases.
1 Bridging the communication gap between education and work
2 Online matching of people to jobs
3 Enabling mobility
4 Supporting education and training in the shift to learning outcomes
5 Supporting skills intelligence and statistics


ESCO Online Consultation

on skills in the transport sector launched

The online consultation of experts is a cost- and time-efficient process of collecting comments by stakeholders through an online platform. The ESCO online consultation platform allows them to browse through a draft new version of the classification and to provide feedback directly at the specific concepts (occupationsknowledgeskills or competences) that are displayed in the platform. Due to this feature, the feedback is already organised according to the structure of the classification, which saves time and effort of the knowledge engineers.

The Commission organised an expert consultation in two phases, when preparing ESCO v1. While a part of the classification was developed by sectoral Reference Groups, the majority of occupational profiles were reviewed by stakeholders as part of this online consultation.

Discover ESCO

in practice

ESCO in practice

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