Illumina Reviews

Updated 3 September 2014
Updated 3 September 2014
140 Reviews
3.9
140 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Illumina CEO Jay Flatley
Jay Flatley
104 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. 10 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
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Unfair treatment to contractors

    • 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 as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Comparatively, Contractor gets good hourly pay.

    Cons

    Contractor is not allowed to use the gym and not the shower room. So they say company gym cannot cover contractor safety. BS! We can just sign the wavier. However, permanent employees need to sign the wavier, too. So if you normally exercise in the morning, or after work, contractor position at illumina will just make you feel miserably unfair.
    The whole company setting limits the networking and feeling equality for contractors. Being a contractor feel sucks! You will hear, "I'm sorry, you are not allowed to (gym/meeting/etc.)..., since you are a contractor" a lot. It just feels horrible. NOT feel like a part of the company at all.

  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Cutting edge chaos!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Field Service Engineer  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Field Service Engineer in Seattle, WA (US)

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

    Pros

    Good industry dominating products.
    High level of collaboration and communication. Great coworkers and demanding customers(but in a good way). Feels like a sense of purpose, work that is doing good and make the world a better place. Management I report to is very hands off and supportive. Technically challenging and fun. I can say I'm one of few that that finds contentment in a 9-5 job.

    Cons

    Pay and benefits slightly below average. Lots of growing pains in the company, feels chaotic and with roles/processes changing so frequently it's hard to keep up. Parts inventory system is largely ad hoc, constant shortages are the norm. Lots of silly mistakes in documentation, lack of effective processes. Optical based technology although works well, can be dethroned quickly if a competitor comes up with a disruptive technology that is cheaper/faster/simpler and produces good accurate data.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't reinvent the wheel, many of the needed processes already exist and are being used everyday by companies. Continue to heavily invest in future technologies, never ever rest on your laurels. There is a tendency for successful companies to become fat/lazy/complacent, else, go the way of Eastman Kodak.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    What's all the complaining about?

    • 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 full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I keep reading reviews about the horrible work-life balance and how people work endless hours. Then why is the parking lot mostly empty before 9am and after 6pm, and a ghost town on weekends? Don't believe me? Just drive by and see for yourself. Perhaps maybe by San Diego standards Illumina is a demanding employer. Can't get my afternoon surf in, oh my. By most other measures the workload is moderate at best. Contrary to other reviews, the politics are not overwhelming, and collaboration is pretty good. Never had an instance of asking for help from another group and not getting it.

    Cons

    So many layers and titles. OMG! For a company with 2000 people, new scientists and engineers can count at least 11 layers of titles between themselves and the CEO. It is absurd. Decision process is not particularly crisp, but not to the point of getting in the way (too much). Benefits are decent but middle-of-the-road at best. Payscale is on the low side, they can probably get away with it for a while as the dominant company in a hot field, and as long as the overall stock direction is up. Internal systems are either non-existent or abysmal. Fortunately senior management knows it, is fairly open about it, and is working on a solution

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Push decisions down the chain of command. Seems that directors wait for VPs to decide, VPs wait for the SVPs, and the SVPs waffle until Jay speaks up. If there is one organizational thing that can endanger the future health of the company, it is this very issue. So add "decision making" to the GBP process and institutionalize a healthy level of decision ownership at the appropriate level.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great, Till I was laid off

    • 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

    Pros

    Great people, good money, poor management

    Cons

    Long days and short nights

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a clue

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Challenging.

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

    I worked at Illumina full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Learning how solutions can heal cancer.

    Cons

    Cycle count in a -20 freezer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give more protective gearing when entering -20 freezer.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Project Manager Intern

    Current Employee - Project Manager  in  San Diego, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Project Manager in San Diego, CA (US)

    I have been working at Illumina as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Great people and atmosphere. It is a huge company that is really at the forefront of groundbreaking technology. The position was fun with a lot of flexibility and responsibility. Great mentors.

    Cons

    Desk job so there was not a lot of interaction with other employees.

  9. 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 for less than a 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
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Average

    • 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

    Pros

    Good benefits. Great products. My direct coworkers were nice. Very consistent 9 to 5 kind of job.

    Cons

    Didn't see much growth. Hayward felt like the step-child of the company, always had to prove that we were worthy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 10 people found this helpful  

    Don't let the great products fool you

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Illumina full-time

    Pros

    Illumina has cutting edge products and is #1 in every market that it competes in.

    Cons

    Illumina suffers from executives who have not grown with the scale of the company and therefore think they are better managers/leaders than they are. It is much different to manage 100 employees vs. thousands. Execs need to lead by example and inspire others for the demanding work they place on their employees desks. The company is a bit of a country club where the execs reward each other and are very demanding of their employees with little rewards other than the stock price continuing to go up. I remember asking an exec one time if we should benchmark against other companies and their response was "We don't need to benchmark, we're Illumina." Overall I would descrite the culture as stuffy, arrogant with a depressing work environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Double-down on process and leadership. Hold your executives accountable include getting feedback from their employees.

    Approves of CEO

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