According to SHRM, Workday is the most used applicant tracking system by the largest companies in the United States. A whopping 22.6% of the Fortune 500 rely on it! Taleo is a close second, owning 22.4% of the market. To put those numbers in perspective, the third most used is SAP SuccessFactors, which is way back at 14.4%.
As you can see, the two SaaS companies have remarkably similar market shares. Even if you’ve never used them personally, chances are someone in your network certainly has. So read below for our comparison of Workday vs. Taleo to decide what would be the best fit for your business.
Note: Cloud software company Oracle purchased Taleo in 2012, adding the software to its arsenal of cloud products. The software is now known as Oracle Taleo Cloud, but in this article we will refer to it by its colloquial name, Taleo.
Workday and Taleo have similar functionalities, which also happen to be the standard for ATS’s. However, Taleo provides some nice extras, such as onboarding tools and an AI chatbot. With Workday, you may have to upgrade to their talent management software to get the additional bells and whistles. Which takes us to how each company goes about pricing their product:
Taleo is priced on a subscription basis. Specific details include:
Workday’s talent acquisition suite is priced on a subscription basis, but the exact details are not disclosed online. You must contact a sales representative for a quote. It will depend on your number of employees, chosen feature set, customer service add-ons, implementation fees, and other potential hidden costs.
Additional features listed above, such as AI chatbots and onboarding tools, are available when you upgrade to Workday’s full talent management platform.
Over 600 pre-built integrations in Workday’s marketplace, in addition to connection via APIs.
Partner ecosystem and “application connectors” that can easily integrate with SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, and a few other HR systems.
Both solutions feature pre-built integrations in a partner ecosystem or marketplace. Additional integrations are connected through APIs. Unfortunately, most vendors find it tricky to connect with Workday’s API hooks, citing inflexibility, expense, and technical difficulties. We have not come across any similar complaints from Taleo users.
Both Workday and Taleo have standard customer service. Baseline customer service for both Taleo and Workday comes at no extra cost. However, if you want them to go above and beyond, such as 24/7 support and online training modules, it will cost you. For an additional cost, Workday provides access to extra resources, tools, and expertise. Similarly, Taleo provides premium services for additional costs.
When looking at user interfaces, Workday appears more modern and sleek-looking than Taleo. However, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently better to use. Below are some user reviews from online communities, where both HR practitioners and candidates share their experiences using each product.
a) Taleo has a poorly constructed user interface that I don't like, as an employer.
b) Taleo doesn't accept or reject you. It just allows your application to be sorted by various criteria. If I, as an employer, open up our ATS and want to find all applicants for Job Z that have Qualification X, I can do that. But there's no trash can that all "bad" resumes go into. The closest you can come is creating pre-set filters, so that signing in to view a specific job will only show you resumes with those qualities unless you choose to view others.”
“Workday is perfectly fine as an ATS. It’s not perfect but none are. As with most systems, it’s about how certain features are configured or adopted…
One thing to note about Workday. Most TA folks complain about its “inflexibility,” especially as compared to a Taleo or a Successfactors. However, what they’re complaining about is a feature not a bug. In other words, because Workday is a highly integrated HCM, a single change to a business object or a process impacts other work streams. A TA team might want to update or change how reqs are created, but they may have to then check with HRBPs [HR Business Partners] and Comp or any other team that may have to have a say in that same process. An ATS that isn’t as tightly coupled with an HCM has much more perceived flexibility. That said, I’ve seen TA groups configure themselves into a corner when they have every option under the sun.”
“Pretty simple - it [Taleo]’s cheap. Or at least they used to be prior to Oracle's acquisition. No idea what they cost now. Also Taleo is often chosen by people who typically have no IT experience, and it's relatively easy to set up.
I have never seen Taleo win in a head to head comparison when the budget was reasonable or when a technology savvy person was a part of the selection committee.”
“I would not recommend Workday unless you're prepared to have a Workday certified vendor on retainer to keep tweaking it. Knowing how to use Workday Report Writer isn't enough. ‘Necessary evil’ is an apt phrase. The way WD sells it initially is that their other (more mature) HR software modules are considered very good, and it'll be easier to send data back and forth if you have their ATS also. That might be a fair conclusion to draw if the API hooks aren't good between your current ATS and other WD modules you have (as I've heard, most vendors are not fans of WD's level of cooperation/flexibility/expense on the API front).”
There are pros and cons to each. Taleo is less expensive, easier to set up, and solely for recruiting. Workday is great as a full HCM and recruiting suite, but finicky as a standalone ATS.
As mentioned previously, Workday and Oracle Taleo each have just over 22% of the Fortune 500 as customers. However, the lists above name the customers featured on their websites. These lists feature similar industries and company sizes. Both Workday and Taleo serve large retailers (Target, AutoZone, Patagonia, Co-op), insurance companies (Unum and Generali), and financial services (Bank of America, Schroders).
There are some slight differences. Workday mentions healthcare and pharmaceutical companies (ChristianaCare and Sanofi, respectively) and Taleo names a manufacturing company and university (Pella and Vanderbilt).
While featured customers are just a snapshot of their customer bases, it is fairly indicative of what industries they aim to serve. After all, why would Taleo and Workday feature these companies prominently on their websites, if not to show potential buyers that this particular ATS is trusted in their industry?
Workday and Taleo are leaders in the enterprise space for a reason. They are tried and tested solutions for handling the high volume of applications major companies receive.
Even if Taleo’s UI is outdated or Workday is frequently buggy, they each benefit from the sheer amount of time they’ve led the industry. Most tech stacks integrate with them. In Workday’s case, companies host all of their HR data in a single suite, streamlining all employee processes. Many consider these solutions to be a “necessary evil;” they’ll fit your enterprise needs at the expense of frustrating user experience at times.
There is one final point to make about Taleo. Since Oracle purchased the software in 2012, they have quietly transitioned it to a legacy offering, meaning there will be no more major updates to the product. If you’re hoping for a software that will evolve with your needs, Taleo is not the answer.
Additionally, Workday may be more compelling if you need more than just an ATS. Workday HCM and Workday Recruiting both seamlessly connect to their applicant tracking system, allowing you to streamline your workflows throughout the employee journey.
If you’re a US-based enterprise HR practitioner reading this, go through a demo with each to find out which, if either, is the right choice. But if you’re a mid-market company, SMB, or multinational company, we recommend checking out our detailed guides on the best applicant tracking systems or top talent management systems. It’s likely you’ll find a better fit for your needs, at a better price, and with a much better user experience.
>> Note: If you're looking for alternatives to Taleo and Workday, check out the following solutions: