CompTech: transparency plug-ins clarify salary decisions

HR apps based on real-time market-wide salary data are helping firms to make the right choices on employee remuneration and address gender pay issues.
15 September 2022

Digital upgrade: the latest salary benchmarking tools give decision makers more accurate information on job roles. Image credit: Shutterstock.

HR tech has taken giant steps in digitally transforming business operations, with payroll apps and more streamlining experiences for companies and their employees. But there’s a key feature that up until recently has been missing – real-time market-wide salary data. And innovative CompTech firms are on a mission to address that.

“Historically, compensation has always been managed in spreadsheets,” Virgile Raingeard, CEO of European CompTech firm Figures, told TechHQ. “There’s a big gap when it comes to tooling, which needed to be fixed.” And the benefits of plugging that gap are huge, as it opens the door to transparency on pay and gives companies much more accurate methods of maximizing their recruitment budgets and retaining key staff.

Real-time ramp-up

In the past, firms have relied on annual reports or surveys to set their salary benchmarks, but there are risks in taking that approach, especially today with rapid price changes due to inflation. “If you have data from six months ago, it doesn’t reflect the market,” Raingeard points out. “Companies need access to more real-time information.”

Figures’ solution to this problem is to team up with companies and provide a secure data brokerage service based on live data. On the client side, firms can accurately determine salary expectations for job roles in their sector and apply a wide range of filters to the data. Users can drill down into the salary differences based on company location, headcount, revenue model, and many other parameters. And Figures can help its customers to identify roles that are over or underpaid – to help HR teams manage compensation and improve staff retention more efficiently. More importantly, the data provides transparency on compliance issues such as the gender pay gap.

Legislation on employee compensation – for example, in the UK employers with 250 or more employees must share information comparing men and women’s average pay across the organization – is another reason why it’s important for companies to have access to accurate information. Compensation data can quickly identify median salaries for men and women and the percentage pay gap role-by-role. In recent studies, Figures reported a UK startup gender pay gap of 28% and unequal pay of 6% (based on 223 companies) and has also shared data on the state of gender equality in EU startups (based on 417 companies).

Team effort

The lack of transparent salary data was one of the reasons that Raingeard, who had worked in HR for more than a decade, decided to create Figures with Bastien Formery, the firm’s CTO. Today, the company has teamed up with 789 client companies who trust Figures to share their compensation information. And the firm has partner integrations with a variety of HR Tech providers, including BambooHR, HeavenHR, Ledgy, Humaans, Personio, Salary, and others.

Trust is an important word and Raingeard was clear from the beginning that security would be an important element of the operation. “Privacy is at the core of what we do,” Figures writes on its security page. And this attention to detail as allowed the firm to win clients firstly in France, where the business was founded, but also across Europe in Germany, and elsewhere.

Acquiring Payspective, another firm active in salary benchmarking, helped to raise Figures’ profile in the UK. And Raingeard and his team have recently completed a £5.75 million seed funding round lead by VC firm Point Nine to continue the firm’s expansion (adding to earlier seed funding and angel investment). Increasingly, clients are requesting salary information sourced across different territories – for example, to budget for a developer based in Spain and a UX expert in Norway – as remote working has become commonplace globally. And it means that firms offering insights on employee remuneration, such as Figures, need to become more international in their reach to grow their data sets accordingly.

Broad reach

Raingeard reveals that bigger firms are now wanting the insights provided by real-time data and his company, which was founded initially to help startups to manage their salary policies, is broadening its reach. Bringing transparency on staff pay is a powerful use case for HR tech. The value proposition allows users to demonstrate that they are being fair on pay and actively addressing issues such as the gender pay gap.

CompTech – which now has its own dictionary definition – could soon become much more widely known as a term, as HR professionals and recruiters recognize the limitations of using spreadsheets and seek out more automated and up-to-date analytics. And it’s a movement that’s growing not just in Europe, but elsewhere too. In the US, companies such as Pave are attracting funding to bring salary transparency to North American markets. Glass Door and Angel List are two further examples of firms wanting to shift the balance when it comes to conversations on salaries.

CompTech is an interesting and worthwhile endeavor and one that could soon reshape the employee renumeration landscape for the better. “We want to be actors of change,” said Raingeard. “And push companies to be transparent about pay gaps.”