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ATS Market Basics

(February 03, 2004) - We've recently spent an enormous amount of time evaluating the dynamics of the ATS market. With at least 100 firms competing for a piece of the pie, it usually comes as a surprise to newcomers that the pure ATS market is only worth between $250M and $500M (depending on which year and how you count). For such a tiny bit of money, an outside observer would have to wonder "what's the fuss?"

There are a couple of key dynamics that keep the marketplace vital and fractured.

Most importantly, the way that recruiting is executed varies widely between companies. There are observable patterns in recruiting that are driven by company size, industry, management style, growth rates, economic conditions, local labor markets, and types of candidates. It is unlikely that two firms located next to each other will use the same techniques for building their workforce.

The role of the "Recruiter" ranges from Strategic Partner to Decision Support. It changes based on the aspect of the organization (Core Group, Artists, Workforce). In sophisticated companies, the Recruiter looks like a Marketing person. In other operations, glorified administrative assistant is closer. Although profit motivation and terms of employment cause some process variations (in third party shops in particular), it's easier to understand that "the higher the profit motive, the lower the quality in the toolset."

It's easy to get started in the ATS business. After all, this is neither rocket science not brain surgery. Most ATS implementations are nothing more than databases that try to capture all or most of the data in a firm's Human Capital Acquisition process. This boils down to applications, resumes, correspondence and the various logistical tasks involved in coordinating meetings and decision making. The apparent simplicity of the problem means that there will always be a low priced entrant.

Finally, the size and complexity of an account is largely responsible for the costs of installing and utilizing an ATS system. Vendors tend to cluster around certain account sizes and niche specialties. In general, those clusters are:

  • Enterprise accounts (have a formal IT department and more than 1,000 employees)
  • Medium sized Businesses
  • Small Business Accounts
  • Large Staffing Firms (Temp or Temp and Permanent, Billing Functions)
  • Small Staffing Firms (or Franchise Branches, Some Billing Capability)
  • Large Search Firms
  • Small Search Firms

John Sumser

Previous Articles on the ATS Market Basics Series:
     ATS Market Basics
     ATS Market Basics II
     ATS Market Basics III
     ATS Market Basics IV
     ATS Market Basics V
     ATS Market Basics VI
     ATS Market Basics VII
     ATS Market Basics VIII
     ATS Market Basics IX
     ATS Market Basics X
     ATS Market Basics XI
     ATS Market Basics XII
     ATS Market Basics XIII

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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