T3 – Fastest Growing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) on the Market

I’m going to share some data today because it’s the single most requested question I get in my life, professionally. Here it is:

“Tim, what ATS do you use and what ATS do you recommend?”

This got me thinking that one day people will stop asking this question, but they don’t, every month, every year, for probably the past five years! I find that fascinating, the longevity and frequency of this question.

It tells me a few of things:

  1. ATS vendors have done an awful job at positioning themselves in the market (there are an estimated 1,200 ATS systems in the world!)
  2. An average ATS system could dominate the market with some exceptional marketing.
  3. TA Leaders can’t tell the difference between ATS systems.
  4. TA Leaders have no idea how many choices they actually have to choose from.

Interesting enough another talent acquisition software, an employment branding play, Ongig, actually runs a poll (The Top 70 ATSs) and publishes the results a few times per year around the ATS market. The poll has about 3,300 participants, most in the U.S., and it’s pretty straightforward – what ATS do you use?

From this poll, they can estimate market share and growth change. Here are some of the results:

Top ATS by Marketshare:

ATS 2015 Share
Taleo 36.43%
Homegrown 11.10%
Jobvite 8.58%
Kenexa – Brassring 7.56%
iCims 6.39%
ADP 4.79%
SAP-SuccessFactors 3.72%
PeopleFluent (Formerly PeopleClick) 2.52%
Silkroad 2.27%
iRecruitment/PeopleSoft 1.74%
Ultipro 1.67%
Greenhouse 1.67%
HRDepartment 1.28%
Newton Software 0.78%
Jobscore 0.50%
Lumesse 0.50%
WorkDay 0.46%
Lever 0.46%

Top ATS by % Growth:

ATS % Increase
WorkDay 570.52%
Kronos 467.36%
HRDepartment 209.47%
ApplicantPro 209.47%
ATS OnDemand 209.47%
eRecruiting 157.89%
Cornerstone OnDemand 157.89%
Lever 123.51%
PeopleAnswers 123.51%
Ultipro (UltimateHCM) 120.38%
ADP 111.00%
HireBridge 106.31%
PCRecruiter.com 106.31%
CATS ATS 106.31%
SmartSearch 106.31%
Greenhouse 102.02%

What do these two charts tell us? 

– Taleo is dominate in the market, but not growing at the rate of most others. Taleo got that growth not by being the best ATS but because Oracle bought them and then in large organizations IT forced TA to use Taleo. Welcome to corporate politics.

– Workday must be awesome because they’re growing so fast! See the first bullet! Workday is winning huge HRIS RFPs and corporate IT is twisting some arms in TA to use the Workday recruiting platform. Workday isn’t sold a separate ATS point solution, so the only way you use is it, is if you’re the core Workday HRIS product.

– Kronos – see the bullets above! They’re not an ATS, in terms of what people think of when you think of the best ATS technology.

– Homegrown systems are always big because the ATS industry does an awful job showing us why we should pay for something we can basically build on our own. Now, the best ATSs on the market are clearly light years ahead of anything you built in-house.

– In the market share list I can basically put them into three buckets: Bucket #1 – Giant Enterprise plays with average and below average ATS technology, Bucket #2 – Super cheap SMB and Mid-market plays, bought by TA leaders who don’t really know what they’re doing; Bucket #3 – True best of breed ATS technology that should be leading the market.

It’s somewhat sad that so many giant enterprise level HRIS systems are dominating the ATS market, but it speaks to how HR and Recruiting were lead ten years ago. “We need everything to talk to each other so we can get all the data!” Yeah, you can still get that with a best of breed solution and open APIs. Too many great organizations are settling for below average technology and vanilla solutions while failing in recruiting.

This data also speaks to the fact that most ATSs today are not bought, they’re sold.  TA leaders have no idea which one to select, what the differences are, and what their choices are. So, you sell them on the fact your ATS is ‘by far’ the best one and ‘unlike’ anything else on the market. The data says different. It says that basically all of these ATSs are the same, otherwise you would see a few grab most of the market.

4 thoughts on “T3 – Fastest Growing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) on the Market

  1. Tim – Great point, especially the bit about IT pushing those big vendors. Recruiting departments would do well by going through a full software selection process that first and foremost involves determining their actual requirements. Then submitting those requirements to a set of vendors and requesting proposals. Then invite the shortlist to do two demos – one that is their standard demo and the second where you set the script (e.g. Show how a user creates a job and pushes it to social).

    Unfortunately there’s no shortcut and like you’re saying – most certainly no one-size-fits-all “best” solution. Is the “best” car on the market ideal for off roading? It’s a time-consuming process, but the rigor will pay off in terms of people actually using the system.

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