Ceridian Study Finds Financial Stress Among North Americans Highest Since 2008

82% of employed North Americans think about personal finances at work, resulting in an estimated US$664B in lost productivity

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December 9, 2022

Ceridian (NYSE: CDAY; TSX: CDAY), a global leader in human capital management (HCM) technology, today announced results from a study revealing that 61% of employed North Americans are more stressed about their finances today than they were a year ago – and are experiencing the highest level of financial stress since the financial crisis of 20081.

This study, created in partnership with the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada, surveyed more than 4,200 workers across the United States and Canada to analyze three clusters of people – Stressed, Unsettled, and Comfortable – and to understand how each demographic is adapting to economic developments, such as inflation and rising interest rates.

  • One in two workers in North America who had an emergency saving account tapped into it to pay for necessities in 2022 (54%). Within the “Stressed” demographic, the number rose to 67%.
  • Four in five (81%) employed North Americans plan to cut back on discretionary purchases such as dining out, entertainment, and shopping. Virtually all of those in the “Stressed” category plan to spend differently (96%), compared to 40% in the “Comfortable” category.
  • A majority (78%) of employed North Americans are looking to increase income to relieve financial stress in 2023. One-in-three (33%) plan to do this by getting a second job or a side gig.

The study also found that 82% of employed North Americans spend time during work thinking about personal finances. Nearly one-in-four (23%) spend one hour or more a day, with most of those in the “Stressed” cluster. Based on the average hourly wage from government sources2, this time spent thinking about personal finances at work could potentially amount to a US$664B productivity loss for employers – $50B in Canada and $614B in the US, the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada estimates.  

“Financial stress is no longer just an individual’s problem – it’s an organizational roadblock that’s costing companies billions of dollars in lost productivity,” said Seth Ross, General Manager, Dayforce Wallet and Consumer Services, Ceridian. “Employers must provide their people with greater financial flexibility to foster workplace productivity and well-being. By embracing financial wellness benefits like Dayforce Wallet and on-demand pay, organizations can help position themselves as employers of choice by driving greater peace of mind among their employees.”

“Whether workers are highly stressed or comfortable about their financial situation, many are dipping into savings and planning to reduce debt. This signals widespread financial insecurity across all demographics,” said Dr. Matt Davison, Dean of Science at Western University and Lead Research for the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada. “Many are looking for solutions outside their control like asking for a raise or a promotion, but that doesn’t always guarantee the financial buffer they seek.”

With an increasing number of North Americans feeling stressed about their finances and struggling to cover expenses between pay periods, cash flow can be a major concern. The current two- or four-week pay cycles make it difficult for employees to access their earned wages when they need them.

Giving employees early access to their earned wages through on-demand pay has proven effective for employees and employers. Since its launch in 2020, more than 1,300 North American employers have signed up to offer Dayforce Wallet to workers. Through Dayforce Wallet, employees spend about $28 per transaction, accessing their wages on-demand to cover food, gas, and other necessities.

Dayforce Wallet is available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. To learn more, visit:  

Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online within the United States and Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ceridian from October 3-6, 2022 among 4,232 U.S. and Canadian adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.

The Financial Wellness Lab of Canada extrapolated the survey results to the total number of employed persons in each country. Government sources were used to determine the average hourly salary plus benefits for those in full time employment and to then derive the aggregate cost for employees focused on personal finances while on the job. Machine learning algorithms were used to group the results into the three clusters (Stressed, Unsettled, and Comfortable).

About Ceridian

Ceridian. Makes Work Life Better™.

Ceridian HCM Holding Inc. is a global human capital management software company. Dayforce, its flagship cloud HCM platform, provides human resources, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management functionality. The Dayforce platform is used to optimize management of the entire employee lifecycle, including attracting, engaging, paying, deploying, and developing people. Ceridian has solutions for organizations of all sizes. Visit or follow us @Ceridian.

Media Contact: 

Hyeri Kim


1 Based on partner surveys and calculations conducted by the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada since 2008.

2 According to data from the US Bureau of Statistics, the median income for a 35-to-44-year-old American is $51,480 plus benefits of approximately 20%. In Canada, the median income for the same age group was $54,800, according to Statistics Canada.

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