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The Employment Policy Department’s 2011 annual retreat took place between the 20th and 23rd of September at the ILO premises in Geneva. Opened to ILO staff outside the Department, its goal was to share knowledge on progress made in five key work areas of the department: pro-employment macroeconomic frameworks, youth employment, sectoral strategies for employment creation, national employment policy formulation and research frontiers on the informal economy. A total of approximately 60 participants, representing the ILO (HQ and field) and external experts were successful in conducting vibrant discussions in all five thematic areas. These and the knowledge generated during the retreat are summarized in the report. Key lessons emerge for improving the Employment Policy Department’s technical advisory services on employment, for translating research findings into policy advice and for improving collaboration between headquarters and field colleagues. Ideas and suggestions were generated both for future research and tool development and for the finalisation of this biennium’s global products: (1) the handbook on employment targeting (2) the national employment policy guide (3) the guide for employment impact assessment of infrastructure investments and (4) the resource guide on the informal economy.