In the News, Reviews

What It’s Really Like to Work at Netflix in the Wake of Wall Street Journal Exposé

There’s no doubt that Netflix is one of the most innovative and successful companies operating today. Besides ushering in the streaming revolution, the company is known for critically-acclaimed original series and movies like Stranger Things, Orange Is the New Black and Okja, which have earned them scores of prestigious awards, a devoted fan following and billions of dollars in revenue.

But according to an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal many of the employees that work behind the scenes to support the media giant face intense pressure, long hours and a cutthroat environment.

Of course, there’s more than one side to each story. With Netflix’s Glassdoor profile offering more than 800 reviews from employees detailing what it’s like to work at the company — some of which were featured in the Wall Street Journal article — we took a deep dive into the data to reveal an additional layer of insight and perspective. Here’s what we found.

Netflix at a Glance

  • Slow, But Steady Improvement: Netflix enjoys a company rating of 3.7 thus far in 2018, a rating that is above the Glassdoor average of 3.4, based on the more than 830,000 employers reviewed on our site. Although Netflix’s company rating has ebbed and flowed over the years, it is up from its 3.4 rating in 2013.
  • Impressive Pay, But Poor Work/Life Balance: With a rating of 4.2, Netflix’s strongest cultural dimension is compensation and benefits. Its weakest are Work-Life Balance and Senior Leadership, with a 3.3 rating each thus far in 2018.
  • Employees Really Like Reed Hastings: 87% of Netflix employees approve of their CEO Reed Hastings, which is six percentage points higher than his rating in 2017 (81%) and 18 percentage points above the average Glassdoor CEO approval rating of 69%.
  • A Bright Future: Although business outlook decreased seven percentage points from 2017 (72%), the majority (65%) of Netflix employees thus far in 2018 report a positive business outlook (meaning they expect Netflix’s business to improve in the next six months), which is 16 percentage points higher than the average positive business outlook rating (49%) on Glassdoor. In addition, the company’s “Recommend to a Friend” rating is at a high over the past several years — nearly seven in ten (68%) Netflix employees would recommend the company to their friend as an employer.

Working at Netflix: What Employees Really Say

For further commentary on what’s working well and what needs improvement, we looked at a sample of what employees had to say about the pros and cons of working at Netflix.

Pros

“This is the most interesting and engaging job I’ve ever had. Amazing benefits with great leadership and a feedback driven culture. Every day is a new challenge. TSR is a great role for curious people who want to avoid a monotonous work routine.Current Technical Support Representative

“A great culture that focuses on freedom & responsibility and tries to avoid the pitfalls of typical Hollywood. You work among the best and brightest. You’re treated like an adult in terms of how & when to do your work– as long as it gets done and is done well.” —Current Employee

Culture deck is taken seriously, and is a construct that everyone is constantly aligned around.” —Current Senior UI Engineer

“Fast paced dynamic company , great exposure and learnings . High impact and good [renumeration] and perks. Many peoples dream company to work for.” —Former Director

“Lots of transparency and communication. Big focus on inclusivity and psychological safety. Team members are mature and I find have high emotional intelligence. Team leader is great, delegates a lot, no micro management. She also challenges us constantly and give[s] very candid and direct but always tactful feedback. I feel like I have a lot of opportunities to improve here.” —Current Senior Software Engineer

Cons

“The culture of fear that’s been talked about by some of the other reviewers is absolutely real and persistent at Netflix. People pretend it doesn’t apply to them or they don’t feel the fear (and will lie in meetings when asked about it), but deep down, the culture absolutely exists. While some of the involuntary terminations are fair and deserved, others can be for entirely political reasons – or it can literally just be because your manager stopped liking you, for reasons that may not be related to job performance.” —Former Employee

You HAVE to play work politics and meet as many upper level managers as possible. Your numbers, your adaption to their ‘culture’, and your prior work experience DO NOT matter when it comes to growth within the company.” —Current Customer Support Representative

Burnout, big time (for me anyway). The culture isn’t one to nurture you through that, so I had to either suck it up or move on.” —Former Senior Manager

“This exec leader openly discusses in global team meetings that she wants our team to be afraid for our jobs and the ‘undercurrent of fear’ is needed on the team to drive people. Needless to say everyone walks on eggshells with paranoid looks on their faces only staying because of the big paycheck. Being blinded by sudden job threats is common in ‘feedback’ meetings.” —Current Publicist

Onboarding and transition from other companies can be difficult and generally teams at Netflix don’t make too much effort to make the transition smooth. This can make the first few months particularly nebulous.” —Current Senior Software Engineer

The Bottom Line

No company is perfect — there are unique benefits and drawbacks to working at each company. At Netflix, Glassdoor data shows that more employees are satisfied than not, particularly when it comes to compensation and benefits, autonomy and the engaging nature of their work. However, there are some concerns around work/life balance and some parts of senior leadership teams. Whether or not that will change anytime soon is unknown, but the data shows that Netflix has been trending up over the years in terms of company rating, CEO approval, business outlook and other key metrics related to employee satisfaction and workplace culture.

Are you a current or former Netflix employee? Share your experience by adding a company review on Glassdoor.