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European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO)

What is ESCO?

ESCO is a multilingual classification system covering skills, competences, qualifications and occupations.

Its common reference terminology can help make the European labour market more effective and integrated, and enable the worlds of work and education/training to communicate more effectively with each other.

ESCO is:

ESCO is a resource that supports 2 of the EU's key strategies in this field:

Whom does ESCO help?

Using a shared terminology across the sector helps the following groups:


Can document and describe their knowledge/skills/competences to match job openings more accurately.

Education/training institutions


  • use a multilingual reference terminology to describe the learning outcomes of their qualifications, thus making qualifications more transparent,
  • adapt their programmes based on feedback from the labour market,
  • work more closely with employments services and careers advisors.


Can more precisely state the skills and qualifications they expect from employees.

Online job search websites

Europe-wide recruitment databases (like EURES) can match people with jobs in all EU countries, even when CVs and vacancy notices are in different languages.

Employment services & careers advisors

Can build partnerships (especially between public and private services) and share data.

Who runs ESCO?

ESCO is managed by the Commission, who is responsible for updating the classification. It is supported by external stakeholders and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).