Amyris Reviews | Glassdoor

Amyris Reviews

Updated June 24, 2017
51 reviews

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3.5
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John Melo
21 Ratings

51 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • People are nice, very glad to help (in 4 reviews)

  • Great science and R&D organization (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper management who are unfamiliar with technology set up impossible goal based only on economic calculation (in 3 reviews)

  • things are constantly changing and employees are always expected to just get with the program and perform at their best (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "A confused place to work. Too many products, too many goals. No set direction/path."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Amyris full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Some people are nice to work with. Great perks for employees.

    Cons

    I have never seen any Company except Amyris that has so many Managers and Directors, and most of these people are not even appropriate for the roles. Management lacks communication, projects lack execution. Unnecessary tight deadlines, and inefficiency created by the management, requires people to work long hours, holidays and weekend. Poor and sad place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Higher managers is not the solution to every problem. The key is to retain staff, and people hard working people happy.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "finance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Happy hour, but rarely attended due to busy schedule.

    Cons

    Low employee morale, too much workload, bad management.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "It's like high school."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Overall, the employees are warm and friendly. There are so many personality types that you're bound to find people you identify with.

    Cons

    Amyris is overstaffed, particularly in the higher levels of the organization. The company spends frivolously while we are not profitable and have a very negative cash flow. Lastly, the managerial staff have little to no experience is supervising another person which allows for office politics to become easily involved.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the weight of the organization but not at the expense of the folks who are truly running the science. Re-evaluate managerial positions and re-train those who need assistance.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Great science, very poor management, too top heavy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Coworkers are top notch. The Associate Scientists/RAs are all hard-working and fun to be around. The lab scientists and project leaders are some of the most intelligent, creative, and hard-working people I've met. Just brilliant. Benefits are decent, trying to stay on par with many other tech startups in the area.

    Cons

    The company retains way too many managers. Many high-level employees are bad at their jobs, many are quite unproductive, and some positions are even redundant. They command large salaries for being good at snaking up the ladder and not advocate for their workers. When layoffs happen, it is almost all salary-cheap, diligent RAs/lab scientists that are forced to leave. The ratio at one point was practically 2 managers to every 1 lab employee. The company shows no loyalty to those who have saved the business through innovation before. Prepare for the pharma treatment.
    Upper management is completely disconnected from the science. There is large amounts of politics and dishonesty involved in major decisions.

    Advice to Management

    If you are going to trim the fat, start higher up the chain. Most importantly, stop selecting for dishonest, selfish, overly-aggressive yes-men/yes-women to be promoted to directors and such. Look for those who have strong technical understanding of the science, advocates his/her employees, gains the trust of those they work with, and develops the talent of the company.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Difficult Industry Creates Difficult Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Amyris full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    They take care of their employees with good benefits, perks, and very nice facilities. For certain roles in R&D, there are plenty of exciting challenges to work on.

    Cons

    The culture has suffered from lots of turnover and and slow and painful "growing up" phase of the company since its arguably premature IPO. The culture that was a major selling point has disappeared with the departure of the founders. Sales, marketing, and G&A roles face challenges with constantly changing priorities and lots of politics as talented people try to protect their turf.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "was better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Amyris full-time

    Pros

    people, the science, opportunities to work in different department if you have the time

    Cons

    management was poor and not honest about the status of the company


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Top heavy, redundant positions"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Scientist II in Emeryville, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Scientist II in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Amyris full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people - in a short time period you will find yourself referring to them as your friends and not your coworkers
    Great benefits - amazing health coverage, really hard to beat
    Relaxed atmosphere - HR probably has a hard time handling that one, but it definitely makes for a fun work day

    Cons

    Depending on your department and line management you can be in for a very promising or very frustrating portion of your career. Some directors and managers value each new hire and each current employee as an opportunity to better the company, while others just keep going with whatever flow is going on - even if it's a flow of employees leaving for better work. There are quite a few managers that have a strong background in technical knowledge, but are not well equipped to manage a team nor find the value in increasing their management skills to do so.

    There are a lot of overpaid, overpromoted individuals that are not capable of performing the duties required for their role. This devalues the promotion and pay increase of individuals that are highly deserving. These individuals often will speak about a lack of motivation to perform above and beyond since other colleagues will gain the same promotion for minimal work. There are also quite a few redundant positions. This group of paid personnel that questionably provides value to the company could be used to benefit the company by providing their services to high impact departmental support roles if pushed in that direction, but the lack of insight from management prevents that.

    Advice to Management

    Look for ways to restructure personnel organization. Just because it worked when the company was <100 people doesn't mean it will work forever. The company changes rapidly, so should the methods of management. Support lower level employees from within the company, there are a lot of bright minds capable of a lot more than Amyris is offering them.

  8. Helpful (8)

    "High Turnovers = Low Employee Morale"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Emeryville, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Amyris full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some fun employee events, like Top Dog day, Happy Hours, softball teams, kegs, subsidized lunches, etc. Might be a good starter job or a short-term position for those fresh out of college since there is a lot to learn from your peers and mentors, across other departments.

    Cons

    As mentioned in previous reviews, the company had become increasingly top-heavy, especially after layoffs of people who do the wet work in labs, and hiring of upper level management...BUT productivity expected to be the same, with unrealistic deadlines.

    Management had lost the trust of their employees (and never regained it back after all these years), which have led to mass exoduses and low morale for those who remain. Managers, company-wide, have systematically undervalued their people. They're all replaceable cogs in their machinery. The paranoia/lack of trust was so bad that most people don't even trust surveys to be anonymous because their HR has an untrustworthy reputation, which is uncharacteristic of such a department. Those are signs of a toxic work environment. It was a mental challenge to work there day in and day out. I was lucky to get out when I did. Looks like nothing has improved since, according to my old colleagues, who are actively seeking employment elsewhere. Good luck to them.

    There was a lot of competition between and within departments. It fosters unhealthy working relationships -- cutthroat at times. People tell me that opportunities to move to different departments no longer happen as frequently as their glory years, which was one of its selling points.

    My years there were very mentally-exhaustive and detrimental to your emotional well-being. Other people have observed how working there have changed them for the worse. Once trusting and naive college graduates transformed into downtrodden cynics.

    Advice to Management

    For the biotech industry, the company has unusually high turnover for the past several years. In order for the company to keep some of the greatest, creative, scientific minds, management and HR MUST value the employees as assets and treat them with respect and appreciation. Happy employees make for happy hard-working, loyal workers. It's not that hard...


  9. Helpful (5)

    "All that glitters is not gold"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Emeryville, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Amyris full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have met some great people at Amyris and made many friends. Generally relaxed culture, depending on where you work. Free snacks, some lunches, free beer. Top notch science - industry leaders in biosynthetic engineering

    Cons

    I have met some pretty despicable people at Amyris. The promise of a socially responsible company doing great science for humankind is a misleading picture that serves to bring young idealistic youth to the company. The hope of a future career is dashed when the business reality is understood by all but the completely naive, and then cynicism, self-interest, favoritism take over. Management ranges from incompetent to benign to malevolently controlling and territorial.

    Advice to Management

    Develop a fair and equitable system of compensation for lower level employees. Stop applying favoritism in promotions. Get rid of abusive and incompetent managers. Just treat people right and they will do right by you.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Lots of stress"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Amyris full-time

    Pros

    Paid well and the work was very interesting, lots of very smart people there.

    Cons

    Too many managers, and scientists out of the lab. Agressive deadlines that management didn't have realistic expectations for.


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