Applicant Tracking System (ATS) pricing can be tricky given the various pricing models for various vendors. Because ATS software is typically one of the larger items in any HR budget, it’s important to understand how pricing works for the various solutions, and what to expect in terms of pricing ranges.
We’ve been looking around at various price points for ATS’s for a while, but hadn’t found good data until we were introduced to the folks at Siftery. Siftery has 300,000 data points on what solutions various companies are using, and they’ve recently done some research on what companies are paying for various solutions.
Specifically, we looked at pricing for the standard middle market applicant tracking systems. There are of course many others ATS vendors out there.
Applicant Tracking Systems Pricing
In this graph we can see the average price point that companies of various sizes can expect to pay for an applicant tracking system. There is a very clear, linear relationship between company size and the annual software subscription that you can expect to pay. However, not all companies charge based on the company’s size.
ATS Pricing Models
Applicant tracking software is typically priced based on one of three different models: per employee, per seat, and per job posting. Each solution has their own rationale for different pricing models. The bottom line is that companies are trying to maximize their revenues, while also remaining competitive with the other solutions, and driving ROI for their customers. Each company also serves slightly different markets, and so it makes sense to charge on a different basis in order to maintain a “fair” price point. It’s not quite value based pricing, but clearly companies are getting value as nearly every company of scale has an applicant tracking system.
Per Employee Pricing
Jobvite, Lever and Greenhouse all charge on a per employee basis. While this may seem counter intuitive (why am I being charged for my existing employees??? Isn’t ATS all about hires?), it makes sense in that your existing employees all play a role in your hiring process as sources of talent via referrals, and as vetters of talent in the interview process. Plus, it’s a way to charge more to larger companies.
There’s a wide range that these companies charge over, from $10/employee/yr to well over $100. It all depends on how large your company is with significant volume discounts for larger companies.
Per Job Pricing
Workable is the only company here that charges on a per job basis. They are also focused on the smallest companies. This pricing means that companies who are growing fast (and thus get more value from the ATS) pay more, and smaller companies who have more normal growth rates spend significantly less. To give you a sense, the annual plan has a $200/job price point.
Per Seat Pricing
iCIMS pricing is the only company in our data set that charges on a per seat basis. This is most likely a result of their focus on enterprise, as it aligns with how other enterprise software offerings are priced. While there is a lot of variance, the average per seat price is $4k. It’s also worth noting that iCIMS has several add on charges, and will charge for integrations into other third party software that you may use.
Extras: Onboarding, Analytics, Recruitment Marketing
Several of these companies charge extra for various features including recruitment marketing, employee onboarding, and analytics. And, most of these solutions also charge a setup fee.
These costs can take the form of a per employee basis (for example, Greenhouse charges per employee for their onboarding product), or can be bundled into a more advanced pricing tier that would simply increase the price/employee you’re paying for the software. Setup fees seem to be one off fees across vendors.
As the report points out, about 1/5 companies are getting “discounts” from the originally quoted price. It’s unclear how these are negotiated. My guess is that some pricing was originally misquoted, and that some companies are actually able to negotiate lower prices due to strong company brands, plans for growth, or a competitive process.
There are of course discounts for companies who are willing to pay upfront for a year vs monthly. These discounts can be very meaningful, and are most likely not a surprise for experienced HRTech buyers.
Despite a lack of transparency on pricing models, the ATS marketplace is actually fairly efficient in terms of the pricing across various solutions for companies of a given size, as you can see in the graph below. What I mean is, for a company with a given number of employees, there isn’t one solution that’s charging 50% more or less than others (with a few exceptions in the below chart, which are more a reflection of an incomplete data set with outliers that lack context for what a company was actually purchasing, aka the Lever customer paying $125k).
What’s more important than pricing is understanding which solution is right for your company. For example, these solutions vary in terms of functionality (onboarding is part of some, not others), and packaging (some charge for analytics, etc and some don’t).
Lastly, while the pricing models are important, it’s really all about how large your company is. We can see this by the first chart in this post and the very clear correlation between company size and pricing despite the various pricing philosophies.
This data was collected by Siftery, and we highly suggest you check out the full report, along with the individual reports they have on each of these providers. We’ve included some of the high level data with our analysis, but there is so much more to digest if you’re so inclined.
While the data is fairly comprehensive, there are data points that clearly are huge outliers, and so please be wary of this as you use the information. Our advice: use this data to have a transparent conversation with the rep at your ATS and not as a “well, I happen to know there is a company paying $XX for your solution of the same size”. The bottom line is that there are many factors that go into pricing beyond your employee count, including time of the quarter and the budget that the VCs have set forth. Good luck!