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Functional analysis

Functional analysis determines the scope of an occupation by analysing the functions, i.e. the activities expected to be performed as part of the occupation. This process allows describing the occupation, identifying the boundaries of its scope, and capturing the knowledgeskills and competences that are needed to successfully perform the functions. This information is recorded in the occupational profiles of ESCO.

Developing ESCO v1

Functional analysis was the main approach when developing ESCO v1. The development started from scratch and was not based on the terminology of ESCO v0. Together with the stakeholders, the Commission developed the occupations and the skills pillar of ESCO from the angle of the labour market. To this end, they analysed existing sources, such as studies, national, regional and sectoral classifications as well as relevant international classifications and standards, such as NACE and ISCO. Only in a second step, they complemented these sources with information extracted from learning outcome descriptions to ensure that the ESCO terminology is fit for use in the education and training sector.

Experts from different stakeholder groups and from Member States reviewed the draft occupational profiles based on their expertise and taking into account the existing sources. They made suggestions to improve the structure of ESCO and the knowledge, skills and competences listed for each occupation. The Commission finalised the ESCO contents based on this feedback. This high involvement of these stakeholders throughout the development process brought in the expertise required. It ensured that ESCO describes the reality of the labour market and is fit for use in the various economic sectors.


Carroll, G./Boutall, T. (2011): Guide to Developing National Occupational Standards