At Second Genome, 91 percent of employees say their workplace is great.



This review is based on 54 employee surveys, with a 90% confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.59. It was published on Jul 11, 2018. 922 Visitors

What Employees Say

People celebrate special events around here.
Management recognizes honest mistakes as part of doing business.
We have special and unique benefits here.
Management trusts people to do a good job without watching over their shoulders.
This is a fun place to work.

What They Do

We asked Second Genome to explain what they do. Here is what they had to say.

Second Genome’s innovative platform can be leveraged to improve human health and well-being. By hiring top talent, owning a strong corporate culture, and developing a robust technology platform, we believe we have a winning solution to developing novel therapeutics to treat a variety of health conditions.

About this Company

Website: Industry: Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
US Headquarters: South San Francisco, California, 94080 US Sites: 1
US Employees: 57 Corporate Structure: Private
Founded: 2009

Children of Second Genome employees enjoy bubbles at Bring Your Babies to Work Day

Perks and Programs

We asked Second Genome to share a few programs they feel really capture what's unique about their workplace. Here is what they had to say.

  • Bring Your Kids to Work Day: Our Bring Your Kids to Work Day is open to relatives of all employees, as well as children from the community with whom employees may be involved with through volunteering or mentorship. Our scientists design and supervise experiments for the children to run, and employees oversee lunch, the outdoor activity, and creative time for coloring and writing. With this annual event, our long-term plan is to foster a love of learning and interest in STEM. This program was also designed as a way for employees to introduce their work to their children. Our Cloud System Administrator, Richard Grey, said, “I feel that it can sometimes be difficult to see how things in the classroom apply to the world around us. This was a great opportunity for the children to be exposed to science from a great group of people, helping them bridge that gap.”
  • Watsi Award: This peer recognition program was created to shine a spotlight on individual achievements and efforts. We intentionally designed it to allow any team member to recognize the contributions of any other team member; moving away from the top-down approach of employee recognition. Watsi Awards are linked to our company mission to improve lives through innovative science. We partner with Watsi, a non-profit that pays medical expenses for underserved people around the world (hence the name “Watsi Award”). Each Watsi Award comes with $25 to donate to a patient, and employees are continuously kept informed on the patient’s progress. In this way, employees who contribute positively to company culture also see a direct impact from their actions on the larger world. In the first year of the Watsi Award program, the Second Genome team handed out nearly 300 awards and contributed over $6,000 to 145 patients through our partnership with Watsi.
  • Women's Leadership Program: Driven by employee feedback and ownership, Second Genome’s Women’s Leadership Program is a continuous year-long curriculum designed to support the professional development and career advancement of SG’s female team members. The program is hallmarked by quarterly events and supported by continuous discussions throughout the year. Quarterly events include workshops with topics such as, “Finding Your Niche for Career Success,” and fireside chats with successful female executives in the biotech space. Cheryl Chow, a Scientist II with Second Genome, describes her colleagues’ reaction to the initiative: “We are really excited to have this program as an opportunity to continue learning and to grow.”
  • Community Giving Tree: One of our company goals – driven in part by employee feedback – is to continuously strengthen our relationships within the community. In response to this, Second Genome partnered with a local domestic violence shelter to help mothers and children in need during the holiday season. We set up a giving tree with requests from families ranging from shoes for 18 month old triplets to vacuums for mothers to winter coats for grandmothers. By the end of our time with the tree, all tags had been claimed and just under one hundred brand new gifts were delivered to the shelter in mid-December. SG team members appreciated the experience, with Sabina Lau, Research Associate, saying: “The Giving Tree Program was a fun way to come together as a company to make an impact on a few families, and I felt it was a great reflection of Second Genome's core values.”
  • Community College Partnership: As part of Second Genome’s commitment to the community and to education, we partner with local community college Skyline College to offer lab internships to their AA students. Over the summer we have two 2-year students from Skyline College’s Biosciences program on-site with our lab team to learn the ropes and gain some foundational experience. As part of our partnership with Skyline, we have arranged office/lab tours with interested students, and our staff members have spoken on career panels at the school to provide further information about a career in the life sciences.
  • WellBiome: Research has shown that comprehensive wellness programs offered by employers not only reduces employee medical expenses and absenteeism, it also contributes to enhancing employee’s social health within the workplace by creating a space for stress reduction and team-building. With this in mind, we created a corporate wellness initiative: WellBiome. WellBiome elements include: weekly bootcamp and yoga classes on-site, an annual $600 wellness subsidy for each employee, open standing tests, and company bicycles. Kareem Graham, Senior Scientist on the Immunology team said " WellBiome has been a fantastic springboard for thoughtful and healthy lifestyle choices. I use the fitness stipend to subsidize my gym membership, and the Fluid Stance boards encourage me to stand and move throughout my day at work." WellBiome provides the team with various options to get active at different physical and comfort levels, with the overall goal of coming together as a team to improve our health.
  • Monthly Lunch & Learns: Company Lunch & Learns are held on a monthly basis with the intention of providing resources and education to employees on topics of their choosing. During a recent notable Lunch & Learn, Second Genome hosted a physician who is also the father of a young son with autism. Given the work that Second Genome does around the autism spectrum, there was much mutual interest in partnering together to create an event. The physician gave a very impactful “patient testimonial,” during which he described life as the parent of a child with autism, and gave some fascinating and compelling context around the history of the condition. Other Lunch & Learn topics have included: a talk on ways to save for retirement, how to have effective one-on-one meetings, and understanding the company career ladder.
  • Interview Workshop Series: An important priority of ours is to create a positive experience for everyone who interacts with Second Genome, and that is especially true of our job applicants and candidates. With that intention in mind, and with the additional goal of making our hiring process more effective and efficient, Second Genome’s People team created in-house a series of Interview Workshops aimed at training team members to ask interview questions that are useful, relevant, and respectful of the law and of the individual. In the first of this three-part series, team members learn about Behavioral Interviewing and practice role-playing successful interviews. The session ends with a review of current laws around what can and cannot be asked, and an open Q&A session. Team members then practice with at least two interviews before they can move on to the remaining two workshops in the series: “Hiring Manager SMART Interviewing” and “Advanced Interviewing.”
  • Off-Site Initiative Action Groups: Our 2018 all-hands off-site featured a “World Cafe” activity, in which employees self-selected from a set of table topics (such as “Work Life Balance” and “Company Bottlenecks and Solutions”) to brainstorm ideas. At the close of the exercise, employees then volunteered to form groups for causes that they wanted specifically to champion. The groups met after the off-site to create proposals around the suggestions and ideas that had come out of the initial brainstorm. Teams then ‘pitched’ their proposals to our CEO, who brought the ideas to the leadership team for approval. Adopted suggestions were then rolled out in an all-hands, where team members who had worked on the pitches were recognized for the work they had put into improving the company. New policies and practices that came out of this initiative included: a new parental leave policy, company-wide goals around work life balance, and a new scientific onboarding process.
  • Wildflower Day: Wildflower Day is an annual volunteer event created and led by one of our Data Curators, who has a professional background in nature studies. Held each May, Wildflower Day is open to all employees as a volunteer opportunity. We partner with local nonprofit San Bruno Mountain Watch for an afternoon of working to rid our local San Bruno Mountain of invasive plant species. During the event, which is led by a San Bruno Mountain Watch staff member, Second Genome team members learn about the history and plants of the mountain while working together on clearing the land in an ecologically responsible manner.


