Unsafe for Black People
Ginkgo Bioworks is a racist place with terrible work culture. The management is biased and rewards a specific group more than others. As a black woman, my experience at Ginkgo Bioworks was the worst. Racism is at the root of this company and black people are powerless there because no one listens to them. The workplace is dominated by other races and it feels very scary to work there. The founders are very aggressive and have a lot of issues.
I’m no longer working at Ginkgo Bioworks because I left my job after experiencing constant discrimination from my superiors. This platform provides me with sufficient anonymity to post my employee review safely. I want more people to be aware of the toxic culture this biotech startup has because the founders of this place should be held accountable for their discriminatory behaviour.
Maybe this review will alert others and help them in avoiding this toxic place.
During the interview for my promotion, interviewers claimed I was not a team player while ignoring the fact that my team members made racist comments about meGinkgo racially discriminates
What is Ginkgo Bioworks?
Ginkgo Bioworks is a biotechnology startup specializing in generating bacteria for industrial use. They started in 2009 and have become a major name in the industry. Based in Boston, these people have helped many clients whose names I don’t think I can share because it would compromise their privacy. Tom Knight is the main founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. Apart from him, the co-founders of Ginkgo Bioworks include Jason Kelly, Austin Che, Barry, Reshma, and others.
Almost all the founders of this company have some mental problems. These people are always concerned with “pushing the employees to their limits” and because of that, have created a toxic workplace which is nearly intolerable. The HR of GB is horrible for various reasons. I’ll explain it later but I must point out some reasons why I joined that place in the first place.
The Recent Ginkgo Bioworks Valuation
Ginkgo Bioworks has been running for a decade and they are constantly growing. Recently, the Ginkgo Bioworks valuation reached $4 billion, which is a huge milestone for any company. The valuation is enough proof to show people how innovative this company is. But just because a company makes innovations, doesn’t mean the people behind it are good.
They reached this valuation around the time of me leaving them. Even before achieving that milestone Ginkgo Bioworks has many other achievements under its belt which make it a sought-after company.
I always wanted to work in an innovative biotech company and that’s why Ginkgo Bioworks seemed like the best bet for me. It just didn’t occur to me that innovation doesn’t require decency or civility. People can be hard-working and bigoted at the same time. My experience at Ginkgo Bioworks taught me this valuable lesson harshly. Apart from valuation, Ginkgo Bioworks revenue is around more than $40 million per annum as well. Considering this company only has ~300 employees, it’s a substantial income. This is another reason why I wanted to work there.
Why I left Ginkgo Bioworks
When you look at Ginkgo Bioworks revenue and its valuation, you think it would be a great company. At least that’s what I thought when I applied for a job at this organization. The interview went well and I started my job without any problems. However, I noticed that there weren’t many black people in the company, but I didn’t mind it much. I was a lot more focused on doing my best at the job I had. So, I would work hard, complete tasks before the deadline, and help others in completing their tasks. The work culture at Ginkgo is very competitive and the founders make sure that every employee is working hard.
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My first instance of discrimination happened when I finished a massive project with a team. I was clearly the hardest working person on that team but the management didn’t see any of my contributions. Everyone in my team received some compensation for completing that project but I didn’t. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of any rewards for that project until I talked to one of my colleagues. To avoid any conflict, I didn’t complain about that incident.
Still, I didn’t consider my race to be a reason for them to ignore my pay. As I was working at my job I also noticed a few things. For some reason, no one usually talked to me or interacted with me much. Whenever I would try to have small talk or any conversation, people would keep it small and try to avoid me most of the time. No one in my team or my department talked with me. I’m a very social person and this affected me very much. Again, I didn’t think it was my race that was responsible for the issue.
Racist Remarks and No Promotions:
One day I was eating my lunch when I overheard a conversation among my team members. They were talking about me and out of nowhere, made several racist comments. I was shocked to hear that and thought I should confront them. Later that day, I tried to bring up this incident but they all denied it from happening. I realized that the department I was working in was filled with bigots who didn’t like my race. Initially, I wanted to report this incident to HR, but because I was the only black person in my department, I knew that I couldn’t maintain anonymity in my complaint.
The blatant racism at the workplace didn’t stop there. After I had objected to one of my team members about that incident, my team members started avoiding me more and working at Ginkgo Bioworks became more punishing than before. I constantly felt dejected and hated this feeling.
Then the time came for a promotion and as a hard-working candidate, I applied. One of the founders was present in the interview, and they pointed out that I don’t go along well with my team. According to them, I was not a team player and that is why my chances of getting that promotion were slim.
I told them about the incident but they didn’t believe me. Instead, they acted surprised and claimed that I should “never” make such “heinous” claims about my team members. So, my team members, who were racist and made me do the lion’s share of work, were doing nothing wrong. Instead, it was I who was not a team player.
The racist comments increased after that incident. People wouldn’t make them directly to me, but started making them even when I was present in the room. I complained about this to HR but they didn’t do anything.
