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A description in ESCO is a text field providing a short explanation of the meaning of the concept and how it should be understood. Most importantly, it clarifies its semantic boundaries. For this reason, a description is always provided for each ESCO concept. It is sometimes followed with a scope note and/or a formal definition.


  • 1 Descriptions of occupations
  • 2 Descriptions of skills and competences
  • 3 Descriptions of knowledge concepts
  • 4 General syntactic rules for the descriptions


Descriptions of occupations

The description of an occupation includes one or more of the following features:

  • the ‘mission’ of the occupation or how the occupation contributes to the achievement of the core goals of the business;


Occupation: veterinary nurse

Description: Veterinary nurses support animals undergoing veterinary treatment and give advice to veterinary clients in the promotion of animal health and disease prevention in accordance with national legislation.


  • the work context of the occupation (e.g. clinic, restaurant, construction site);


Occupation: waiter/waitress

Description: Waiters/waitresses supply guests with food and drinks as requested. Waiters/waitresses usually work in restaurants, bars and hotels. This involves the preparation of tables, serving food or beverages and taking payments.


  • an indication of the level of responsibility;


Occupation: head waiter/head waitress

Description: Head waiters/waitresses manage the food and beverage service in a hospitality outlet or unit. They are responsible for the customer's experience. Head waiters/waitresses coordinate all actions involving customers such as welcoming guests, ordering, delivering the food & beverages and supervise financial transactions.


  • the role of the occupation in relation to other occupations within the sector of economic activity;


Occupation: healthcare assistant

Description: Healthcare assistants work together in a team with registered nurses within the occupational fields of nursing, care and maintenance of people of all age-groups in all diverse acute care settings as well as in primary care environments.


Descriptions of skills and competences

The descriptions of skills and competences explain in more depth what the skill is about in line with the action verb and level of detail used in the title.


Skill: analyse health damaging behaviours

Description: Examine behaviours that may be damaging to an individual's health, such as smoking, drug abuse, or poor diet. Use psychological theories and interventions for primary prevention and health related behavioural change.


Descriptions of knowledge concepts

The descriptions of knowledge concepts explain in more depth the content of the concept.


Knowledge: geographic information systems

Description: The tools involved in geographical mapping and positioning, such as GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing).


General syntactic rules for the descriptions

The the following guidelines are applied when developing descriptions:

  1. Be as concise as possible and only as complex as necessary;
  2. Use simple expressions and short sentences;
  3. Aim at a text length between 50 and 300 characters;
  4. Do not limit the text to a simple reformulation of the label (this would be more appropriate to be added as a non-preferred term);
  5. Avoid national references (use web links for this purpose);
  6. Re-use content developed in other European initiatives and use the ones developed in your own countries as sources of inspiration;
  7. Use the same wording and patterns if related concepts are defined;
  8. Do not use underline, bold or images.