HR Software

ADP vs UKG - Pricing, Technology, Service

April 19, 2023
Brett Ungashick

UKG and ADP are two of the most famous brands in the HRIS industry. Understanding which vendor is the right fit for your business requires knowing the areas where each one shines. Learn more about the differences between ADP and UKG

If you work in HR at a medium-sized enterprise (250-5,000 employees), you may have received sales outreach from various HRIS providers.

It can be hard to distinguish one vendor from the next, especially when you already have a busy full-time job.

HRIS Matching App:  Input your project goals and see your top HRIS matches - for free

In this series of blog posts, we will provide head-to-head comparisons of leading options in the market. The first comparison we will review is ADP vs. UKG, highlighting the differences in each company's pricing, user experience, integration capabilities, and more.

Note: In this article, we reference UKG; we are referring to UKG Pro, formerly called UltiPro. When we reference ADP, we are referring to ADP Workforce Now.


  • Founded in 1949
  • Headquarters in Roseland, NJ
  • ~810,000 customers
  • ~58,000 employees


  • Founded in 1990 (re-branded in 2020)
  • Headquarters in Weston, FL
  • ~50,000 customers
  • ~13,000 employees

Best Front-End Interface

UKG. For a company that has been in business since the early 90s, UKG has done a phenomenal job of keeping its user experience fresh and modern. Their mobile app gets strong reviews from employees for ease of use, and the admin experience is also much more intuitive than some of their peers.

Best for Managed Services

ADP. One of ADP's biggest differentiators in the marketplace is their ability to provide outsourced services to businesses that don't want to be trapped managing back office, lower-value tasks. ADP's Comprehensive Services model provides businesses with outsourced payroll processing, benefits enrollment, and compliance workforce management options.

Best for Integrations

Tie. ADP has put much work into its integration marketplace over the last decade. They have pre-built API connections with leading vendors, such as Greenhouse, Lattice, and JazzHR. UKG is now starting to build its integration marketplace and has always had deep ties with groups like Cornerstone and iCIMS. Despite the recent efforts from both groups, the integration experience with both can still be flawed due to their older product architectures.

Blog: The Software Buyer's Guide to Integrations

Best for Customer Support

UKG. UKG is known for its 'Partners for Life' philosophy, where they try to delight their customers and win their business for the long haul. UKG has one of the higher customer retention rates in the industry, and due to the fact that they are often named the Best Workplace, UKG also can retain great customer support people for the long haul.

Best for Payroll

ADP. ADP has incredible depth when it comes to payroll, tax filing, and benefits carrier connections. Their background as a payroll bureau gives them the most institutional knowledge in the industry. They process so much payroll that the US government relies on them for unemployment data.

Blog: Rippling vs ADP vs Paylocity - The Best Payroll Software for Growing, Mid-Market Companies

Most Cost-Effective

ADP. ADP and UKG are often priced in the mid-to-high range of HRIS options. A full suite system can typically cost businesses anywhere from $20-28 PEPM for ADP and $25-34 for UKG. ADP can often get more aggressive on pricing and typically doesn't charge as much for implementation. UKG does have a more transparent billing model, however.

Best for Talent Management

UKG. While ADP started in payroll, UKG has always been about HR. UKG's talent management tools (ATS, surveys, onboarding, compensation) are some of the best in any HRIS. For companies interested in developing and impacting their workforce, UKG is a great fit.

Best for Global Companies

ADP. Both companies can serve as a global system of record. However, ADP owns its payroll aggregator (Celergo) and has offices around the globe. UKG is starting to be a bigger player internationally but currently relies on a 3rd party for global payroll and doesn't have as much of a global footprint.

Blog: The Pros and Cons of Your 4 Global Payroll Options

Best for Scalability

UKG. ADP's payroll module can work for companies of all sizes, but when it comes to the full-suite HRIS, UKG is the more scalable option. ADP typically works best for companies with 50-750 employees, whereas UKG serves the 500-5,000 space more frequently. UKG has some advanced workflow-building tools that can allow for greater automation at scale.

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Brett Ungashick
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

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