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.
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
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.
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.
Filipinos working abroad sent home
in remittances in 2019.
More than 120,000 Filipinos work in Hong Kong, primarily as household help. The money they earn abroad is essential for their families’ futures. Their biggest investment? Education.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged local and global economies, governments around the world agreed that “we need to get money in the hands of people quickly,” a Yale economist says.
No company was completely prepared for a global pandemic, but digitized payroll departments have fared better, say experts from ADP and The Hackett Group.
In its spinoff from Royal Philips, this ‘130-year-old startup’ had a chance to reinvent how it does payroll.
Nearly a year after the world as we know it changed, speakers at ADP ReThink Now discussed what businesses have learned from the pandemic and what changes we’ll take with us into the future.
While working on this issue, our editor discovered her own remittance story when a long-lost cousin messaged her on Facebook.