Refinery29 Employee Reviews about "people"
44% would recommend to a friend
(101 total reviews)
Philippe von Borries
38% approve of CEO
What people are saying about Refinery29
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Top Review Highlights by Sentiment
Excerpts from user reviews, not authored by Glassdoor
- "The people are creative and young" (in 27 reviews)
- "Amazing team to work with!" (in 12 reviews)
- "some of your coworkers are cool but they are probably not super friendly to you unless you are both the same level of peon" (in 10 reviews)
- "Beautiful office" (in 6 reviews)
- "Very healthy work environment, I have yet to encounter nastiness, back stabbing, aggression" (in 4 reviews)
- "'Managers' with zero management experience." (in 15 reviews)
- "NO work life balance; unsustainable and will burn you out." (in 12 reviews)
- "low pay not in line with the industry or people's experience" (in 8 reviews)
- "Upper management is ignorant of the fact that employees have no work" (in 8 reviews)
- "Hours are long and personnel is under appreciated." (in 8 reviews)
Ratings by Demographics
This rating reflects the overall rating of Refinery29 and is not affected by filters.
Found 101 of over 269 reviews
Updated Oct 23, 2023
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Reviews about "people"Return to all Reviews
- 1.0Mar 18, 2018WriterCurrent Employee, more than 1 yearNew York, NY
- The people you directly work with everyday are some of the most inspiring and talented. - Being able to work on stuff you care about.
Where to begin? This company has steadily gone downhill in the two years I’ve been there: - The place has been hemorrhaging money, so now they’re trying to fix the situation by cutting everything from snacks and other office perks to refusing to hand out even a 5% raise. - The salaries are a joke. Influencers are paid a ton, while low-level staffers are paid peanuts. This is a place that launches campaigns encouraging women to negotiate their salaries and ask for a raise, but then tell you they can’t give you one. And the pay disparity between people in the *same role* can go as high as $17K. So much for “equal pay for equal work.” - The lack of communication is part of the culture. You’ll find out about projects, deadlines and other important stuff at the very last minute because no one bothers to communicate between departments. It’s ridiculous. - This place is peak white feminism™. While there’s obviously about 95% women in management and low-level roles, most of them are white and privileged. Which means they’re severe gaps in the way the content, messaging and other things are managed. Launching a thing like Unbothered (which was an idea of the Black women at lower levels, not management) is a step in the right direction. But what about hiring more people of different ethnic, racial, religious backgrounds? Lots of talk about how “radical inclusivity” is part of the company’s values, but it is not put into practice.29
- 2.0Jan 12, 2017Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee
R29 has some of the most creative & passionate people I've ever worked with. The environment can be great and everyone seems to have the same goals in mind when it comes to the impact that the content has on the world. Great themed monthly birthday celebrations, snack-filled kitchens, frequent happy hours.
This place is tanking, despite what it seems like from the outside. Yes, the content is pretty great and you'll have some fun creating in but internally, it's horrendous. Terrible choices made by management and executives at the expense of great talent. Huge pay disparity between a lot of people with the same roles/titles/duties. Some get promotions and raises are handed out more than once a year, while others can go above and beyond and get nothing in return. Certain teams have an endless budget for frivolous spending, while others can barely get a few bucks to build team morale. Executives bully their way up the chain to get their way. Major lack of diversity in staff and content - some people care, other people seem to think there are bigger fish to fry. They've also started laying people off, so things don't seem too safe anymore.6
- 1.0Oct 5, 2017Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee
Hours are decent and people work hard for a mission.
Echoing another review that they prefer anyone who's a 'cool,' pretty 'influencer' over people who are actually smart and good at their jobs. The executives are visually based, including who they hire and promote. Smart people are disregarded for people with designer connections and they do not seem to have a long term strategy. The mission does not get reinforced at the employee level and everyone is competitive. There are also no career trajectories.9
- 1.0Nov 25, 2017Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee, more than 1 year
Company happy hours, cool people/events around the office, people outside of the company think that it's a cool/great place.
