Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO)

ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) is the European multilingual classification of skills, competences, qualifications and occupations.

ESCO works like a dictionary, describing, identifying and classifying professional occupations and skills relevant for the EU labour market and education and training area and systematically showing the relations between those occupations and skills. It is available in an online portal where its dataset of occupations and skills can be consulted and downloaded free of charge.

Its common reference terminology helps make the European labour market more effective and integrated, and allows 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:


Using a shared terminology across sectors helps the following groups:


Jobseekers can document and describe their knowledge, skills, and competences to match job openings more accurately.

Education/training institutions

Education and training institutions are able to:

  • 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 employment services and career advisors.


Employers are able to 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 job vacancies are in different languages.

Employment services & careers advisors

Employment services and career advisors can build partnerships (especially between public and private employment 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.

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