Lab49 Reviews

Updated 15 Jun 2020

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3.0
51%
Recommend to a Friend
44%
Approve of CEO
Lab49 CEO Luke Flemmer
Luke Flemmer
58 Ratings
Pros
  • "Smart people who are generally good teammates, with the exception of some senior management(in 12 reviews)

  • "Good work-life balance with WFH days, relaxed hours, team lunches and events and good trust between staff and management(in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "Senior management team mostly work from home which leads to a lack of direction and an empty office(in 14 reviews)

  • "Lab is a consultancy and suffers from the usual(in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (7)

    "Great opportunity for someone looking to have a significant part in company growth"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in Sydney
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - In a fast growth phase - Teams work collaboratively, even globally which is impressive given the different time zones - Friendly environment - Good culture: monthly lunches, drinks, afternoon teas for Birthdays, activities - No micromanagement and flexibility to make your role your own - Flexible working hours, working from home - Free fruit, drinks and snacks - Great office location - Office mixed with other ION Group company employees so diverse and good for networking

    Cons

    - Sydney office is still in a "start-up" mode which means it is less structured than other offices and in some areas it is still finding its feet

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  2. Helpful (6)

    "Forward thinking and professional"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Product Designer in Sydney
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A great, if rather small, team of like-minded professionals dedicated to delivering brilliant products to FM clients. Fantastic offices in the centre of Sydney Good work-life balance with WFH days, relaxed hours, team lunches and events and good trust between staff and management Large well-known clients who are open to building great experiences

    Cons

    Office can feel a bit empty some days Financial markets clients are not always the most forward-thinking in terms of design and UX

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  3. Helpful (9)

    "One of the best experiences I had across London & Sydney"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Senior Software Engineer in Sydney
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I learnt so much and progressed my career further than I could ever had imagined. Made a lot of friends along the way all around the world. Plenty of work life balance and project flexibility. Rarely any overtime or late nights but would get holiday in lieu as a "thank you!" which was nice.

    Cons

    No company is perfect, upper management can be a little clandestine but it rarely affects Sydney.

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  4. Helpful (25)

    "Rotten to the core"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Developer in Sydney
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    Its better than being on the streets

    Cons

    Lab49 is probably the worst company I have ever worked for. This review is probably pointless as there is little chance of Lab49 hiring again but just in case enough staff leave that they cannot service their current clients, read on. The worst traits of the company are secrecy, lies. and bullying. The upper management thrive on secrecy and seem to love to hide as much information as possible (mostly for no apparent reason). Any information that does come from management is probably a lie, again normally for no reason. The management is very hierarchical with board level, middle and regional. There are regional leadership teams that operate like the stasi, being instructed to keep the staff “on message” and reporting any deviation from expected (but not communicated) behaviour. Lab49 is losing customers as they treat them as cash cows. Lab49 never considers if they are helping their clients business, improving their systems or doing requested work efficiently. Lab49s main consideration is how to extract as much money as quickly as possible. Totally inappropriate staff are put on projects as they are seen as ambassadors (e.g. client-side JS dev put in server side java role because they are sales oriented rather than assigning a more suitable junior java dev). The deliveries are of very poor quality, are normally very late and over budget. Developers that go the extra mile for clients are publicly reprimanded - that extra work was potentially billable. Lab has lost most of its technical staff. The ones that are left are mostly sales people with a technical background. When the company was busy, they promoted the noisiest people to high levels and allowed them to experiment with whatever they had read in their favourite blogs. The designs were naive and unsuitable - as you would expect from a junior dev put in charge of their first project. Any criticism or suggestions for change was heavily, and normally publicly, squashed. This lead to very frustrated developers giving up and just doing what they were told until they found a proper job. The software finally delivered is of the lowest quality that I have seen in many years in the industry. Lab has found a way of making staff believe that although they are technically superior they will not be able to get a better paid job elsewhere. New comers (and customers) will quickly see the hubris displayed by longer term staff (2 or more years) and wonder how they came to consider themselves to be that good. The staff used to be generally above average but any talent has long gone and what is left is mostly poor. The wages used to be upper quartile but are lagging and are are barely above average now. There is always a better job than Lab49 elsewhere and many with better money too. For those that remain, the “leadership team” members have been promoted well above where they will be able to find work in another company (head of testing in with a team of one person - down from two?). The technical staff left need to find work with good technical leadership before they are totally unemployable. Lab49 attacks the authors of bad Glassdoor reviews by sending the lawyers in. Of course it is toothless but they have threatened withholding pay and taking people to court. They have succeeded in having reviews withdrawn. New staff are "highly encouraged" to quickly add positive reviews and HR staff have added positive reviews when bad reviews are posted. Many of the managers that created this mess have now fled the company. Unfortunately, the managers that are left are the former yes men of the “leadership teams” and are even less competent than their predecessors and are incredibly weak. They are coping by bullying and threatening their already demoralised staff. Lab is now in a predictable bad financial state. They have lost about two thirds of their staff in 2016 to redundancy and attrition. Many of those remaining are ‘on bench’. Bonuses for 2015 were only partly paid in 2016 (25% of awarded bonus) and there are no 2016 / 2017 bonuses, pay rises or promotions. Office space is being sub-let, kitchens not repaired or stocked, company events cancelled or self paid. An office has been opened in India to try to get cheap labour to back up the ‘sales developers’ working on client site but this has flopped with all the Indian staff being on bench for the year or so that they have been employed. The NY and washington offices are clinging onto their oldest clients, essentially just acting as a bodyshop for them. The London office has a fast diminishing client base and is small fraction of its size. Any regional offices have little or no paying work with the majority of staff on bench and hoping to be able to work on projects based in the NY or London office (normally at very unsociable hours). In summary, a bad company that has rotted almost to the point of disappearing. Unless your house is about to be repossessed, find work elsewhere.

