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ESCO: European Classification of Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations
What is ESCO?

ESCO is the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. It identifies and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the EU labour market and education and training, in 25 European languages. The system provides occupational profiles showing the relationships between occupations, skills, competences and qualifications. ESCO has been developed in an open IT format, is available for use free of charge by everyone and can be accessed through an online portal.
Why ESCO?
To help bridge the gap between the world of education and training and the labour market, the European Commission is developing ESCO. By introducing a standard terminology for occupations, skills, competences and qualifications, ESCO can help education and training systems and the labour market to better identify and manage the availability of required skills, competences and qualifications. Its multilingual character facilitates increased international transparency and cooperation in the area of skills and qualifications.
The financial crisis has hit labour markets throughout the European Union. In June 2013 the overall unemployment rate in the EU stood at 11 %, while youth unemployment rose to more than 23 % and reached more than 55 % in some member states.
In spite of high levels of unemployment, there is strong evidence of skills bottlenecks and mismatches within certain regions and sectors such as the green economy, ICT and healthcare. A globalised economy increases competition not only in relation to labour costs but also in relation to the skills of the workforce. Europe cannot afford to leave skills potential unused.
Getting people into work requires tackling skill shortages and mismatches. Workers need training to meet the needs of the labour market and job matching services need to make the most of available employment opportunities. However, education provides people with qualifications that differ between Member States. Qualifications do not always keep pace with the evolution of knowledge, skills and competences needed by the labour market. Employment services do not share the same IT and classification systems to manage information on the supply and demand of jobs.
What can ESCO do?
» Facilitate the dialogue between the labour market and the education/training sector
» Allow employment services to exchange relevant labour market information across borders
» Boost online and skill-based job matching
» Facilitate geographical and occupational mobility through semantic interoperability
» Help employment services in the shift towards a skills and competence-oriented approach
» Help describe qualifications in terms of knowledge, skills and competence
» Enable the development of innovative career guidance services » Help describe learning outcomes acquired in non-formal settings, thus facilitates their validation
» Ultimately: getting more people into jobs throughout Europe.
The very first version of ESCO (Version 0) is already available free of charge to European citizens (find the link in info box on this page). This version will be regularly updated, culminating in ESCO Version 1, with a full revision for all economic sectors expected in 2017. The Europass Network is currently working on the integration of the ESCO Occupations and the ESCO terminology in the Europass CV online tool. In future, the users of the Europass CV will be able to utilise, if they so wish, the pre-defined list of ESCO terminology available in 25 languages while completing their CV. This functionality will allow the users to better match their CV descriptions with the world of work and to use this information for online job matching and other services. Télécharger la newsletter.