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Global Workforce

Papaya Global’s Definitive List of 2021 Workforce Trends

Table of contents

As a company focused on delivering the most innovative payroll technology, we also have the great responsibility of the data we securely hold on behalf of our customers. With big data, we also hold big insights. We recently took a dive into the workforce data to deliver insights around the biggest trends emerging.

These insights are based on 1000 customers, their payroll data, and the white glove services our teams are providing. These 1000 workforces are made up of 300 or more employees.  The companies are currently experiencing hypergrowth levels, and many are already publicly traded companies.


  • Global medical insurance. While we saw this trend emerge in 2020, by 2021 85% of companies are no longer providing allowances for employee medical coverage but redirecting the efforts to provide them with more robust medical insurance will only continue to grow into 2022 as companies remain more global.
  • Extended benefits. Paid time off benefits increased from an average of 15 to 19 days, with the ability to carry over from one year to another. Extended maternity leave increased from 2 weeks to 6 weeks, fully paid by the employer.

Working from anywhere

  • Work from home allowance. While some countries made this a mandatory benefit, in many cases, this has become the new norm for a growing number of companies (70%). Home allowance budget are in the range of 50-150 Euro/USD per month, with one time set up budget of 300-800 Euro/USD (For more information about work-from-home allowance).
  • Work from anywhere. The period in which many companies offer employees to work from anywhere increased from 1 week to one month.
  • Business travel is back. Face-to-face events, from onboarding to training have increased 45% since 2020.
  • Work from the office. Sixty percent of the companies implemented a hybrid approach with mandatory work at the office of 2 days a week. We forecast this will grow in 2022 to 3 days as a new standard.

Motivational benefits

  • Options for all. While granting equity around the globe can be a complicated event, we saw a huge increase, 85% of clients, are granting options to their global workforce.
  • RSUs over Equity. We see the emergence of a budding trend, and increased focus on moving option plans to Restricted stock units (RSU). We predict this trend will only continue to grow into 2022 as companies remain more global.

Payments options

  • Advance pay. Fifteen percent of clients are allowing advance pay (every week or every 2 weeks). We forecast this will grow to 40% during over 2022.
  • Crypto payments. Less than 10% of the workers are requesting to get partially paid in crypto, however, most companies obliging are related to the crypto industry.

Global expansion countries

We also noticed some new and previously underrepresented countries take larger roles in the global expansion footprint of many of our customers.  New rates of workforce growth are appearing in countries, such as Macedonia and SerbiaPakistan and Puerto Rico are also new and unexpected nations joining more of the global workforce.  Staples like UK and India continue to represent the largest number of global workers supporting our customers’ expansion.

3 maps showing global workforce trends

Ready to discuss your unique business needs for global expansion? Let’s set up a call.