HR Software

Workday vs UKG vs Ceridian vs ADP

April 26, 2023
Brett Ungashick

With so many HRIS vendors in the market, it can be challenging to know which solution is right for your business. For companies with more than 300 employees, many HRIS systems are too basic and they need to evaluate up-market solutions such as Workday, UKG, Ceridian and ADP. Learn more about how these solutions compare

If you work in HR at a Mid-Enterprise company (350-5,000 employees), you may have received sales outreach from various HRIS providers.

With everything else going on in your day, you frequently don't have the chance to learn what each of these solutions can offer, and how they differ.

Learn More: Request a Free Vendor Report Comparing Workday, ADP, UKG, and more, including pricing, pros/cons, and user reviews

To save you the time of researching, demoing, and being sold to, we wanted to quickly compare four of the most prominent platforms in the Mid-Enterprise Segment: Workday, UKG, Ceridian, and ADP.

Note: In this article, UKG refers to UKG Pro, formerly called UltiPro

selected workday, hcm system, human capital management,


  • Founded in 2005
  • Headquarters in Pleasanton, CA
  • ~15,000 employees
business, users, review, feedback, integration, access,


  • Founded in 1990
  • Headquarters in Weston, FL
  • ~9,000 employees
performance management, hr data, tools, service, connection


  • Founded in 1992
  • Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN
  • ~6,300 employees
adp vantage, cloud hcm suites, payroll processing, valuable time


  • Founded in 1949
  • Headquarters in Roseland, NJ
  • ~64,000 employees

Shopping for an HRIS? Work with an HRIS advisor to streamline your shortlisting, evaluations, and selection - for free!

Best Front-End Interface

Workday and UKG. Workday came to market in 2005 as the first cloud-native HRIS system. While many of their peers were migrating their systems from on-premise mainframes to the cloud, Workday was building in the cloud from the get-go, allowing them to design a more responsive and mobile-friendly platform from the ground up. While UKG was a system that migrated to the cloud, they have consistently done front-end user interface refreshes and enhancements to their mobile app, leading to a user-friendly experience.

Best Back-End Capabilities

Ceridian and Workday. Ceridian and Workday are both unified systems at the database level. Neither company has relied on 3rd parties to build out their system, and when they do make acquisitions, they rebuild those software platforms from the ground up, so they aren't just bolted onto their system. This unified database leads to better security, more admin efficiency, and greater accuracy with data calculations.

Best for Global Companies

ADP, Ceridian, and Workday. Workday has the highest percentage of international companies in its customer base and is designed to support large multinational organizations. However, Workday's global payroll capabilities lag behind their peers. ADP has the highest number of global companies in their customer base and owns Celergo, a leading global payroll provider. Ceridian offers the most integrated global payroll solution and has offices across the globe.

Best for Core HR

Ceridian and ADP. When it comes to Core Human resource management (payroll/time/benefits), the best software is the one that can automate data transfer, create continuous, real-time calculations and avert errors before they happen. Ceridian's single database architecture is a massive advantage in this area. ADP also deserves mention for its unmatched payroll experience and robust tax filing support.

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

Most Responsive Support

UKG. UKG's "Partners for Life" philosophy leads to long-term customer relationships. UKG has consistently rated a top workplace, leading to very tenured customer support reps with deep knowledge of the product and UKG's capabilities.

Most Scalable

Workday. While all four of these companies have clients in the Fortune 500, Workday has far and away the most significant percentage of the Fortune 500. What differentiates Workday from the other groups on this list is how customizable the system is. Nearly every part of Workday's system can be reconfigured to meet a client's needs. With the other vendors, some configuration is possible, but other parts of the system are set-in-stone.

Easiest to Implement

ADP and UKG. Smooth implementations often go hand-in-hand with quality support, and UKG's large investment in customer support has paid dividends in the speed and effectiveness of their implementations. ADP can also have the fastest go-live times on this list and provides several best practices through the implementation process

Blog: How Long Does It Take to Implement a New HRIS

Most Cost-Effective

ADP and Ceridian. From a cost standpoint, ADP, Ceridian, and UKG all fall into a similar band, while Workday is often 2-3x as expensive as the others. ADP can discount the most with their customers and bundle outsourced payroll and benefits services in their offering. Ceridian tends to have the lowest software fees but charges more for implementation. While UKG ends up being on the higher end of these three solutions

Blog: How Much Does Workday Cost?

Request a Pricing Comparison of Ceridian vs. Workday vs UKG vs ADP

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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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