One of the most pressing threats related to labor transformation is precariatization. It creates negative effects of diverse nature: economic, social, cultural, etc. Loss of stability generally has a negative impact on the quality of working life, especially on decent work and organization of its process. A relatively new phenomenon known as “precarious work” has formed, affecting both traditional and modern forms of labor relations. The vagueness and uncertainty of the current conceptual framework mean that a theoretical understanding is required for the categories “employment precariatization” as a process and “precarious work” as a result of this process. The study is based on the works of Russian and foreign scientists focusing on the precariatization, transformations in the sphere of social and labor relations, precarious work. In order to achieve the objective, we have used methods of comparative analysis, synthesis, summarization and scientific abstraction. The article focuses on retrospective analysis of the phenomenon of employment precariatization, justifying the increasing interest in the phenomenon in the public domain. We have revealed that despite the existence of a significant number of publications on the topic of employment precariatization, the concept itself is rarely defined in foreign literature. The emphasis in these studies is on destandardization of labor relations and the workers' vulnerability. Analysis of Russian-language literature allowed to identify three approaches to interpreting the essence of employment precariatization focusing on the evolution of nonstandard employment, its negative consequences and profound changes in the employment sector. We have considered the scope of the category “precarious work” within the framework of broad and narrow approaches. In the first case, this phenomenon is justified in terms of diverse negative effects on employees, regardless of the form of employment, and in the second, from the standpoint of atypical employment with low levels of social protection. Analysis of Russian and foreign literature showed a lack of consensus regarding the interpretation of the concepts "employment precariatization" and "precarious work". Due to this, based on the principle of universality, we have described our views on the essence of the phenomena considered in the context of transformation processes in the sphere of social and labor relations.