The skills pillar is one of the three pillars of ESCO.
Knowledge, skills and competences
In the skills pillar, ESCO distinguishes between i) skill/competence concepts and ii) knowledge concepts by indicating the skill type. There is however no distinction between skills and competences recorded in the ESCO skills pillar.
Content of the skills pillar
ESCO v1 contains about 13,500 knowledge, skills and competence concepts. Each of these concept comes with one preferred term and any number of non-preferred terms and hidden terms in each of the ESCO languages. It also includes an explanation of the concept in the form of description, scope note and definition.
The following list provides an overview of the metadata for ESCO knowledge, skill and competence concepts and relationships to other ESCO pillars:
- Preferred term
- Non-preferred terms
- Hidden terms
- Formal definition
- Scope note
- Skill type (knowledge or skill/competence)
- Skill reusability level
- Occupations for which the knowledge, skill or competence is essential
- Occupations for which the knowledge, skill or competence is optional
Structure of the skills pillar
The skills pillar of ESCO does not contain a full hierarchical structure. The 13,500 elements of the skills pillar are however structured in four different manners:
- Through their relationship with occupations, i.e. by using occupational profiles as entry point;
- In the part of the transversal knowledge, skills and competences through a skills hierarchy;
- Through relationships indicating how knowledge, skills and competences are relevant to other knowledge, skills and competences (in particular in cases of skill contextualisation);
- Through functional collections that allow to select subsets of the skills pillar.
Covering certain user needs requires the improvement of ESCO's current structure. Such user needs would include searching for specific skills, doing semantic search, filtering search results, clustering skills in groups (e.g. language skills, digital skills or management skills) to work at a more aggregated level, identifying related concepts, identifying concepts of a specific interest for the user, using only part-subset of the classification, getting statistics etc. To address this need, the ESCO team developed and carried out a pilot to arrive at a structure of the ESCO skills pillar that would better serve such functionalities.
In the context of a pilot on the skills hierarchy, the ESCO team tested various approaches to structure further the ESCO skills and assess how well those approaches can support the user needs described above.