Illumina Reviews

Updated 17 October 2014
Updated 17 October 2014
144 Reviews
3.9
144 Reviews
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Illumina CEO Jay Flatley
Jay Flatley
106 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Fast paced, well well-thought our solutions/processes (in 13 reviews)

  • You get to work with a lot of smart people, and the amenities of the new campus are great (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • No work/life balance, challenging to get ahead with all the great people (in 19 reviews)

  • No work life balance, getting more bureaucratic (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

24 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    The experience still haunts me sometimes.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Not Applicable in Cambridge, East of England, England
    Former Employee - Not Applicable in Cambridge, East of England, England

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    It is a progressive company which issue shares to tie you into your role. So you can see how much effort you put in to how the company grows. In this respect, it gives you a sense of achievement overall. It is also one of those "life time opportunity" to be within a technologically forefront company. When I left university, I aspired to be in such a company. I came into this company mid-way through my career. There was a semi-friendly culture, but it conflicts with one's loyalty as the organisational chart kept changing.

    Cons

    The turnover rate was quite high. As I joined after the merger, and there was a period of respect between all colleagues, until you start to see individuals being taken out of the running. Then some kind of culling occurred for some reason. I was also caught up in the political organisational changes, such that I felt very marginalised, and also disrespected. I also realised that my contribution within those long email chains, often advices or trialed and tested solutions that came from years of experience from my side, was then taken as some kind of new ideas or achievement on the US side. It often were from the sales team who were more aggressive and came across as running the company to be honest ! It really was about US HQ, and no actual understanding of contribution on the Europe side at all. People got more annoyed as their contributions were not acknowledged and skillsets were stripped away. Or rather, "copied" away. It is one thing if you made clear who was in a project and who was not. But when the boundaries are so undefined, then yes, it seems almost like setting up the employee to fail.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I like you to know that, you managed to take away some of the very well respected managers who grew the original small companies before the big merger. That was a very big mistake. You potentially had some of the very wise and solid professionals who stood strong in this industry and ensured the security of the company, and you let this be mismanaged away by some very disrespectful and arrogant, and untrained under mid-30s professionals. Some of approaches used were even unlawful !

    I was surprised to find out that another colleague also took out a loan to supplement actual business trips to sell the products, and we are still in debt due to this. The salary was unjustified. Looking back in hindsight on Glassdoor here allowed me to see how naive some of us were in reality. You did not even look after the basics right. Allowing employees the most basic tools, without impacting their own personal and financial statuses.

    Also, you overworked your operations staff such that, I saw one woman fainting because of meeting your quarterly goals. Please ask yourself whether you are a true ethical company or not. Because if you were, then the ethical aspect starts on the inside, and that also mean following the employment laws ! Working under a set number of hours and no more, and bringing in health and safety laws too without burning out your own employees. Instead of perfecting some of the needed basics to keep employee happy and healthy in a steady way, the emphasis were put on the bottomline.

    I would also check the ethics and the professionalism of some of your senior IT managers. As I understand that a few of them joined and migrated from another bio-tech company. Yet, I saw one male manager who was absolutely unprofessional and harassed a young intern verbally, such to a high extent that, he rechallenged him back with a knife ! This was during a company meal,on an off site support trip. What kind of people are you hiring ? This is not the kind of company that I want to work for. And yes, this same high level Director just saw Jay as a face of the company and no more. Well, at least I believed in science, and I believe in what Jay say ! There is a huge difference between those who are from science backgrounds and believe in the company to those who just want the prestige and the title or the money.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Back-breaking and Soul-crushing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Just Another Software Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Just Another Software Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    They actually paid pretty well. I was even told once that there was some concern that I might have been getting paid too much. Lot's of pretty, young folks.

    Cons

    Back-breaking work. Unrealistic expectations. No real chance to forge any lasting relationships. Horrible communication. Horrible HR. Projects are *extremely* well-guarded. Preference is definitely given to the younger, more attractive women. Expect to deal with a senior management staff more concerned about popularity, politics, and extra-curricular relationships than with actual production.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't terminate someone the very next day (without any written reason) when they bring up possible non-compliance with FDA regulations.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Treat Employees Poorly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Production Supervisor in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Production Supervisor in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Illumina's stock price has been rapidly increasing the last ten years. They are well placed in the sequencing market and have an opportunity to lead the diagnostic sequencing market for years to come.

    Cons

    Illumina asks a lot from employees and offers very little in return. Illumina's stock price has done very well over the past few years which allows management to neglect all other aspects of compensation. As long as the stock price continues to rise upper management will be able to get away with mistreating their employees. A lot of good people have recently left.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not everyone cares about stock options.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Profoundly Disappointing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Illumina as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Some nice, positive people. Great campus and cafeteria. They are into supporting altruistic causes.

