New Research Reveals Key Insights Into the ATS Market 

Recent studies of more than 50,000 employers and job-seekers revealed the best and worst applicant tracking systems (ATSs). While the legacy system Workday remained strong, newer cloud-based systems Lever and Greenhouse are gaining ground.

Ladders, Inc., the career site for jobs that pay $100,000 or more annually, collected data, which focused on companies that offer six-figure salaries and on high-income earners (which represents 25% of the American working population and more than 50% of all earnings). Ladders scoured data on available jobs, employer usage, and application numbers to reveal the following results:

Top Findings

  • ATS With the Most Jobs Available: Workday
  • ATS Used by the Most Employers: Greenhouse
  • ATS With the Most Applications: Workday
  • ATS With the Largest Clients: BrassRing
  • ATS with the Most Interesting Jobs:  Lever 
  • Best Known ATS: Taleo
  • Applicants’ Favorite ATS: Workday
  • Applicants’ Least Favorite ATS: Taleo

ATSs with the Most $100K+ Jobs Available

Applicants seeking high-end professional jobs in the U.S. will most likely encounter Workday, iCIMS, and Taleo/Oracle. These three large and established ATSs have been the favored choice of American companies for over a decade. 

ATSs That the Most Employers Use

Most six-figure employers favor Greenhouse, Lever, and Workday. New and growing companies especially are disproportionately choosing Greenhouse and Lever.

ATS With the Most Applications

Workday, Greenhouse, and iCIMS are the most frequently used ATSs for applying to high-end professional jobs. Since 2019, Workday lost five points of market share, while Greenhouse gained about five points.

ATSs With the Largest Clients

The ATSs with the largest clients are BrassRing, Taleo/Oracle, and Workday. BrassRing is apparently no longer being marketed or sold, and as a result, smaller customers are defecting. Large legacy customers may take a few years to move off of the platform.

ATSs With the Most Interesting Jobs

The ATSs with the most interesting jobs — that is, those that attract more applicants per job than any other ATS — are Lever and Greenhouse. Their modern, cloud-first software is attracting employers. Lever is particularly popular among small tech start-ups and fast-growing companies.

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Best-Known ATSs

Taleo is the most widely known ATS among Ladders’ readers, with 76% of respondents recognizing the name. Workday and ADP statistically tied for second.

Applicants’ Favorite ATSs

Workday is readers’ favorite ATS, with 28% of respondents picking the leading HR software provider for its ATS module. It’s followed by Taleo, with 24% of readers selecting it as their top pick.

Applicants’ Least Favorite ATSs

Taleo came away the least favorite amongst applicants, with 21% naming it the worst. Second-worst was Kenea/BrassRing with 14% of votes. 

Changes Over Time

Researchers collected study data through 2021’s first quarter. Q1 is a good representative time sample in recruiting as it represents a peak in annual activity. Since Covid-19 skewed 2020 data, researchers compared 2021 numbers to 2019 results. 

Comparisons over time reveal that newer entrants, Greenhouse and Lever, showed the most improvement over the past two years. They notched gains in jobs, employers, and applications. In aggregate, Lever and Greenhouse each gained a total of 11 points of market share across the three categories, while Taleo gained four. The biggest losers, on the other hand, were Workday with a loss of 10 aggregate share points, ADP with a loss of six points, and Utilpro, which lost five points.

Marc Cenedella is the founder and CEO of Ladders, Inc., a leading professional careers site. He is the author of the largest career advice newsletter in the United States, reaching an audience of nearly 10 million weekly.

A nationally renowned thought leader on job search, career management, and recruiting, he is frequently sought out by national media organizations for his expert commentary on employment and entrepreneurialism. He has been profiled in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Wired, and Businessweek, appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Bloomberg, and has spoken at Ignition, SHRM, and Internet Summit as well as Harvard Business School, Columbia University, and Yale.

He is also the Founder and Organizer of iOSoho, New York City's largest iOS Engineer Meetup, as well as a mentor at TechStars. Before founding Ladders, he was a senior vice President at, where he served as lead on its sale to Yahoo in 2002 for $436 million.

Hailing from Fredonia, New York, he holds an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar, as well as a BA in Political Science from Yale College.