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

UKG and Workday are enterprise-level human capital management (HCM) platforms. While their feature sets are very similar in a lot of ways — incorporating talent management, workforce management and more — there are some notable differences.

In this guide, we compare and contrast UKG and Workday to give you a clear picture of what they offer.

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UKG vs. Workday: Comparison table

Features UKG Workday
Starting price Custom quote Custom quote
Native payroll U.S. & Canada only U.S., Canada, U.K. & France only
Benefits administration No Yes
Compensation management Yes Yes
Talent management Yes Yes
Workforce management Yes Yes
Financial planning and management No Yes
Operations management No Yes
Try UKG Try Workday

UKG vs. Workday: Pricing

The UKG logo.
Image: UKG

UKG pricing

UKG doesn’t have pricing listed on its site. So if you’re looking for pricing information, you’ll have to get in touch with the sales team.

See our full UKG review for more information.

The Workday logo.
Image: Workday

Workday pricing

Similarly, Workday also doesn’t list its pricing. However, you can request a one-on-one demo on Workday’s website and talk to a sales representative in their online chat feature.

See our full Workday review for more information.

UKG vs. Workday: Feature comparison


UKG says that its payroll function (Figure A) is available in 100+ countries, but it partners with third-party organizations for international payroll outside of the U.S. and Canada. UKG doesn’t disclose which organizations or countries, however, and that may give some potential customers pause. One unique feature that sets UKG’s payroll apart is the UKG Wallet debit card, which provides earned wage access to employees.

Figure A

UKG pay statement.
UKG pay statement. Source: UKG.

Workday also offers a native payroll platform (Figure B), but it’s only available in four countries right now: the U.S., the U.K., Canada and France — Workday has a partnership with ADP for all other countries. ADP is one of the most popular and trusted payroll providers in the world, and you can read our review of ADP to learn more about it. Workday does not currently offer an employee debit card like UKG does.

Figure B

Workday payroll.
Workday payroll. Source: Workday.

HR software

UKG’s benefit administration tool (Figure C) serves up personalized plan recommendations for employees and lets them compare plans side-by-side. UKG also has a compensation management tool that lets HR assign plans en masse and calculate bonus pools based on different metrics. Meanwhile, the UKG Employee Voice tools let managers create and distribute surveys to gather employee feedback.

Figure C

UKG benefits administration.
UKG benefits administration. Source: UKG.

Workday also offers benefits administration and compensation management tools (Figure D) that help your company create packages that will appeal to potential and current employees. Additionally, it has Peakon Employee Voice, an employee engagement feature that helps increase employee motivation and retention. Automation and machine learning functionality provide human capital insights and also personalize the employee experience of the platform.

Figure D

Workday compensation management.
Workday compensation management. Source: Workday.

Talent management

UKG’s talent management (Figure E) modules cover every step of the process, from posting a job to offboarding. Post to more than 3,000 external job boards, then rank candidates as applications roll in. Once employees have been onboarded using UKG, managers can use the performance management mobile app to set goals and track progress over time. UKG also offers a learning management system that can be used to create and administer training courses.

Figure E

UKG talent dashboard.
UKG talent dashboard. Source: UKG.

Workday uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive job recommendations and automate workflows. After employees are onboarded, managers can use the Workday Skills Cloud tool to identify opportunities for growth and help employees prepare for agile careers. Like UKG, Workday also offers an integrated learning management system so employees can complete training right in the platform.

Workforce management

UKG provides tools for managing time, attendance and scheduling, and managers can manually approve timesheets and PTO results (Figure F). Meanwhile, the system automates calculations for hours, overtime and holidays to minimize compliance risk. Proactive notifications give managers an opportunity to correct errors before the data flows over to the payroll tool.

Figure F

UKG timesheet.
UKG timesheet. Source: UKG.

Workday’s AI-powered scheduling module automatically generates schedules based on business demands, worker preferences and all relevant local labor laws. The native time tracking tool can be accessed on the mobile app, which also supports geofencing reminders. The absence management module makes it easy to submit requests, balances and accruals all in one place.

Financial planning and management

Because of its focus on HR functionality, UKG does not offer financial planning and management functionality — but Workday does, which is one of the main factors that distinguishes it from UKG. Workday’s modules cover financial planning, budgeting, forecasting and spend management (Figure G). This means that multiple kinds of financial data (including payroll, sourcing and procurement) all flow into one system, speeding up the process and improving accuracy.

Figure G

Workday financial management.
Workday financial management. Source: Workday.

Operations management

Operations management is another feature that Workday offers, but UKG does not. Workday’s operations management module (Figure H) works for sales planning, demand and supply planning, project planning and marketing planning. Depending on your industry, you might also find it beneficial to take advantage of Workday’s additional operational tools, like professional services automation and supply chain management for healthcare.

Figure H

Workday operations planning.
Workday operations planning. Source: Workday.

UKG pros and cons

Pros of UKG

  • Customized setup tailored to your business.
  • Relatively easy to use.
  • Excellent reporting and analytics tools.
  • UKG Wallet debit card for earned wage access.

Cons of UKG

  • Native payroll platform only available in two countries.
  • Scaling up or down is cumbersome as it requires a custom setup.
  • No financial planning or management tools.
  • No operations management tools.

Workday pros and cons

Pros of Workday

  • Dedicated financial management tools.
  • Operations management tools.
  • Over 600 pre-built integrations.
  • Specific tools available for over a dozen industries.

Cons of Workday

  • No employee debit card for earned wage access.
  • Native payroll platform only available in four countries.
  • No automatic tax filing like some other payroll services.
  • Training required to master the tool.

Should your organization use UKG or Workday?

As you can see by now, both UKG and Workday offer very similar features — but there are still some key differences. Workday’s native payroll platform is available in four countries vs. just two countries for UKG. Workday is also transparent about their international payroll partner, while UKG doesn’t disclose what organization they work with. However, UKG offers a debit card so employees can get earned wage access, and Workday does not.

UKG and Workday also offer very similar HCM tools, so they tie in nearly every category there. If you need the platform to do something very specific, definitely bring that up during the sales call to confirm that it will offer the capabilities you need. Workday also offers financial planning and operations management tools, and UKG does not. If you’re looking for a single system that offers all these features in one, Workday is the platform to choose.

Still not sure if either UKG or Workday is the right choice for you? Check out our comparisons between Paycom vs. Workday, SAP vs. Workday and Oracle vs. Workday to see how these popular enterprise platforms stack up.


To compare UKG and Workday, we considered features such as payroll, benefits administration, talent acquisition and management, workforce management, performance management, financial planning and operations planning. We also weighed other factors, such as customer support, user interface design and system loading time. During the writing of this review, we consulted product documentation and user reviews.

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