HR Tech Market Dynamics 2021 – Q1 in review


By Hans Mangelschots -10/04/2021


Intro: The first quarter of 2021 has already passed, and it seems the pandemic is really accellerating the adoption of new digital solutions. Big HR Tech Companies are launching or acquiring Employee Experience Platforms, HCM and Payroll innovation platforms are receiving serious amounts of funding and on the Benelux Market collaboration between solutions is key, yet with different approaches. Time to wrap it all up for you, so I poured it an article that you can check right here. Enjoy your reading.


Big HR Tech: it is all about the Employee Experience

HR Tech guru Josh Bersin is close to Big HR Tech companies and always provides useful insights. He started 2021 by pointing out the evolving role of IBM in the HR Tech marketplace.

In a very dynamic market, during this pandemic, operations and HR both need digital solutions to support employees, whilst the difference between HR Tech and Worktech is slinking, and coordination is threatened to get lost in the process.

Also read: Resilience – opinion: Isn’t separating HR from Tech what got us here in the first place?

Visual and copyrights by Josh Bersin - 2020


With the launch of Microsoft Viva in this first quarter of 2021 the market was again massively impacted, as the Tech Giant raised the stakes on Employee Experience and engagement.

Following this launch, Oracle introduced its employee experience platform to the HR tech Market. This stirred things up even more because Workday announced shortly after that it will be acquiring employee feedback platform Peakon for $700 million in cash.

Workday and Peakon will probably also come together with a continuous listening platform for customers to capture real-time employee sentiment, facilitate ongoing feedback, and access personalized, prescriptive recommendations for actions.


It is all about the Employee Experience and that reminds me of the SAP-Qualtrics saga, which is even continuing as we speak:

While noticing these dynamics of big HR Tech companies, it feels safe to say; The Digital Employee Experience is here to stay.

Looking at the Global HR Tech Market Dynamics the focus is slightly different and a possible indicator of what is coming next.


Global HR Tech Market: HCM 2.0 is tanking money and trust

When we take a further look at the global HR Tech Market we can not mis the fact that Recruitee and Sympa joining forces to shape the future of HR Technology in a collaborative approach. According to us this is one of many partnerships on the HR Tech Market in the upcoming period, where funding and acquisitions are still mainstream.


Mentionable global funding & acquisitions in this first quarter of 2021 are:

  • Papaya Global: The Israel-based HR tech platform picked up $100Mn in Series C funding, bringing Papaya’s total funding to $190Mn and a valuation over $1Bn in March. Papaya Global provides cloud-based payroll and hiring, onboarding and compliance services across 140 countries for organizations that employ full-time, part-time and contract workers outside of their home country.

  • Personio: The German startup that targets small- and medium-sized businesses (10-2,000 employees) with an all-in-one HR platform covering recruiting and onboarding, payroll, absence tracking, and other major HR functions — has picked up $125 million in funding at a $1.7 billion post-money valuation.

  • PayFit: Paris-headquartered HR tech startup PayFit announced that it has secured €90 million (US$107 million) in a Series D round. This brings its total funding raised to over €179 million in five years. The company subsequently expanded to Spain, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

  • Ease: a leading HR and benefits software solution for small businesses, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers announced $41 Mn in Series C funding. With this latest round, Ease will enable SMBs to leverage employee data to connect all their systems, as well as hire new talent.

  • Cloud Talent Solution Talentsoft got acquired by Cegid to enforce its position in Payroll and HR.

They all seem to have a focus on Innovative HCM and payroll. Knowing this is an indicator of what is coming next, it is food for thought for all those who are not innovating yet.