Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG (2023): Which Software Is Better?

If you are a large business or enterprise looking for a new human capital management (HCM) platform, you have no doubt come across Ceridian Dayforce and UKG during your search. These two HCM platforms offer an extremely similar set of features and closely compete with each other.

Dayforce encompasses payroll, HR, benefits administration, talent acquisition and management, performance management and workforce management. UKG is one of the largest HCM platforms on the market and is geared towards midsize and large businesses looking for an all-in-one solution for their payroll and HR needs.

In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG to help you make the right choice for your business.

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Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG: Comparison table

Dayforce UKG
Starting price Custom quote Custom quote
Native international payroll Yes No
Benefits administration Yes Yes
Talent management Yes Yes
Workforce management Yes Yes
Compensation management Yes Yes
Reporting templates 300+ 150+

Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG: Pricing

Ceridian Dayforce pricing

Ceridian Dayforce does not currently disclose pricing information on its website. To get a pricing quote, you must contact the sales team.

UKG pricing

UKG also doesn’t have transparent pricing details on its website, so you’d have to contact the sales team for a quote.

Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG: Feature comparison

Payroll and tax

Winner: Ceridian Dayforce

Dayforce’s native payroll platform (Figure A) is available in 160+ countries, so you don’t have to work with third-party providers. Plus, it syncs with its time tracking feature, so payroll automatically updates through the pay period employees track their time. Dayforce also provides earned wage access through the prepaid Dayforce Wallet debit card, meaning employees can get their pay early if necessary.

Figure A

Dayforce pay statement.
Dayforce pay statement.

UKG’s payroll (Figure B) is available in 100+ countries — still a respectable number but not as many as Dayforce. However, if you need to pay employees outside the U.S. or Canada, UKG partners with third-party organizations for those other countries (though it doesn’t specify which organizations or countries).

In addition to payroll processing, UKG can also handle tax filing, W-2 filing, wage attachment disbursements and more. It also offers a UKG Wallet debit card that provides earned wage access to employees, very similar to Dayforce’s card.

Figure B

UKG pay statement.
UKG pay statement.

SEE: A Complete Guide to Payroll Software

Workforce management

Winner: Both

Speaking of time tracking, Dayforce lets your company track attendance patterns over time by reporting insights. You can also use the company’s app to record punch ins and outs with biometric fingerprint scanning or use mobile geofencing to track employee’s time. Managers can also use Dayforce to automatically generate schedules (Figure C) and predict future labor needs to help with staffing.

Figure C

Dayforce schedules.
Dayforce schedules.

UKG also provides tools for time, attendance and scheduling. Managers can use the system to approve timesheets and PTO requests. UKG can also automate time collection and calculation for hours to reduce manual work and compliance risk. Notifications keep your team abreast of possible errors, so they can be corrected before they cause a problem with payroll.

Benefits administration

Winner: UKG

Dayforce includes analytics tools for forecasting enrollment and conducting best-fit plan analysis, so you can create plans that better meet your employees’ needs. Once open enrollment starts, employees can use the tool to make their selections and enroll in the plan or plans of their choice. Administrators can also make elections on their behalf by setting specific security privileges.

In UKG’s self-service portal (Figure D), employees can add beneficiary and dependent information, then filter plans based on individual preferences or compare plans side-by-side. They can also opt to receive personalized plan recommendations or to educate themselves through the UKG-provided resource library and videos.

Figure D

UKG benefits administration.
UKG benefits administration.

Talent management

Winner: Ceridian Dayforce

Need to fill schedule gaps ASAP? Ceridian helps companies connect with flexible on-demand workers via its unique Ideal Talent Marketplace. Even if you’re hiring the more traditional way, Dayforce can support your recruiting team throughout the process, from submitting applications (Figure E) to screening candidates to scheduling interviews.

Dayforce also incorporates AI candidate scoring and matching to make sorting through applications go faster. After onboarding, managers can use the performance management modules to set goals and measure growth.