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  5. Helpful (12)

    "Don't recommend this place at all"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sydney
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Lab49 full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Nothing good to talk about this place.

    Cons

    Lab is a hire and fire company. From last 2 years, it has steadily fired all the top talent without any reason. Long working hours and pathetic senior management make our lives more miserable at this place. I don't recommend this company for any prospective IT engineers who want to grow in their career.

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  6. Helpful (4)

    "Current Employment Review"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    -Opportunities to take ownership of work. -Friendly and relaxed office and colleagues. -Great work-life balance. -Monthly social gatherings to unwind and boost office morale. -Great communication and regular feedback from managers. -Snacks and drinks are provided in the office daily. -Monthly office and company updates. -Opportunities for growth. -Mentor/mentee opportunities. -Training opportunities. -Benefits provided.

    Cons

    -Have not yet received a formal review and have been at the company for 6+ months. -Liaising with employees in other office locations can sometimes be tricky though is worked out where possible, this may mean early mornings or late nights though this is to be expected in a full-time position.

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  7. Helpful (8)

    "Somewhere between a "tech" company and investment bank."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Sydney
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Great office conversations, sometimes funny, often hilarious - Dress down attire except when visiting clients - Snack cupboard and beer fridge - Lot's of company events and nights out - Hackathon evenings with pizza & beer - Staff parties at nice venues around Sydney - Nice working atmosphere and supportive colleagues - Paid monthly lunches in the office, a nice recent addition, well done! - Great pay and benefits, plus some end of year bonus if the company does well - Global opportunities to move and be sponsored - Training and mentoring but you have to ask which can be a pain

    Cons

    - We build enterprise software sometimes over multiple years, this might not be for everyone - There are the occasional late night but everyone has pride in their work so no big deal - Sometimes things happen at the mercy of our clients but this sometimes happens in consulting - Could do more talks in the community but getting sign off is tricky due to strict NDA's - Can't always use cutting edge languages and frameworks, they need to be stable / supported - We're still bound by investment banking level contract obligations, can sometimes get corporate

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  8. Helpful (2)

    "For overacheivers"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    I think most of the bad reviews here are from people who weren't at the level required, LAB49 is a demanding job, you need to be very experienced (or able learn very quickly) as you'll be expected to master React and Angular alongside TypeScript, Redux and RxJS, have an expert knowledge of Java and Spring, whilst being accomplished in sql/nosql, comfortable with automated testing (100% coverage is the goal), devops and the cloud with good financial knowledge, if you can also do some C# and Python even better. You'll be switching technologies a lot and there's very little ramp-up time between projects, people are always busy, you'll often have to learn by yourself in your own time as you should be aware of all the latest technologies. You can't be overly sensitive, people tell you the truth here as there's great time pressure to get things done on budget. It's not for everyone but if you're good enough this is the place to be.

    Cons

    Performance/ pay review months late with 0 communication, senior managers still managed to agree promotions amongst themselves though.

  9. COVID-19

    "Initiative & Drive = Success"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - N/A in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fair/Good Salaries, like-minded community of people, innovation/improvements are seeked and encouraged, inviting work space/building (when not in quarantine;YES this matters, at least to me), interesting projects and department expansions. If you are willing to work hard and not accept the common entitled employee approach, you will see rewards not only in your role but in your development; this company gives you the room to stand out, it is your choice if you choose to or not.

    Cons

    ION as the parent company, lack middle management, needs more transparent communication across all offices that supports a consistent message.

  10. COVID-19
    Helpful (4)

    "Managers and management need to step it up"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous 
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    Smart, competent, fun people (for the most part) Interesting projects and technologies Flattish hierarchy / more of a meritocracy Nice offices, decent snacks

    Cons

    Lack of transparency which is exacerbated during coronavirus. To date, we have received a total of 0 communications from leadership regarding the crisis (let alone on performance reviews and comp expectations). Extremely disappointing especially when we see other companies handling these times with grace and compassion. As another reviewer mentioned, fixed-price contract model is bad: "hero" mentality where certain individuals take on too much (long hours and weekends), boots on the ground end up absorbing all the non-commercial pain. Very few are actually qualified to be managers. Others can be inaccessible and/or outright mean. Lots of turnaround and unexplained layoffs. Very little is done to try to unify people and foster sense of culture.

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Found 108 reviews