Refinery29 Reviews | Glassdoor

Refinery29 Reviews

Updated October 17, 2018
132 reviews

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2.7
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Philippe von Borries
74 Ratings

132 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great themed monthly birthday celebrations, snack-filled kitchens, frequent happy hours" (in 8 reviews)

  • "Nice work environment, people are mostly kind to you" (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • "I would also argue that the people who have complained about work/life balance do not understand what a high-growth digital environment is really like" (in 22 reviews)

  • "No work/life balance and no appreciation provided for hard work put in" (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great company"

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    great colleagues, good opportunity, good perks

    Cons

    senior management is not transparent and layoffs happen frequently


  2. "Fun Brand, But Stuggling Company"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Major opportunity to build relationships

    Cons

    Lack of accountability. Ineptitude goes far if dressed with a smile. Unqualified management - mid and senior. No training or development processes, so cycle of talent gaps perpetuate. Inauthentic message of empowerment that doesn’t translate to business decisions.

  3. "Great Place To Work"

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Extremely inclusive environment, excellent benefits and office culture.

    Cons

    Not a ton of critical feedback, occasional overload of tasks.


  4. "Sink or swim"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Beautiful space. Free bagels. Cool coworkers.

    Cons

    SO many meetings. The pace was crazy. There was little conversation with top level management.


  5. "The good and the bad..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Well known media brand. Company know's it's lane well. Highly creative team.

    Cons

    As a company on several rounds of financing already, the bottom line is being profitable. The tail wags the dog here. The team in place straddles the line between creative and $$$ really well. You will not make money here but you will get an education on digital media.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the minions. You demo is all around you. Your company is not big enough for the upper management not to be engaged with them.


  6. Helpful (37)

    "Confusing, Directionless Content Factory Run By Faux Feminists"

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Has all the cute things you imagine when you think of a female-focused start-up vibe: Instagrammable couches, cool wall art, succulents, rosé happy hours, lots of free books, stylish coworkers
    -The people at the mid and senior level are really smart, creative, eager, and bring great ideas to the table...they see the vision of this place and want so badly to make it a reality, but their ideas are blocked at every turn by directors and exec
    -29Rooms
    -Depending on how well you negotiate going in, you can end up with a really good salary here. Bonuses are generous for media companies, and there are nice perks in terms of discounted gym memberships, etc
    -It's sink or swim environment, which is a pro in that if you swim, you'll leave knowing you can handle a crazy pace, insurmountable workload, and you'll get experience in all facets of the company, from editorial to branded to SEO to sales to creative, because your job responsibilities are constantly evolving to include things that really make little sense for you to have your hand in
    -Brands are obsessed with R29 and you'll get access to a lot of trips and coverage that you wouldn't at other companies. To many on the outside, R29 still looks like it's unstoppable and to the NYC media circle, it's impressive to say you work there. Inside, everyone knows it's in turmoil.

    Cons

    The smaller things:
    -No flexibility when it comes to working from home.
    -SO MANY MEETINGS. This company loves nothing more than a meeting for everything that could be an email. You're forced to waste an hour and a half of time listening to the tech team talk about the latest fix they're making to the system, then when you get back to your desk and haven't finished your work, they're on you for it all day.
    -Don't ever expect to take a lunch break or leave before 7.

    The real problem with this place, though, is that it sucks you in with its perfectly packaged, millennial pink brand image and message of badass female empowerment and by the time you realize it's a farce and all the founders care about is traffic and money and celebrity and you'll never actually get to accomplish anything you were supposedly hired for, it's too late. There are a dozen or so "stars" of this company—people that get their own YouTube show, are given the time and funds to work on their one big dream project, get to travel the world for exposés and mini video series, or get to focus on reporting a couple of big feature stories per month. A few of these people are genuinely talented, most are pets of the founders with rich dads. The rest of us slog away at our desks and are given insane traffic and story count goals that mean we have to write and edit the most banal of posts while being told over and over and over again that we can have the space and time to work on our passion projects. Know this: You will NEVER get the time.

    You'll be told you can write about whatever you want, sky's the limit, but it turns out, you can only have opinions if they align with the top-level opinions, you can't risk offending anyone (R29 is PC culture on crack, which, BTW, you wouldn't be able to say because some people abuse crack), you can't be angry ("people come to us for positivity"), and you probably don't need to tell whatever your story is if you're white and straight and a size 0-8 and able-bodied because your voice has been heard enough, thank you very much.

    If you're black/latinx/asian, overweight, have some sort of physical handicap, or are LGBTQ+, on the other hand, you're hired because this company loves a token it can trot out when needed to show just how diverse and inclusive they are. You'd think if they cared so much about diversity, there'd be some at the top, but privileged white men and women run the show here. It's comical to watch the thin, pretty, faux PC white girls pitch stories about the kind of cultural appropriation they were guilty of back in their sorority days and discuss hijabs and black curl patterns and plus-size body types with smug authority.

    But if you ignore all the issues and work hard overtime and produce great work that does well and get along with everyone, you should be safe, right? Wrong. The most loyal, longstanding, talented employees get laid off and let go without warning, which then makes everyone constantly fearful for their job safety and on edge any time the company calls a mysterious emergency meeting. It's a place run by fear and managers with zero training and top brass loyal only to their instagram follower count. But it looks good on a resume.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach, don't give inexperienced 26 year olds "director" titles, realize that if you let people do what they're passionate about, the quality of the work will skyrocket.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Management is terrible. Fake feminism and passive-aggressive workplace culture."

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Occasionally get to contribute with interesting content.

    Cons

    Management is slow, unresponsive, and hypocritical. Promotions never happen but layoffs do. Generally, employees are lied to.

    Advice to Management

    TRANSPARENCY

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Slaves to current ‘work culture’"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Revenue in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Revenue in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Refinery29 is one of the only authentic, genuine, mission-drive brands in the space. From founders who don’t have an ounce of entitlement to teams that pour everything they have into bringing inclusivity, positivity and a sense of belonging to every piece of content published, both online and offline. One of the only financially sound and successful digital brands in the marketplace today.

    Cons

    Slaves to entitled work culture of the ‘new era’. Many employees have yet to work at other companies and lack an overall appreciation for 1) pay, which is in most cases more than competitors offer 2) work life balance (where else can you come and go freely, receive tools that allow you to work from virtually anywhere while no one questions where you are and only champions you and your work) and 3) opportunity to work with the smartest and most talented people in the industry (people actually come to Refinery29 from large heritage publishing houses with the sole purpose of learning and understanding digital media)

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what your doing. Stop letting entitled culture of this new generational era trip you up. Let go of toxic people and appreciate the ones who love the brand as you do (there is no shortage of resumes and people who consider the opportunity to work at Refinery29 a dream). Pat yourselves on the back and keep up the amazing job.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Director"

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Growth, Flexibility and mission that company stands for is powerful, especially for a female environment

    Cons

    Hostile culture and work environment and inability to understand long term goals

    Advice to Management

    Get to know employees better and listen to their feedback.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Eh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Most of the people are okay

    Cons

    For a company that promotes equal pay, there is a discrepancy between how people are paid. Basically making very low money unless you’re super high up or in sales


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