Find here key and commonly used skills-related terms and concepts with their definitions.


Foreign language skills (multilingualism)

Ability to read, write and communicate in a language different from the native language

Foresights (skills foresight studies)

Foresights are a method of qualitative analysis, also using scenario development exercises based on expert opinion (including setting up ‘observatories’, focus groups, round tables and other Delphi-style methods, to reach a consensus view) to analyse skills trends in the economy, particular sectors and/or occupations in the current situation and future

Gap (skills gap)

Situation where the type of skills of people do not match the requirements of the job or the level of skills is less than the level required to perform the tasks associated with the job satisfactorily

Governance of skills anticipation and matching system

Governance of a skills anticipation and matching system refers to the process of involvement of stakeholders from the public, private and third sector, and from different economic sectors and geographical units, in generating, transmitting and using skills intelligence for implementing and steering education and training policies. It is comprised of formal or ad hoc institutional bodies, incentive and financing structures and other procedures in place for steering education and training provision and assuring the quality of training in accordance with available skills intelligence. It comprises a negotiation perspective, which represents the needs of the education system and of the labour market from a short-term, medium-term and long-term perspective. The governance system covers a wide range of issues related to skills anticipation and matching, including skill needs at the entry point into the labour market; the utilisation of workers’ skills in the labour market; and future skill supply and skill demand trends to support the transformation of the labour market and the employability of the workforce in a life cycle perspective. 

Human capital

Knowledge, skills, competences and attributes of individuals that facilitate personal, social and economic well-being


Data element that represents statistical data for a specified time, place, or other characteristics

ISCED – International Standard Classification of Education

A set of common criteria suitable for compiling statistics on education at an international level. The levels are defined as follows: ■ Level 0 – Pre-primary education ■ Level 1 – Primary education or first stage of basic education ■ Level 2 – Lower secondary or second stage of basic education ■ Level 3 – (Upper) secondary education ■ Level 4 – Post-secondary non-tertiary education ■ Level 5 – First stage of tertiary education ■ Level 6 – Second stage of tertiary education In the EU Skills Panorama indicators where the ISCED classification is available, the ISCED levels have been grouped as follows: ■ Levels 0-2 ■ Levels 3-4 ■ Levels 5-6 For more information see:

ISCO – International Standard Classification of Occupations

The ISCO is one of the main international classifications of occupations. It is a tool for organising occupations into a clearly defined set of groups, according to the tasks and duties undertaken in the job. The current ISCO version is ISCO-08 and it consists of ten major occupational groupings (which are sub-divided into further occupational groups): ■ Armed forces ■ Managers ■ Professionals ■ Technicians and associate professionals ■ Clerical support workers ■ Service and sales workers ■ Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers ■ Craft and related trades workers ■ Plant and machine operators and assemblers ■ Elementary occupations For more information see

Job-specific skills

Particular or specialised skills necessary to do a particular job

Knowledge-intensive jobs

Jobs requiring access to and the use of large quantities of knowledge (as opposed to labour intensive jobs)

Labour market and skills intelligence (LMSI)

Information on current and future labour market trends and skills needs.

Labour market information systems

Systems, mechanisms or processes for gathering, organising, providing and analysing information about the state of the labour market, occupations and jobs, including key changes taking place within the employment, jobs and the occupations (see Anticipation)

Lifelong learning

Learning throughout the life of an individual and relates to different levels of education and training – early childhood, school, higher, vocational and adult education


Literacy is defined as the ability to identify, understand, evaluate, interpret, create, communicate using printed, digital and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, to think critically and to participate fully in their community and wider society (see Numeracy)

Mismatch (skills mismatch)

Situation in the labour market where the level of skills of individuals does not match the level of skills required in the jobs (see GapOverskillingUnderskillingOverqualificationUnderqualification). Mismatches could be vertical (when the level of skills or education is more or less than the level of skills or education required to perform a job), horizontal (when the type of education or skills is not appropriate for the current job, but the level of education or skills matches the requirements of the job) or geographical (where the workers with types and levels of skills or education required are based in a country or region different from where such skills are needed).