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Genentech Reviews

Updated April 28, 2017
1,063 reviews

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4.1
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Genentech CEO Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson
30 Ratings

1,063 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance is encouraged in departments that I've interacted with (in 123 reviews)

  • Awesome company with great benefits (in 161 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance is not always easy because most jobs require long hours (in 91 reviews)

  • can be difficult to have a full time opportunity as they need several years of experience (in 57 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Material management Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Material Management in Hillsboro, OR
    Current Intern - Material Management in Hillsboro, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Genentech as an intern (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work. Lot of encouragement from management. Good place to learn for recent graduates.

    Cons

    Difficult to convert to Full time, Hire lot of contractors


  2. "Manager, Engineering"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Group Lead, DS MSAT in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Group Lead, DS MSAT in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Heavily resourced manufacturing network with strong international ties.

    Cons

    High level of bureaucracy and often ineffective governance.

    Advice to Management

    Get involved in the fundamental daily tasks to ensure that you can break down barriers to progress.


  3. "Poor Mid-Level Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Genentech as a contractor

    Pros

    Good test facilities, Important work

    Cons

    I can speak only for what I and numerous other colleagues, who are all well-experienced engineering contractors, often say in private to one another about how we are treated within our respective project teams in our department, which deals interdepartmentally with the development of combination devices.

    When I first came to the company my manager proactively warned me that "There are LOTS of land-mines here!”, particularly in dealing interdepartmentally with the device team. But what kind of a department constantly requires its engineering contractors, whom it titles as “managers”, to walk on egg shells and contend with preexisting bad internal politics originating from mid-level management in a different department?

    Although each of us is well-educated and has many years of broad experience and accomplishments in the industry, our actions and contributions are frequently blocked because of internal politics stemming from immature mid-level management.

    For example, one interdepartmental manager will go out of his way to whine whenever we take the slightest initiative necessary to get the required work done on time. The departments deliberately work in silos and so there is poor collaboration interdepartmentally. Yes, there are regular interdepartmental meetings; but one cannot speak both factually and freely in them lest it might rub one manager the wrong way.

    Behind the scenes, initiative and drive are actively discouraged and contractors know that they will be chastised even for making a simple phone call to another departmental manager to ask a question necessary to complete their work. We are told that such communication can mushroom into prolonged back and forth discussions and questions; but that would only mean that others are uncertain of their own roles and that there exists a broader lack of direction from management at higher levels. In reality this is just a heavy-handed way to restrict the internal channels and free flow of information simply so that one manager can protect his turf.

    While not knowing the subject matter and the respective responsibilities of the players, one interdepartmental manager will enter the offices of our department and tell us how he personally wants us to conduct our work, and regardless of how inefficient following his “instructions” would be. Some of us suffer it in quiet, while others don’t tolerate it well. Unfortunately, our own department’s and group's managers kowtow to that interdepartmental manager for purely political reasons that are well known to all of us who have been here for awhile.

    Correctly point out a technical error or gap that might even remotely reflect on one interdepartmental manager’s competence, and he will likely get you canned; and this regardless of whether that information is important for other team members to know. A significant number of high-performing employees reporting directly to that manager have left the company abruptly in the middle of the development program; and he has eroded our contractor base as well. Unfortunately, this also trickles down to some members on his team who are unwilling to consider the advice of well-seasoned contractors - and, as a result, end up reinventing the wheel badly.

    The longer one stays, the clearer it becomes that what mid-level management actually expects from its contractors is to be little more than paper pushers and rubber-stampers, and all for the sake of office politics. Management talks a good game, but practices something quite different. Often common sense is missing from mid-level management. Placating one interdepartmental manager, through silence and groveling, is far more important than driving efficiency and yielding tangible, accurate, and prompt results; and our own manager has made that clear to each of us.

    Higher-level management professes that it wants collaboration, risk taking, and a free flow of ideas; but in practice these are not only discouraged, but aggressively penalized behind the scenes by mid-level managers. This happens particularly when technical blunders on the part of one interdepartmental manager and his direct reports become apparent in the course of work by the contractors. And this occurs in spite of the fact that we don’t just identify errors and gaps, but also offer our help with practical, up-front solutions.

    Frequently there is gossiping, misrepresentation, gross distortion, and hypersensitivity by one interdepartmental manager who apparently feels embarrassed by his technical blunders and/or over-shadowed or upstaged in his responsibility when dealing with us. Even the free flow of technical information and input is hindered.

    Worse, there is little accountability for employees and mid-level management. Schedules are easily and repeatedly slipped. Try to improve the methods and practices, while still complying with the existing systems, and you will likely face a brick wall if it requires even a minimal interdepartmental effort.

    There is a lot of tribal knowledge that is often not well communicated to anyone new. Technical software that could improve efficiency is not purchased or implemented expeditiously, even for a small engineering group. There are many prolonged and inefficient meetings yielding no tangible results and without managerial discretion regarding who actually needs to attend - thus resulting in still more waste in the form of hidden costs.