    Cons

    Disorganization, paranoia, and sabotage seem to rule the day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop treating employees, contractors with disrespect.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    Dysfunctional and Proud of It!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Research Associate in San Diego, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Research Associate in San Diego, CA (US)

    I have been working at Illumina full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Nice campus, iCafe, company parties are fun, stock is going up, some nice people

    Cons

    If you love working then this is the place for you because you'll be here morning, noon, and night. La Jolla in the dark will become a very familiar sight. It's not just the aggressive schedules that will keep you at work. A good part of the work will be created by the overall lack of planning of the projects that you'll work on. This is kind of amazing since Illumina is filled to rafters with middle managers. I guess they spend so much time falling over each other that they don't have time to manage anything.

    The cherry on top of all of this is that your hard work is unlikely to be rewarded. Illumina makes no bones about the fact that it will not give internal candidates preference in hiring for open positions. It's quite frustrating to see external job postings for positions that you (and likely many of your colleagues) are qualified for. The best strategy for advancement at Illumina is to do good work, leave for a few years, and then come back at a higher level.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Applications Scientist in San Diego, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Technical Applications Scientist in San Diego, CA (US)

    I have been working at Illumina full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Cafeteria, RSU (stock), company is doing very well

    Cons

    Schedules are unrealistic, work/life balance suffers greatly, bloated middle management that slows everything down, lots of silos, and a growing number of people who don't seem to have a clear function in the organization

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Illumina should be one of the best places in San Diego to work. It's not.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    A Veterans perspective.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice facility.
    Some good perks all around.
    Fair PTO system.
    Good benefits package.

    Cons

    After serving over 12 years in the US Military I landed a position with Illumina at first all seemed good the facility is very large and the benefits were great for a family person like me. I was glad to be a part of such a large organization because typically that’s good for career growth from within.
    Later as a prior service member who was in a leadership position I noticed that at almost every level they have no leadership per say, they rule by committee & political alliances. If you find yourself inside certain circles you will be fine; but if you’re out of the circles you may as well start looking for a new job.
    I felt certain mid-level managers saw me as a threat to their positions due in part to my experience in leadership and my technical ability and went after me. They kept it legal and the HR was of no help at all this stopping this harassment so I gave my notice, in my exit interview HR did not want to hear me and just kept repeating “prerogative” like a parrot.
    I cannot and will not recommend anyone working at this place especially mid-level career people because they will suffer the most while a person fresh out of college may be able to stand it.
    *This Company if not illegal certainly is an unethical company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None- but one day this behavior will bite you in the end.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    10 Years going to Illumina to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Technician III in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Technician III in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Stock given to me.
    PTO is good system.
    good benefits.
    steady job for ten years with increases first ~8 years.
    Good I cafe.

    Cons

    24/7 work non stop manufacturing.
    Very stress filled & mad people on your back.
    very political environment after 8 years as Illumina grew.
    no system of promotion to next level, all political or friendship based.
    HR provides no balance for employee grievances.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    waste of time as long as the stock is great they could care less.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Experience that is comparable to that of a nightmare

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Illumina full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Top performer financially in the industry. Genomics is a great field to get into as the technology develops and there will be an ever increasing demand worldwide.

    Cons

    Trying my best not to sound like another “disgruntled” employee, there are very serious and legitimate work issues and experiences I had with this company. As far as a workplace goes, a one star review is appropriate for Illumina. My time at there can be best described as torture and unbearable, with treatment being terrible and outright unfair and unethical. As a place to work, it is the absolute worst I have seen, and I am no stranger to tough, high expectation environments. Little reward with unreasonable expectations where your ability to make political alliances matters 100%, and work and quality are not even considered. 72 hours a week or so and no work life balance is requested of you as standard operating procedure. Be prepared to be abused for the privilege of working 72 hours a week, as working that much (or more) for this company gains you nothing unless you are a part of the popularity management clique. Most of the mid level managers do not know the industry and are encouraged to push their employees to the breaking limit, rather than foster and reinforce teamwork and quality work. Executive staff at this company are amongst some of the most despicable human beings I have ever met (meaning zero ethics, no consideration of their employees, only concerned with making numbers, no care for quality of work, end products, customer satisfaction, or employee treatment).

    As a side note at the mid level, be prepared to deal with no one ever willing to take responsibility for their own work, or no one ever willing to make a decision and stand by it for fear of repercussions from above.

    Don’t be fooled by the recent influx of five star reviews. Illumina HR is coming in here and posting fake positive reviews. They are using buzzwords from the Illumina Core Values and other Illumina HR documentation. One review before this one says to pass this place up…and I couldn’t agree more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You should have let Roche acquire you if not for the sake of creating some operational stability and foresight. Greed of management is really the only thing that is clearly showing through, and as a result company is not doing as good as it has before.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Dreadful experience due to management.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Illumina

    Pros

    Compensation is good, don't know about benefits

    Cons

    Heavy Micro Management. To many levels of supervisors, managers, directors. Terrible employee onboarding.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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