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Genentech Reviews

Updated May 19, 2017
126 reviews

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Genentech CEO Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson
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126 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance is encouraged in departments that I've interacted with (in 125 reviews)

  • Awesome company with great benefits (in 161 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance is not always easy because most jobs require long hours (in 92 reviews)

  • can be difficult to have a full time opportunity as they need several years of experience (in 58 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Contractors will not be a priority"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Project Manager in Oceanside, CA
    Former Contractor - Project Manager in Oceanside, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Genentech as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Company has been around for a long time, lots of perks if you're an employee or an intern.

    Cons

    Interns are treated better than contractors with the option to do many things and have the "blue badge" and can accrue their time there to use their "sabbatical" once they're working there full time. Permanent Jobs are offered to interns before they consider a contractor that has been there for 3 years.

    Company takes forever to decide on anything and no processes are in place. Higher ups get to spend money frivolously and then panic when we are over budget. Then they cut the contractors who worked and did practically their entire project.

    Advice to Management

    Realign and figure out which "permanent" employee is just dead weight and which contractors are worth converting to full time. Also, interns are just glorified teenagers who gets free cars and housing and does nothing all day but be on their phones, yet gets full credit when a project is done. Cut back on the internship benefits, it's hurting the company in the long haul.


  2. "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.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "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.


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  5. Helpful (11)

    "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


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Senior Manufacturing Technician"

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

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

    Pros

    People at your peer level are great

    Cons

    Management gives a lot of lip service to employees

    Advice to Management

    If your offering something to your employees, then offer it! Don't offer it 2 yrs later


  7. Helpful (4)

    "The Safety Assessment Department needs better management!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Scientist in South San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Scientist in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Friendly staff. Nice cafeteria. Nice campus.

    Cons

    There is no work/life balance. No opportunity for advancement. No effective management. No innovation. Lots of bureaucracy. I would not recommend Genentech to a friend.

    Advice to Management

    Do your job! Inspire staff! Be present! Reward innovation! Less bureaucracy!


  8. "QA & Validation Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - QA Engineer in South San Francisco, CA
    Former Contractor - QA Engineer in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Genentech as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Opportunity to read and network across groups.
    Congratulation for good work done is recognized here.
    Upper management (Director and above) understand the difficulties of accomplishing tasks and have terrific foresight.

    Cons

    Subculture within groups are different across the company.
    Within quality groups, average age of employees are high and inversely proportional to basic computer skills. Also for some reason not updated with industry technology.
    In quality validation, assistance for work likely come from outside of your group.
    Quality of work verification low - discouraging incentive to trained employees because work "need to be done correctly".
    Finally, many quality managers don't align with the values of Roche, but gets the job done-- this hindering efforts to create an environment that is simultaneously values-centered and performance-driven.
    Employees don't differentiate between rational and intelligent choices
    Culture of using "busy" as an excuse to work as if they're in a silo

    Advice to Management

    Introduce your new hires and the function they bring to the team the first week they arrive. Introduce them to teams/people that your team interfaces with so they can get work done on their own. Assign them to assist with projects in your group in <3 months. Take responsibility to integrate your hire to your team - do not hand off that responsibility because that is sure failure. Fire your managers that use a hands-off approach because they hire smart people but don't following through to using new hires effectively; all new hires basically sit on their computers doing nothing useful -- eventually they'll just use your resources to look for another position.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Not a good place to be a temp or contractor."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QC Analyst I in South San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - QC Analyst I in South San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Genentech (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I gained so much valuable experience at this company that really boosted my resume. It is a company with a lot of resources and innovations to help you work productively. Because of this company I'm qualified for many advanced positions.

    Cons

    Genentech is hailed as one of the greatest places to work. An asterix should be added to that as that only applies to employees and huge percentage (guessing at least 30 percent and growing) of the workforce there is contracted out or temps.

    Genentech treats contractors so poorly and the proportion of contractors is way too high especially for advanced level work that is not needed for a temporary basis.

    They never get recognized even though they do most of the work, pay is horrible, have to pay for corporate buses, are not invited to department meetings or celebrations, and the contractor parking lot is at a undesirable warehouse location 15 minutes away even though permanent employee parking always has available spaces. I have not seen so much segregation in a corporation.

    As a contractor for 3 years there I've seen countless advanced positions which should be designated for permanent employees go to contractors for half the pay. Most of these contractors end up never getting hired even though they perform well often. Most I see leave in less than a year.

    Advice to Management

    Treat contractors as you would treat an employee. Also consider hiring contractors that offer better talent than you own employees. I've seen countless contractors with high performance never get hired and it's very sad.

    Hire more permanent talent that performs better instead of wasting your time hiring contractors that do not perform as well and leave. It's a waste of money and time in searching for talent, talent is wasted when a contractor leaves, a good chunk of the money goes to contract agencies and prounlimited, training is wasted, and the talent for permanent employees would be much more productive.

    Genentech Response

    Sep 6, 2016 – Staffing Programs

    Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. We have learned a lot, both from our reviews and our workforce. Our continued focus is to create an environment that allows everyone to do their best ... More


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Overrated"

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

    I worked at Genentech as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The environment is nice and the people are friendly

    Cons

    Lots of waste in terms of money, resources, and talent stemming from an attitude that the company can do no wrong so you should not question things. In interviewing for the job I was told that the company employed best practices in the industry but that wasn't the case at all. What I found instead was that processes and metrics had been slapped together that made for a lot of confusion.and erroneous thinking. I offered what assistance I could but when I was told I needed to start thinking the same way, I could not wait for the end of my assignment. Space is also an issue. Contractors were given a laptop and then expected to work wherever they could find a place to sit. Many wound up working out of the cafeteria.

    Advice to Management

    Rather than raising prices on your products to cover gaps in your budget start employing Lean practices and eliminate the waste that is so obvious to people when they first come on board.

    Genentech Response

    Aug 15, 2016 – Staffing Programs

    Thank you for sharing this review with us. We’re sorry to hear that your experience with management is not as positive as most. We know this can be impactful on employees since their managers ... More


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Culture Clash with Roche"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in South San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in South San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    People promotion, tiered benefits, decent food.

    Cons

    highly political, in meetings 8am to 5pm, extremely hierarchical management, can't use all the benefits because I was too busy working.

    Advice to Management

    Cut out some of the layers of middle management. Keep on promoting your people.


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