Unsafe for Black People
Ginkgo Bioworks is a racist place with a 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 me
Ginkgo 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.
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 a 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 incidence 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 the 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 the 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?