Illumina Reviews

Updated 28 September, 2014
Updated 28 September, 2014
142 Reviews
3.9
142 Reviews
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Illumina CEO Jay Flatley
Jay Flatley
105 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

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Totally satisfied with my work at Illumina

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

    I have been working at Illumina as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    liked the work, culture, wide range of opportunities

    Cons

    I don't see any cons so far.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 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 (less than an 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
  3.  

    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 (less than an 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
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    One of the best companies to work for in San Diego

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

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

    Pros

    Tons of time off. There are two company shut downs annually (summer / winter) where you get at least a week off that doesn't count against the regular paid company holidays or your regularly accrued vacation time.

    The facilities are amazing. The buildings are beautiful with a lot of amenities. The gym is great and has a lot of equipment and is very open. The locker rooms and shower areas are first class. The convenience of the iCafe for fresh meals, salads and everything else you could want. The coffee shops, and the free coffee pods in all the breakrooms keeps you going!

    The pay is very competitive, especially if you are granted stock. Between bonuses, salary, equity, benefits, 401K match, employee stock purchases, the total compensation package is very good.

    It's an innovative company that is exciting to work for. The speakers and seminars are current and interesting and it's exciting to understand what other parts of the business are doing to contribute.

    Cons

    As the company grows, it's becoming more bureaucratic because of the new global business processes and committees you need to get approval from before working on projects. The ability to innovate and move quickly is hampered.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Manage the ERP implementation more carefully. This change alone has the ability to paralyze the company. Don't get rid of best in class applications like SalesForce in an effort to bring everything under one SAP solution. SAP is a kludgy system comprised of acquired systems and isn't a single architecture. It is cumbersome and requires highly paid consultants to make changes and fix breaks. The future is cloud-based, multi-tenant SAAS solutions. It would be great if Illumina had a dedicated CIO.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 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 (more than an 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
  7.  

    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 (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
  8.  

    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
  9. 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 (UK)
    Former Employee - Not Applicable in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    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
  10. 2 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
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 (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

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