Illumina Reviews

Updated 25 August 2014
Updated 25 August 2014
232 Reviews

3.9
232 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Illumina CEO Jay Flatley
Jay Flatley
174 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You get to work with a lot of smart people, and the amenities of the new campus are great (in 11 reviews)

  • cutting-edge research organisation, very nice work culture with decent socialising events for employees (in 10 reviews)


Cons
  • The worst middle management I've ever had in my professional career, the work life balance (in 18 reviews)

  • No work life balance, getting more bureaucratic (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Company that is changing the world and lets you keep your personal life

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

    I have been working at Illumina full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Very open environment, upper management is approachable and friendly
    - Lots of opportunities to stay physically and mentally fit while at work (pickup soccer games at lunch, mindfulness class, organization sports tournaments)
    - Great pay and stock options are very lucrative as the company continues to grow
    - Company is making a major difference in how healthcare will evolve over the next decade, it feels great to be a part of a company that is truly changing the world

    Cons

    - Many business process are still in start up mode and need to mature (this is being addressed by an internal program, but progress is slow)
    - Some expectation of constant availability

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have a larger vision of where we are taking our information systems and how we can utilize this amazing data we have

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    High Tech- High Class

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

    I have been working at Illumina full-time

    Pros

    Highly intelligent yet humble people.
    Fast paced, well well-thought our solutions/processes
    Beautiful Headquarters Location
    Opportunities for growth

    Cons

    Long hours are not uncommon

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the lines of communication open

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great work environment with incredible people!

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

    I have been working at Illumina full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The culture at Illumina is one of a kind. The company really embraces core values such as innovation and collaboration, allowing them to be extremely agile and move quickly to position themselves as leaders in the market.

    This creates an energetic and motivated environment. There are high performance expectations, but with that comes the reward of working in such a positive, exciting atmosphere with INCREDIBLE people.

    The leadership additionally, does a great job at recognizing and rewarding employee contribution- both at the management and senior leadership level.

    Cons

    With extreme growth definitely comes challenge- the organization moves VERY quickly and sets high performance expectations. People who don't thrive in a high-change, fast-paced environment will likely not enjoy it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Everybody was really passionate about what they did and I loved it!

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

    I worked at Illumina as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Flexible times, good people, nice campus.

    Cons

    Contractors don't get a lot of the benefits (like using the gym...)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Best company to work for in San Diego

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Global Marketing
    Current Employee - Global Marketing

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

    Pros

    Exciting culture of innovation, rapid growth. Focused efforts on improving employee satisfaction. Passionate, smart people will change human health.

    Cons

    Long hours, some work/life balance challenges, management practices somewhat outdated, few women in senior leadership roles

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to seek opportunities to communicate with employees in relatable ways, take feedback seriously, and be good role models.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great team dynamic and company culture!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Illumina as an intern

    Pros

    Illumina's open and collaborative culture makes work enjoyable. I can see huge strides in promoting work life balance and more structure. Overall just a great experience and the company just keeps on growing!

    Cons

    The fast growth needs to be paralleled with established process and structure.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Along for the ride

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

    I have been working at Illumina full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    * Market leader in a hot field in science.
    * Work-life balance really isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things (as another poster pointed out, the parking lot is nearly empty after 6:30pm).
    * Because of the appreciating stock, the equity grant and employee stock purchase plan (15% discount) become very lucrative rather quickly.
    * Campus is beautiful and centrally located. Very nice gym.

    Cons

    * Base pay and bonus are a bit low (which is mostly offset by a generous equity component).
    * Leadership is entrenched, and most senior leaders are more interested in keeping favor with Jay (the CEO) than actually doing a good job. The new President seems to lack any real authority.
    * The organization is a bit top-heavy, with limited opportunities to rise out of middle management.
    * The culture is chaotic, in part because management is too short-term focused. Get used to arbitrary and completely unrealistic timelines, all for the sake of pleasing Jay. Putting out fires becomes a daily activity.
    * The company's push into the clinical/diagnostic markets is unstructured and poorly executed.
    * Reorgs every 12-18 months can make or break your career. In the four+ years that I have been at Illumina, we have reorged three times - mostly for the worse. The company can't figure out how to align itself to push into critical new markets.
    * The company lacks even basic processes to operate like a grown-up company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to delegate (especially at the senior executive level). Create more opportunities for young talent to rise into leadership positions. Listen to your employees (I mean, take off your rose-colored glasses and really dig into the employee surveys).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    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 for 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
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Front line Soldier

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing Technology, Innovator, Market Disruptor, Great San Diego campus

    Cons

    Just read the Glassdoor criticisms -- they are mostly legitimate. But Illumina is still a young company and is going through expected growing pains.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire the best and let your employees take you to the next level. Matt is the real leader of the future. Most want to work for him because he hires the best, lets them do their jobs, and provides the vision and support they need. Too many executives are obsessed with not losing their jobs and pleasing Jay. Start promoting more of us into senior management and move over.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 8 people found this helpful  

    The grass is not always greener

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

    I worked at Illumina full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the largest and fastest growing companies in San Diego.

    Competitive pay and benefits

    Innovative products

    Cons

    I have worked for several biotech companies as a territory manager and sales rep previously. Coming from smaller and medium sized biotechs in the past. I thought I had hit the jackpot with securing a position with Illumina. One of the largest and fastest growing companies in San Diego. Well, the grass is not always greener on the other side. It was the worst sales position and career move that I had chosen. My biotech lab and sales career has been long and really rewarding. Being in sales, I am a people person. I can relate to a very wide demographic of people. Yet, Illumina's company, culture and vibe was just a disconnect for me. It never really felt like a community or even welcoming to me. All the other companies that I worked for, there was transparency and cross departmental collaboration. At Illumina, it was like pulling teeth to get any assistance from marketing, product managers, technical support, customer service, fulfillment, and logistics. Nobody ever wanted to help each other. Each department seemed to be against each other. Never felt a collaborative effort. It was a very self serving or self preservation type of company culture. I guess it is understandable when I saw some colleagues fired out of the blue. If you see something like that, you probably want to keep very busy and your head down. As many other reviews here, I would have to agree that upper management has a deficiency in leading and growing this company.

    The sales teams were made mostly from people that have no science or biotech experience at all. How can your front line representatives sell an instrument when they have never worked in a lab or have zero understanding of the up or downstream processes that the instrument is going to fit into. There was one week of training but it was more like them turning on a fire hose. Trying to cram everything into one week. Online self training was also idiotic. Those that did not have previous scientific or biotech industry background didn't have a chance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire experienced and educated sales professionals.

    Protect your employees first. Use layoffs as a last resort effort vs. a tool to protect your job because you missed an earnings call.

    There is probably no right way to lay people off but CEO Jay and upper management, please don't joke, smile and shake employees hands as you lead them into a corporate layoff meeting.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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