R29 does not practice what it preaches. They talk so much about the importance of women advocating for themselves and taking control of their bodies and mental/physical health, but when their employees do it, we’re told that we should just be grateful for the opportunity to be working there and that there are “limited resources.” In the past, they have published articles about the importance of work-life balance and the detrimental nature of a toxic workplace, but there is zero work-life balance there and the workplace culture is more than toxic. Bosses text you at 11pm, early in the morning, every day of the week including Saturday and Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Enjoy your “day off!“ Except you still need to constantly be checking email, writing something, publishing content, posting content on social platforms etc. The holiday calendar is abysmal, and you have to jump through 10,000 hoops to get a day off. If you are coming to R29 from a company with any semblance of structure, you will be shocked at how poorly it is run. The HR department is passive aggressive and only has the best interest of the company at heart, not yours. Upper management is terrified to stand up to executives, and the culture of quiet bullying trickles down from the top and seeps into so many parts of management. Higher ups (and HR) are desperately trying to make sure that people don’t find out how bad it is. People working 60, 70, 80, 90 days consecutively not having a day to themselves? That’s wrong. Offering only 5 paid sick days to full time employees? That’s wrong, and also well below the national average. People work from 9:30 to 6:30 (usually 7:00/7:30) and eat lunch at their desks. Nobody encourages you to have a life or interests outside of work. Everyone is competitive and only wants to promote themselves, and it’s not a healthy environment. Internally, it’s not about building women up, it’s about building yourself up so you can leave the company and be in a decent position to go somewhere that values their employees and their employees’ health. Please, look at these reviews. You may think you were offered your dream job at your dream company. It is all surface level. You are better off working for a company that actually cares about its employees, and actually practices its ethics and values internally. There is a difference between 'the hustle' it takes to work in media and an office that literally doesn't care that people are getting sick over the hours they're having to put in. Working in media is hard! But there are media companies that take a lot better care of the people working so hard to make them great.25
- 2.0Feb 1, 2018Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee, more than 3 yearsNew York, NY
The illusion of working at a cool company. The ghost of a formerly cutting edge, purposeful, fashion-oriented organization who will keep you company in your darkest moments of existential dread and convince you not to give up on life altogether. Many of the OG people who work/worked here are smart as hell and incredible people... somehow collectively not able to get it together.
I could go on and on about everything negative that I obsereved in my three years at this company but I'll spare you. I will say that this is a place that will promise you far beyond what they will ever actually offer you when it comes to career growth and support. Although built on a wonderfully fluffy and non-specific and somehow apolitical form of feminism, Refinery29 has lost its voice. Once a place that served a genuine purpose, pushed aesthetic boundaries, and had actual SERVICE to its readers, it is now a destintation for the most regurgitated forms of trendy interenet faux-activism and tired obsrevations of cultural milieu. Oh, and they treat their employees poorly but not as poorly as they pay them. All that being said, the bottom line is that the company is suffering which is why they just laid of 8% of its staff and have lost at least 4 C-level executives in the last 18 months. They tried to be more than anyone wanted them to be ( a sickness that all publishing companies currently suffer from). No one wants to subscribe to "the biggest media company for millenial women". We all see through the giant corporations now and what we see is not inspiring, it's depressing.20
- 1.0Dec 12, 2016Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee, more than 1 yearNew York, NY
Free food, beauty products, fun events, some cool people.
Extremely disorganized without a clear mission. I thought it would be more pro-women and supportive, but it's actually cut-throat and has a 'mean girls' culture. It feels like most people leave after less than a year because it's not worth the stress. I used to be a fan, but the company does not reflect what the writing is all about.12
- 3.0Oct 23, 2017Anonymous InternFormer Intern
-People are very friendly and are willing to help if you ask them -Exposure to multiple teams within the company
-Need to actively search out and ask people to contribute to certain projects otherwise you will mostly be organizing meetings and ordering lunches. -senior level management pays almost no attention to their interns -no guarantee of full time work after the internship is over
- 1.0Jul 22, 2016AnonymousFormer Employee, more than 1 yearNew York, NY
- Some great people - Forward thinking
- Overall, it's a high school popularity contest - The most incompetent managers are hired. My manager was probably hired because she knew 'the lingo' and the founders thought she was legit. - The majority of the managers lead by intimidation - Some of the people that are promoted into management positions are unqualified and inexperienced. I'm sure if these new managers were to leave R29, they'd be knocked back into their jr level roles. - Benefits are 'meh' and not much time off. - Pay is not equal across the board - some people were breaking their backs making peanuts while others are grossly overpaid to just 'hang out and talk the talk'.11