Figure E 

Dayforce recruiting software.
Dayforce recruiting software.

While UKG doesn’t offer an equivalent to the Ideal Talent Marketplace, it does offer plenty of recruiting tools (Figure F) to assist with the hiring process. You can create your own branded job board or post to more than 3,000 external job boards, then rank candidates and send interview invites directly in the tools.

Onboarding tools help employees get up to speed quickly, while performance management and learning management tools promote growth. Employers can also use the UKG Talk employee engagement tool to gather feedback and promote employee achievements.

Figure F

UKG talent dashboard.
UKG talent dashboard.

Compensation management

Winner: Both

With Dayforce’s compensation management module, you can sort pay data by various filters and compare it to external market rates. Flexible workflows lets you share compensation information with all relevant decision-makers while predictive analytics help you minimize flight risks. You can also build rules and frameworks to help managers make the most of their compensation budgets.

UKG’s compensation management tools make it easy to configure calculation rules, assign plans en masse and calculate bonus pools based on various metrics. You can add or remove employees from plans and override budget allocations if necessary. You can also automatically process one-time bonuses or payouts through the payroll tool.

Reporting and analytics

Winner: Ceridian Dayforce

Ceridian includes more than 300 pre-built reporting templates that you can customize to your needs. You can also compare your own KPIs to industry benchmarks to see how well you perform against the market. If you have a separate source of data or business intelligence (BI) you want to connect, you can use the Analytics Data Connect and API access to sync everything together.

UKG also offers robust reporting and analytics tools with built-in data visualizations such as pie charts, bar charts, line graphs and heatmaps. Choose from over 250 standard reports and modify them as necessary. Filter reports by groups of employees or time periods, then save, schedule or export them for quick sharing.

SEE: The Best Payroll Software for Canadian Businesses in 2023

Ceridian Dayforce pros and cons

Pros of Ceridian Dayforce

  • Native payroll platform available in 160+ countries.
  • Ideal talent marketplace for hiring flexible workers.
  • AI candidate scoring and matching.
  • More than 300 reporting templates available.

Cons of Ceridian Dayforce

  • No transparent pricing or free trial.
  • Users say customer support could be improved.
  • System can lag and be slow to load.

See our full Ceridian Dayforce review for more information.

UKG pros and cons

Pros of UKG

  • Customized setup tailored to your business.
  • Relatively easy to use.
  • Dedicated employee engagement tool.
  • Can post to more than 3,000 external job boards.

Cons of UKG

  • No transparent pricing or free trial.
  • Scaling up or down requires a custom setup.
  • Partners with external parties for international payroll.

See our full UKG review for more information.


To compare Ceridian Dayforce vs. UKG, we considered several features:

  • Payroll.
  • HR.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Talent acquisition and management.
  • Performance management.
  • Workforce management.
  • Compensation management.
  • Reporting and analytics.

We also weighed other factors, such as user interface design, customer support and system loading time. To get this information, we consulted product documentation, user reviews and demo videos.

Should your organization use Ceridian Dayforce or UKG?

As you can see from this comparison, both Ceridian Dayforce and UKG offer extremely similar feature sets that cater to the HR needs of larger and enterprise businesses.

Probably the biggest difference between them is international payroll. Ceridian’s native platform keeps everything in house with a single global payroll provider, while UKG partners with third-party organizations for international payroll. If this distinction matters to you, then let that guide your decision.

But what if you don’t need international payroll or it doesn’t matter whether you keep global payroll in a single platform or not? Since both platforms pretty much offer the same overall features, your choice will come down to which one better fits the particular quirks of your business.

Since neither Ceridian nor UKG offer a free trial, you’ll have to decide based on the demo. Come to the sales call prepared with a list of questions to ask about each platform to cover your specific use cases.

Still not sure if either Ceridian Dayforce or UKG is right for your needs? Check out our list of the best payroll software to see our top picks for 2023.


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