    There is an implicit attitude that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"; and this contrasts with the "continuous improvement” professed by management. Procrastination is the name of the game whenever practical improvements are proposed. There is a tendency to sweep technical mistakes and gaps under the rug, rather than admit and address them forthrightly. Fear, hierarchy, and politics inhibit true collaboration and improvement between these departments.

    Compounding this, the terms of our contracts are being substantially shortened mid-stream during active programs, as our own department’s management suddenly decided to change the long-standing policy of using contractors and instead replace us with new direct employees. Sure the company has the right to do that, but why risk disrupting the active programs while demoralizing good contractors who consequently might jump ship early? Several of us have already discussed amongst ourselves leaving the company for this very reason. Our department’s manager announced that more agile and swifter pharmaceutical competitors are now on the heels of this company; and yet haphazard decisions are still being made in these departments.

    In summary, the good culture and values that are endlessly professed at the company are glibly regurgitated but not practiced by our mid-level management. Instead, our work environment is fraught with an adversarial hierarchy, bad politics, and intimidation.

    Advice to Management

    Find out the *real* reasons that a significant number of the direct reports of mid-level management left the department mid-stream during their projects. Run a 360 degree anonymous review of managers among employees and contractors in different departments. Immature managers are hurting your good workers, incurring hidden costs to the company by causing unnecessary departures of high performing employees, and damaging the company's reputation while exhibiting abominable behavior behind-the-scenes.


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  5. "A good place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great (non-monetary) benefits, great tuition reimbursement program, work life balance tends to be good

    Cons

    Salaries are typically lower than industry standards, management is hot and cold...few really great managers, some really bad managers, contractor staff make it hard for regular employees to move around the company


  6. "Training Development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Training and Development Specialist in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Contractor - Training and Development Specialist in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Genentech as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Epic company parties. Cutting edge research. Beautiful campus. Free company buss.

    Cons

    You are always at risk of being laid off. Genentech loves to replace Blue badge employees with contractors. Contractors are not allowed to go to company events even though they do the same work as regular employees. This is why Genentech loves to convert positions. They might save a couple bucks in the short term, but will cost them much more in the long term due to higher separation rates and expensive human capital replacement costs. If your looking for a job there great but don't look for a career.

    Advice to Management

    Think of the companies well being before your own. 'Green' badge employees (Contractors) who do the same work as 'Blue' badge employees (FTE) should be treated the same.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Working in Genentech Product Development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager, Training & Support Services in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager, Training & Support Services in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Genentech full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility, work life balance, work environment (office space), opportunity, benefits (medical, transportation, fitness).

    Cons

    Such a large organization, takes so long to get things done, many layers of management, consensus-like decision making slows things down

    Advice to Management

    We need to overhaul the way we team and work in order to be more Agile and quick. We will not be successful by trying to solve this agility problem in the way that we have in the past.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Flexibility in working hours and working from home, employee focus, good benefits, nice people with a good pipeline. It is work hard and party hard atmosphere

    Cons

    Flat structure, no proper pathway to move to next level, many processes to follow, one tends to get lost in the process requirements that becomes convoluted every year


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazing benefits
    Competitive compensation (i.e. Commercial roles on par with consulting)
    Decent work life balance
    Internal mobility and development highly encouraged

    Cons

    The commercial functions do tend to get into analysis paralysis mode sometimes with unnecessary rigor. Other than that, nothing major!

    Advice to Management

    Be careful with tampering with the existing culture and benefirs as biosimilars put pressure on the business


  10. Helpful (10)

    "Not what it used to be..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Systems Analyst in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Business Systems Analyst in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Beautiful Campus, generous 401k, nice co-workers

    Cons

    Nepotism - When a job is opened, it is clear who will get it before the process even starts - the hiring manager's favorite. Interviewing for positions is basically a waste of time unless you've been "tapped" and only serves to tick HR boxes. The same goes for promotions - the most deserving rarely get them...

    Insecurity - constant re-orgs by the parent company leave you feeling one re-org away from being out of job. Good people are jumping ship for a little security as it appears most headcount is now heading overseas..at least in IT

    Salaries: not keeping up with Bay Area reality. Management keep saying they are addressing it..but they are not. It's almost as if they don't want to attract the top talent anymore. People jump to other companies to get their fair market value - particularly in the Bay Area.

    Advice to Management

    Level the playing field for internal promotions & job transfers.
    Admit what the medium/long term plans are for IT organizations (we can all see it, we all know and are just waiting for the axe to drop)

    Genentech Response

    Apr 5, 2017 – Account Manager

    Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback. We greatly appreciate hearing our employees' input on how we might continue to evolve and improve our processes. Regarding internal ... More


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Couldn't be More Proud to Work Here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Genentech full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Rewarding work - contributing to the benefit of patients in need
    Transparency in Leadership - frequent communication, even when leadership may not have all the answers at the moment
    Valued Employees - In the 10+ years I've worked here, I have always felt valued and supported as an employee

    Cons

    I would like to see more diversity in senior leadership


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