Today, the world of work is profoundly affected by technological change, climate change and demographic shifts, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Active public policies in the sphere of employment – employment policies – are critical in this context. This study aims to provide governments, social partners and employment practitioners with a global and long-term perspective on employment policies in different country situations, based on lessons learnt from two decades of ILO’s work on national employment policies across the globe. Employment policy processes depend on the unique circumstances of each country, and each country faces different opportunities and constraints when it comes to developing or implementing an employment policy. However, beyond this diversity, this study seeks to identify the common elements of the successes and challenges observed over the past 20 years, with a view to sharing lessons, improving the formulation and implementation of national employment policies (NEPs), and strengthening the capacity of the tripartite constituents and other NEP stakeholders to develop employment policies and effectively translate them into practical actions.