When someone at a company needs to figure out what the salary should be for a new job, they usually look at a snapshot of data of what the market is paying—but it can take months to collect and distribute that information. Say that data was collected in March; by the time it gets to company HR departments, it’s already October, and if 2020 showed us anything, it’s how quickly the world—and the labor market—can change. Amid all that upheaval, more and more companies turned to Peer by Payfactors, a labor market data platform that lets employers exchange data in real time.
Payfactors, a compensation data company that recently merged with PayScale, saw its Peer platform boom in 2020, with an average of 40 new companies joining each month for 32% year-over-year growth. Peer is like “LinkedIn, but for compensation,” Payfactors CEO Jeff Laliberte wrote at its launch, allowing companies to see real-time data on pay based on location, industry, specific skills, or groups of other companies (a.k.a their peers).
The company noticed others turning to Peer, which was the winner of the software category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, in 2020 not only to assess how to compensate new jobs suddenly flooding the labor market—positions such as contact tracer or “social distancing ambassador” that didn’t exist the year before, which meant there was no data for pay—but to course-correct disparities in order to achieve pay equity. (“Diversity and inclusion” jobs also saw a spike in the summer of 2020, spurred by the death of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests.)
Because Peer offers real-time data, it allowed HR departments and compensation professionals to address pay equity issues immediately—not months later when new data finally comes in. That information also removes room for bias in compensation, because pay decisions can be based on relevant facts and industry standards, and not someone’s personal estimate of what a job should pay, or anecdotal or outdated evidence. In 2020 alone, the company says, more than 1,200 organizations, 29,000 jobs, and 925,000 employees across 96 countries had salaries impacted by Peer market data.
“The pandemic really highlighted the need for accurate data, and I think it accelerated the need for having these really strategic conversations around compensation,” says Sarah Kalogerakis, vice president of Peer by Payfactors. “With the shift to remote working and the social justice issues, it sort of really shined a big spotlight on compensation and getting pay right.”