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ESCO in statistics

The importance of labour market statistics

Labour market statistics aim at collecting, organising, analysing and presenting data on jobseekers, employers, job vacancies, recruitment outcomes and other variables. They can be used for various purposes, for example:

  • policymakers can use them to better understand labour market dynamics and react to them;
  • employers can use them to optimise their recruitment activities;
  • jobseekers can use them to make better career decisions;
  • education and training institutions can use them to adapt curricula to the needs of the labour market.

Statistical offices, employment services, research institutions and other actors collect labour market data on an ongoing basis. In order to collect this data in a consistent way and facilitate its analysis, they rely on agreed definitions of the concepts under scrutiny. These usually take the form of classification systems.

Recently, real-time labour market intelligence based on big data analyses gained in importance.


Classification systems and ISCO-08

Using widely accepted and used classification systems to collect and analyse data allows comparability of statistics developed by different actors. Statisticians in most Member States use the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO), developed by the International Labour Organisation to collect labour market data. This allows comparison and exchange of statistical and administrative data about occupations.

The mapping between ESCO and ISCO-08 is of significant value for the Member States, since it implies that more data and knowledge becomes available for ISCO-08 based reporting. Since ESCO has defined the occupations on a more granular level than ISCO, i.e. depending on the needs of the labour market, statisticians can report the data even on the more granular level. Since ESCO classifies the occupation concepts under the appropriate ISCO unit group, this added precision still supports the ISCO-08 comparability.

ESCO supports statistical reporting

ESCO occupations are mapped to the lowest level of ISCO-08.

Occupation hierarchy in ESCO using ISCO-08

This helps statisticians to:

  • identify the ISCO unit group that the occupation belongs to
  • collect labour market data at a level of detail that is closer to the terminology of the European labour market