European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO)


ESCO is a multilingual classification (developed in an open IT format) of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. The European Commission decided to develop ESCO some years ago in order to map the existing “occupational profiles” in Europe with skills, competences and qualifications for all the sectors of economic activity (i.e. the kind of activities that are carried out, a description of the tasks, what they exclude, what the work context is, what the necessary and optional skills and competences are, if there are regulatory aspects to the occupational profile).27 sectors of the economy (taken from NACE) were identified to be listed in the ESCO portal, including “finance, insurance and real estate”.

The aim of ESCO is to:

  • Bridge the communication gap between the education sector and the labour market,
  • Enable online matching of people to jobs,
  • Enable mobility (cross-border exchange of data, employment services will be able to exchange job vacancies, CVs and other meaningful information across the EU),
  • Support education and training in the shift to learning outcomes (ESCO, as a standardised terminology, should make it easier to describe how occupations, skills, competences and qualifications are linked and how they interact with each other),
  • Support skills intelligence and statistics ( a basis for research, such as benchmarking and cross-country comparison)

BIPAR and its members provided feedback to the classification of the “financial chapter” when it was created, looking, in particular, at financial occupations such as insurance broker, insurance sales agent, investment adviser, credit adviser and mortgage broker. BIPAR called for better reflection of the sector specific regulation of intermediaries.

The first full version of ESCO was published in July 2017.

In spring 2019, the European Commission announced that, in order to reflect the reality of the labour market it will review ESCO and publish a new version in 2021. In summer 2019, BIPAR was contacted by the Commission as a “domain expert”, to provide specific expertise and to review the current references to the sector of insurance/ financial intermediation.

BIPAR responded to the Commission, stating amongst others that for insurance intermediation, the main category of “insurance intermediary” as defined in IDD should be mentioned in the ESCO database and that as subcategories under “intermediary”, “insurance broker” but also “insurance agent” should be mentioned. BIPAR also flagged a number of inaccurate translations.

Next steps

BIPAR will continue and follow up this review.

- June 2020 -

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