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European Initiatives

ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) is a European Commission initiative, run by Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) that put in place the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences and Occupations. The main aim of the initiative is to support job mobility across Europe and hence to make labour market more integrated and efficient. EPSO does that by offering a 'common language' on occupations and skills that can be used by different stakeholders on employment and education and training topics.

ESCO works as a dictionary, describing, identifying and classifying professional occupations and skills relevant for the EU labour market and education and training. Those concepts and the relationships between them can be understood by electronic systems, which allows different online platforms to use ESCO for services like matching jobseekers to jobs on the basis of their skills, suggesting trainings to people who want to reskill or upskill etc.

ESCO concepts and descriptions can help people to understand:

  • what knowledge and skills are usually required when working in a specific occupation.
  • what knowledge, skills and competences are obtained as a result of a specific qualification.
  • what qualifications are demanded or often requested by employers from those searching for work in a specific occupation.

ESCO provides descriptions of 2942 occupations and 13.485 skills linked to these occupations, translated into 27 languages (all official EU languages plus Icelandic, Norwegian and Arabic), thus providing a huge range of information to citizens across Europe.

Initiative Details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Generic programmes and qualifications not further defined
Personal skills and development
Work skills
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative