Argyle, the platform for employment records with workers’ consent, has introduced the Open Employment Data Standards (OEDS), a mission-driven initiative established to foster transparency and industry-wide alignment across all employment records and stakeholders. Employment data – which should be categorised as a form of personally identifiable information (PII) – is heavily relied upon by the global financial ecosystem, whether it’s used to identify how much credit to reward, facilitate a home rental or purchase transaction, a car purchase or lease, or a job application process.
Until now, no standard existed to regulate how sensitive employment information is collected and managed. This has contributed to dwindling consumer trust in businesses’ and governments’ abilities to secure consumers’ data. PwC uncovered that only 10% of consumers feel they have complete control over their personal information. The standardisation of employment information serves as a guide for financial institutions to navigate risk and operate in a way where everyone has equal access to credit, which is critical for building an equitable society. OEDS sets a new precedent for how employment data is securely acquired, stored and accessed, building a foundation of trust by providing transparency. Any payroll processor, employer, business, or software start-up can join and contribute to this open-source initiative.
Shmulik Fishman, founder and CEO of Argyle said: “Employment records are the bedrock of our society and at the core of any approval process such as refinancing a home or applying for a loan.
“In working directly with user-permissioned employment records to innovate Argyle’s platform, we immediately recognised the broader industry’s rampant inefficiencies and inaccuracies due to the lack of standardisation of personal employee data. Traditionally, this information has been collected and distributed in unorganised and unverified ways. Similar to well-established accounting standards, such as GAAP for recording and evaluating a company’s financial information, the same is needed for managing sensitive employee data. As the founding member of OEDS, Argyle is paving the way for long-overdue transparent and secure treatment of employee data, streamlining outmoded, haphazard processes.”
OEDS Framework Provides a Blueprint for Structuring and Consuming Employment Data
Without industry standards in place, consumers’ personal data – full name, email address, birth date, home address, income information – can be misused or reported inaccurately during important transactions, which can negatively affect individuals’ daily lives. In addition, some people have more robust employment records available, giving them a disproportionate advantage with financial institutions. A lack of standards also contributes to unequal access to credit for gig workers and 1099 employees as compared to W-2 employees. According to Pew Research, 79% of Americans say they are not too or not at all confident that companies will admit mistakes and take responsibility if they misuse or compromise personal information, and 69% report having this same lack of confidence that firms will use their personal information in ways in which they will be comfortable. OEDS aims to grow long-term trust across the industry, maintaining a standard for employee records that spans four pillars:
- Data Specification: OEDS has meticulously curated 200 data fields and capabilities across data providers to create a common standard for anyone creating, storing, transmitting or leveraging employment data.
- Industry Coverage: The fragmented landscape of employment data holders requires multiple integrations with employers or payroll platforms. OEDS spans Fortune 500 companies, payroll and gig platforms.
- Compliance: Security standards are critical enablers of safe storage, transfer, and use of employment data. OEDS tracks adherence to important data security standards and how marketplace participants are performing against them.
- Capabilities: Transparency of capabilities is paramount to a more equitable marketplace. OEDS tracks which employee and industry needs are met by marketplace participants.
Established guidelines are required for transmitting employment records. OEDS provides a draft for such criteria. It reimagines how employee records must be structured so that customers, consumers, employers and employment record processors can leverage a framework that functions across employee types and geographies.
“With unemployment rates at a record high during the pandemic and more workers relying on the gig economy for jobs, standardised access to loans and other forms of financial support has never been more necessary. Our mission is to build a standard for anyone creating, storing, transmitting or leveraging employment records and encourage fair treatment of employee data by financial institutions,” added Fishman.