When the HR didn’t do anything and the promotion got handed to a lazy white male, I realized I had no prospects at Ginkgo Bioworks. I talked to one of the few black people present at that company, and they shared the same feeling as I did. The other person didn’t want to lose their job seeing how terrible the economy was becoming but I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left Ginkgo Bioworks a few weeks ago.
Other Employee Reviews
Even though there are only a few hundred employees at Ginkgo, some ex-employees have already shared their complaints against this company’s toxic work culture. When I had joined Ginkgo Bioworks, there weren’t any employee reviews on them at all. But at the time of posting this review, there are several complaints against this company.
The main issue is with the leadership and the management. Here’s a review from an employee:
This person shares how Ginkgo’s leadership is twisted and faulty. The management forces employees to work harder and keeps pressuring them into spending more hours at the office. Add to that, the additional prejudice present in the leadership, and you’ll find this place intolerable to work in.
There were several others but I think one screenshot is enough to show the level of terrible management present at this organization.
Spread the Word!
My main reason for sharing my employee review on this site is because I wanted more people to know the truth behind the pomp and show of Ginkgo. If someone had alerted me before, I wouldn’t have applied for a job here and certainly wouldn’t have spent months toiling away. Racism is a huge problem but not in the world of Ginkgo’s founders. The way their Human Resources department handled my case showed me just how depraved this organization is.
For them, racism doesn’t exist. But it’s time that the truth came out. This review should open their eyes. If you’re reading this, then please spread the word. After all, would you want your friend, sibling, or child to work at a toxic, bigoted place and suffer?
The culture at Ginkgo Bioworks is filled with prejudice and hatred. The management does nothing to fix these issues and is promoting this culture further. IT IS UNSAFE FOR MINORITIES!!!
- Strong Brand
- Biased Management
- Inaction Against Racism
- No Support
- Egoistical Leadership
I feel bad for you. As a POC I know what it’s like to experience racism in the workplace. The best course of action would be to leave the company and file a lawsuit against them. But I understand why that might be difficult too. Keep in mind that Gingko Bioworks must have a team of skilled lawyers and it would be very challenging to beat them in the court.
Don’t know this company but saw a post on quora from the owner asking if they should fire a good worker for using 2 sick days a month.
I recommend you to sue this company.
While I can’t attest to conditions in the rest of the company, if you’re in software you’re treated every bit as well as in any other top-end software shop. I’m Asian myself and I’m friends with multiple POCs, as well as several LGBTQ folks – I can’t think of one of those letters that isn’t represented. Sure, we have some problem people who have to be shown the door, but aside from those bad apples – who aren’t around for long – no one has any complaints about the culture. I had a rather dopey manager very briefly, but when her true character became evident she was let go.
This review is so dumb that it actually hurts my head.
I must assume that Ginko Bioworks is an amazing place to work.
After careful examination, it’s my opinion that individual who penned this is a lazy, victim mentality having race baiter… Let’s break this down. 1st, and I quote, “Almost all the founders of this company have some mental problems”. No, the problem here is definitely yours, it’s called envy. 2nd, by describing your whole team as “under-performers” for whom you constantly have to pick up the slack. Doubtful, they most likely carried you. 3rd, By describing the achiever of the promotion you were seeking as a “lazy white male”, sounds good to a liberal agendist, but a minority woman is on the board of directors, let that sink in… Lady, the problem is most definitely you. You most likely face the same challenges wherever you go. “Everyone is just so mean and against me” Your attitude speaks volumes above your words. You’ve identified yourself as a fanatical leftist agenda driven hack. Go now and waive your BLM flag with Cori Bush
I love racism. Make America great again.
Isn’t it sad that we’re in 2021 and people still face blatant discrimination?
What are we doing about it?
Are those people held accountable?
I don’t think so.
Current employee at Ginkgo who has been here for several years. We have no project bonuses. Success rates within biology are too variable to compensate on. We also do not have interviews with founders for promotions, which should make sense– at a company of 300 (during late 2019: the time this person claims to have departed Ginkgo), having founders interview each of the roughly 100 people up for promotion at our promotion phases would be insane. As in, the promotion phase is only one month, and the founders would have had to take 2.5 full-time 40-hour weeks time interviewing people, at the same time of year when company goals meetings and year-planning meetings are going on amongst other things. Additionally, there are five founders, so the “and others” comment should sound suspicious.
This could be someone who worked with Ginkgo enough to form a negative opinion, but the claims they make which involve company structure are verifiably false. They demonstrate no deep knowledge of our organization.
One of my friends works at Ginkgo Bioworks. They verified many of the claims this person has made here. Ginkgo Bioworks is horrible at Human Resource management. The upper management of this company is selfish and cruel. Unfortunately, that’s the sad reality of the bio-tech industry. Because these companies aren’t covered by the media or any popular platforms, they do whatever they please without any repercussions.
Such racist companies don’t deserve to operate. I read the other employee reviews you have shared and they paint a horrible picture. it’s obvious that Ginkgo is not only a bigoted corporation but also a toxic one. These people are clearly focused on making their owners rich while sucking the lives out of their employees.
The authorities should look into Ginkgo Bioworks. This company should be shut down in the time being. Discrimination in the workplace is a serious offence! Aren’t these people aware of that?