PeopleSoft vs Workday: an objective comparison


Previously two of the main providers in the HRMS market, PeopleSoft and Workday have often made the shortlist in HRMS selection projects. On the surface, they are very different vendors and products with Workday as a relative newcomer compared to PeopleSoft’s 30 years of releases. Each product provides its own advantages. However, the situation is complicated by PeopleSoft’s acquisition by Oracle, way back in 2005. Up to that point, PeopleSoft was practically the uncrowned monarch of HRMS. However, since the purchase, Oracle has put more of its HRMS development dollars into the all-in-one Oracle Fusion system. The company has recently re-committed to supporting PeopleSoft HRMS for existing users until 2032 – although that commitment seems to largely be a question of maintenance and not the release of new or updated features. 

So, why the comparison? After all, PeopleSoft is no longer available to new users. Well, the PeopleSoft community was once one of the largest and those who continue to use it are ‘living on borrowed time.' Yes, the PeopleSoft system will continue for another 10 years, but that continuance is reviewed annually. Maybe in 2022, Oracle will decide to maintain the system until 2033… or maybe not. Sooner or later, the answer will be ‘not’ and then PeopleSoft starts to wind down (slowly). That’s one possible reason to switch HRMS. The other is that the longer PeopleSoft continues, the further behind the HRMS vanguard it will fall. That may not matter to many, but for some, it’s another reason to change. For departing PeopleSoft users, Oracle Fusion is a logical (i.e. easy) option, but so is Workday. On with the comparison…

Company size and industry

Both vendors offer comprehensive solutions so you could have a full-service package with HCM along with other modules like finance or expenses. Workday has grown steadily in recent years and now has more than 14% of the market share for HRMS. PeopleSoft has been a proven technology for many years and current figures suggest there are more than 32,000 companies still using it (with more than two-thirds of that number in the U.S.)

PeopleSoft has always proven to be a good match for large customers especially in the areas of government, manufacturing, and education. Workday has been successful in targeting smaller and mid-size customers in the education and pharmaceutical fields.  

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PeopleSoft has a long history of delivering globally to multinationals. Its global payroll extensions have been solid for companies that have operations around the globe. Workday also has a presence in the global payroll space via its payroll and workforce management setup, offering services to clients in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and France; while facilitating third-party integration to cover clients with employees in other territories. Workday HCM has strong functionality for manager and employee self-service, including mobile apps. In the past, this made Workday well-suited for a company with remote workers or employees who often travel; in a world still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the capacity to engage remote or work-from-home users is critical.


Workday emphasizes speed of deployment as one of their selling points. As it is a cloud solution it can be implemented in months rather than years. Workday only permits implementations by their own consultants or certified partners which allows it to move quickly. A customer must be diligent and learn what the consultants are doing so that they are able to configure the HRMS once the consultants leave. 

PeopleSoft can be accessed through the cloud but is also available on-premise. 


Naturally, pricing information is not available from PeopleSoft (no new customers = no need). However, neither is generic pricing data available for Workday’s HCM package – interested parties must contact Workday to get a tailored quotation, taking into account their exact requirements. 


Both companies supply customers with online web portals where they can search for fixes and find documentation. As a SaaS product, Workday automatically pushes out updates and fixes to customers twice a year. In addition, the company offers a variety of support channels, including email/helpdesk services, phone support, and online chat options. 

PeopleSoft users need to rely on their IT departments to coordinate and apply patches that, as mentioned earlier, are focused on maintaining functionality as opposed to expanding it. Some customers will benefit from the automatic application of patches and fixes offered by Workday especially if they do not have the staff to do it. Others who prefer to be more in control of application updates will prefer to manage it themselves in a PeopleSoft environment.

As comparisons go, this is an unusual one due to PeopleSoft’s slightly peculiar status. The upshot is that if you are an established Oracle client using PeopleSoft, then you have the benefit of a very well-established HRMS platform that will continue to meet your current needs for another decade at a minimum (if those needs change, that might be another matter). These days, Workday has a larger market share than PeopleSoft due to its continued growth and if you anticipate your HRMS requirements evolving in the years to come, Workday is a viable alternative.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski

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