Lab49 Reviews | Glassdoor.com.au

Lab49 Reviews

Updated 22 Aug 2019

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Found 88 reviews

2.6
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
45%
Recommend to a Friend
43%
Approve of CEO
Lab49 CEO Luke Flemmer
Luke Flemmer
43 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Communication from senior management can be spotty at times(in 12 reviews)

  • "Limited to finance industry, therefore not as many potential clients as a general consultancy would have(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (2)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

    Advice to Management

    Regarding upper level management back in New York / London, listen to your staff more.

    Lab492017-08-25
  2. Helpful (24)

    "Rotten to the core"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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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    Advice to Management

    Clients are not cash cows for you to milk. Staff are valuable assets, not pawns in some twisted game. Pay people off and shut the place down.

    Lab492017-05-20
  3. Helpful (12)

    "Don't recommend this place at all"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

    Advice to Management

    Show some empathy towards the staff and retain employees if possible.

    Lab492017-02-27
  4. Helpful (4)

    "Current Employment Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

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    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.

    Advice to Management

    Continue with the incentives and opportunities and provide the same or more communication to all staff.

    Lab492015-06-24
  5. Helpful (1)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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    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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    Advice to Management

    Work hard to maintain the great culture of the office making sure to keep the relaxed but hard working atmosphere it's take two years to build.

    Lab492015-06-02
  6. Helpful (3)

    "DC office changed for much worse in the last year"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Lab49 full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Lab49 was a great company with good projects and excellent engineers up until about a year ago (at least in DC). Pay used to be very competitive. Only reason I'm rating 2 stars instead of 1 is that there are truly horrible companies out there that have managers that yell and are outright abusive to employees. Lab49 is not that bad.

    Cons

    In the last year things in DC have really gone to hell. * They ask for 12 weeks notice in an offer letter and try to pressure you on it if you give less claiming the offer letter is a binding contract (it's not). * For employees that have given notice, some were fired after giving notice and not paid for the notice period. Why would anyone give any notice at all when there is a track record of firing employees... that give notice???? * Employees that have left (both fired and quit) were not paid out in accordance with DC labor laws (they/I were paid, but not within the legally required time period). * Some newer projects are jQuery based applications. jQuery, in 2019!!!! * There are no longer company-wide high standards and it is now 100% dependent on the individual team lead--some are good and some are horrible. One lead is still great. * 100% of Lab49's HR is gone and it is all run by a new company that was bought out by the parent company (so it's not even the parent company's HR anymore). They are completely detached from Lab49 and barely even know Lab49 exists.

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    Advice to Management

    Even if you turn everything around, it'll take a long time to get back up to the quality, reputation and trust you once had.

    Lab492019-08-23
  7. Helpful (2)

    "A "mercenary" company to be kept at arms length"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Former Employee - Web Developer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    - New projects generally use latest (stable) technologies - You get to move around teams and work with different people - Free subscription to Udemy - Generally pretty fun company events

    Cons

    - Cares more about getting things done quickly than making a good application - Moving between projects means you might get moved off your favorite project - Might kick you out early if you give them notice of resignation, without pay - Wants a 12 week (!) resignation notice (instead of 2) - Constantly understaffed* - Hiring practices are lengthy and outdated (they ask about prototypical inheritance... sometimes) - You will be asked to help interview people that won't work at the company - No onsite HR/Office Admin - Little communication between project heads for people split between projects * The part about it being understaffed, in my opinion, contributed to a lot of stress on a few projects. If there were more people to go between projects, fewer people would be pulled in multiple directions simultaneously.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't tell workers you "appreciate" them when you're not going to show it. Stop having DC people interview NY candidates; they always ask about culture and we never know what to say. Please get some onsite HR or office admin at the DC office.

    Lab492019-07-22
  8. Helpful (1)

    "Uncertain times"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Developer 

    I worked at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    Bonuses are a tiny part of total compensation so you don't need to worry about performance reviews.

    Cons

    Senior management quit in London and New York but never replaced. Think very hard if joining from a major corporation as you'll certainly notice the huge drop in professionalism - bonus date and amount is shrouded in secrecy (although guaranteed to be later and smaller every year.) Hiring is deliberately sabotaged by management. Benefits are confusing and even hidden from you, employer pension contribution is... statutory as is maternity.

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    Advice to Management

    There isn't any to advise

    Lab492019-07-22
  9. Helpful (3)

    "This place is a sinking ship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    The other reviews on here give you a fair warning - avoid at all costs. There were once plenty of smart people here, though almost all have left.

    Cons

    Senior management have all quit and not been replaced, no internal structure whatsoever, projects are drying up, way behind the innovation curve.

    Lab492019-07-30
  10. Helpful (3)

    "Lab 0.49"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 

    I have been working at Lab49 full-time

    Pros

    UX and engineering pleasantly ego free for a consultancy.... shame same can't be said for business/ management!!

    Cons

    Crazy policy of having no BAs or QAs then strong blame culture when things go wrong.... unsurprisingly employee turnover is high!!

    Lab492019-07-24
Found 88 reviews