Welcome to the Comparative Perspectives Database

The Comparative Perspectives on Precarious Employment Database (CPD) brings together a library of relevant sources, unique user-friendly statistical tables, and a thesaurus of concepts – designed to facilitate research on labour market insecurity in a comparative industrialized context.  Users can analyze multidimensional tables to explore and compare the contours of precarious employment in thirty-three countries, including Australia, Canada, the United States, twenty-seven European Union (EU) member countries and three non-European Union member countries.

The CPD is designed for experts and novices, and can be used as an interactive classroom teaching tool. To fully apprehend its orientation, users are encouraged to consult the director’s introduction to the CPD prior to using its resources.

This is a living database. The module content, library and thesaurus resource tools, and the statistics database are frequently updated. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement (cpd@yorku.ca).


The introduction provides basic information on the CPD’s conceptual approach to precarious employment in a comparative perspective, an explanation of CPD methodology, and an outline of the design principles behind the creation of harmonized variables used in the statistical tables.  These principles are further developed and demonstrated in three interactive modules: forms of precarious employment, temporal and spatial dynamics, and health and social care.


The CPD is composed of the three integrated and interactive modules. These modules represent different entry points into the study of employment.

forms of precarious employment
temporal and spatial dynamics
health and social care


The CPD library provides access to a wide range of resources including research papers, books, book chapters, journal articles, statistical tables and government publications. All of these items have been selected by leading experts, and are intended to help users to explore their research question through a feminist political economy lens, to apply feminist methodology, and to learn subject-specific language.

library tutorial
The library tutorial introduces users to the CPD library and the search functions of the database.

library database
This searchable database allows for searching by author
, title, subject, module, and thesaurus keyword terms.


Serving as a bridge between the library and statistical components, the thesaurus identifies core concepts derived from scholarship on precarious employment. The CPD thesaurus provides a controlled vocabulary developed specifically for the CPD which should be used when searching the library database.

thesaurus tutorial
The thesaurus tutorial explains how to use the thesaurus tool, what a controlled vocabulary is, and how to understand the thesaurus search results.

thesaurus database
Search the CPD’s thesaurus to find key concepts, equivalent terms, semantic relationships, and library subject headings.


The cross-national comparative statistical tables populating the CPD enable researchers to focus on aspects of precarious employment in relation to the three modules: forms of precarious employment, temporal and spatial dynamics, and health and social care. The database can be used to obtain basic information on a topic (e.g., cross-national comparisons of women’s labour force participation) or to examine complex social relations (e.g., gendered precariousness in different countries). The statistical tables are displayed in a Beyond 20/20 format, enabling users to manipulate the data. University and community users conducting research for non-commercial purposes and teaching may access the statistical data.

statistics tutorial
The statistics tutorial explains how to use and manipulate the statistical tables using the Beyond 20/20 program, how to approach statistical data, and how to get the most out of the data available on the CPD.

apply for statistics access
Although the CPD aims to be accessible, its statistical data is not available for full public use. There are eligibility requirements, and rules regarding how the CPD’s content and data are to be cited.

cpd harmonization documents
In building the CPD, experts created a harmonized codebook + data dictionary (i.e., a comprehensive dictionary outlining the surveys and data used to build harmonized indicators and construct statistical tables) and other documents providing variable information.

statistics database
Registered users may use the statistical database to access interactive, multidimensional statistical tables that can be manipulated using Beyond 20/20.


The gender & work database (GWD) is a sister site to the CPD.  There are six modules in the GWD on: precarious employment, health care, unions, migration, unpaid work, and technology.  The original site was launched in 2004 and was updated with new data to 2010 and module demonstrations in 2014.