ReThink Quarterly

Issue 1: Lifelines

Welcome to the first edition of the ReThink Quarterly, a new publication from ADP. The ReThink Quarterly is a place to examine how the role of payroll is changing. We’re going to tell the human stories behind the work we do — what happens before the paycheck and after the paycheck. 

Payroll has been slowly changing over the past decade, but 2020 felt like a tipping point. During the pandemic, payroll teams played a crucial role to make sure people got the money and support they needed to keep going in a global crisis. But payroll has been preparing for this sea change for a while. New AI and data analysis tools are freeing up payroll teams to move beyond compliance and efficiency to start playing a more strategic role in their company’s direction.

We want to help you understand — and lead — this transformation in your own workplace. The ReThink Quarterly is sharing big-picture discussions with payroll, finance and HR professionals alongside real stories of people and their paychecks.

For this first edition of the ReThink Quarterly, we’ve started with a global theme — Lifelines. In a globally connected world, people rely on their paychecks not only to support themselves but to support their loved ones and maintain connections to their home countries.

In 2019, a record 281 million people lived in a country other than their own, sending home $717 billion in remittances. These remittances demonstrate the power of the paycheck — every dollar is a kind of venture capital, funding innumerable businesses and households. Even small amounts of money can make a big difference, but the cost of sending money home varies greatly depending on where you live. Reporters on the ground in Venezuela, Ukraine, the Gambia, Luxembourg and Hong Kong followed the money to show how a single person’s paycheck can change many lives.

If you have just a few minutes to spare, I recommend reading this first: Real people talk pay, in which six people in Kolkata share stories about their first and future paychecks. Our contributors have also shared the stories of their first paydays, and I discovered my own remittance story after a long-lost cousin found me on Facebook.

If you like what you see, we hope you’ll share it on LinkedIn. We’ve also created a page of shareable graphics you can use on social media or in presentations. You can keep up with everything ReThink by signing up for our newsletter. And if you have any comments, questions or ideas for future issues, please let me know. I’d love to hear your story!

— Grace Dobush, editor

The story of global remittances in 6 charts

More than $717 billion in remittances moved globally in 2019. The money that people working far from home send back to their families makes a big difference, especially in times of crisis.


$508 billion

in remittances to low- and middle-income countries in 2019


Western Union locations around the world


the average cost of sending money to Africa

Follow the money >

How 6 people in Kolkata earn their rupees

Kolkata is a study in contrasts. Also known as the City of Joy, the megacity is a blend of old and new, of east and west, of clamor and quiet. We took to the streets of Kolkata to ask people about their first and future paychecks.

How money moves around the world

Digital wallets and online banking have brought down the costs of transferring money globally — but the fees for sending remittances varies widely depending on the destination.

2.2 million

Filipinos working abroad sent home

$35 billion

in remittances in 2019.

The back way from the Gambia to Germany

The 140,000 Gambians living abroad sent home a record $578.5 million last year, accounting for half of its total GDP. One man who risked his life to make it to Germany supports his whole family on his modest salary.

“He is solely in charge of the family’s welfare.”

Sarjo Kongira, speaking about his cousin, Mamadi Susso

Pipelines of dollars in Venezuela

Venezuela is experiencing a slow-moving refugee crisis, with remittances from the 5.4 million people who have left supporting those who stayed behind. One mother relies on cash infusions from her family to support her three children.

Ukraine’s bid to keep tech workers happy

Despite Ukraine receiving $15.8 billion in remittances in 2019, some Ukrainians see migration as a threat to the country’s future. Kyiv is trying to sweeten the situation for IT workers in hopes they’ll stay home instead of seeing their fortunes elsewhere.

Luxembourg’s luxuries fund lifelines to India

About half of Luxembourg’s population is foreign, with 3,000 residents from India, the world’s largest recipient of remittances. One Indian working in Luxembourg says, “I want to give my child all the luxuries that I could not have when I was growing up.”

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Use our infographics and charts in your own presentations and social media.

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