90% Company-paid health coverage for employees 75% Company-paid health coverage for dependents


  • 401(k) or 403b Program
  • Stock options
A Diwali celebration organized by employees who wanted to share their cultural traditions included henna painting, games, and lots of food.


30 days Paid time off after one year of full-time employment 6 days Paid sick days after one year of full-time employment
6 days Paid sick days after one year of part-time employment


  • Telecommute option (10% use it)
  • Subsidized On- or Off-site Fitness (100% have access)
  • Medical facilities (at all locations)
  • Onsite Amenities (Fully stocked kitchen, weekly yoga class, weekly bootcamp class, standing desks, fitness equipment, company bikes, shuttle service to public transportation, airport/long-term parking.)


50 days Fully-paid maternity leave (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)*60 days Average length of maternity leave new mothers take
30 days Fully-paid paternity leave (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)*24 days Average length of paternity leave new fathers take
30 days Fully-paid parental leave for adoptive parents (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)
*Employees are not required to use all their personal paid time off before taking parental leave. All employees are eligible for parental leave benefits.


  • Lactation room(s)
  • Paid sick leave to care for a child or relative


  • Mental health care
  • Alternative treatments (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or chiropractic)

Community and Environmental Impact

$7,000 Philanthropic donations in last year Yes Sustainable commuting program
Yes Recycling program


  • Executive Vice President of Human Resources; People Operations Manager oversees diversity and inclusion practices
  • Written policy prohibits discrimination based on (at a minimum) age, disability, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation
  • Formal programs (such as resource groups, mentorship, networking, or other affinity groups) support professional development for: Women
  • 3 events a year connect employees with peers from different racial/ethnic, religious or country-of-origin identities
  • Non-birth parents in same-sex relationships can take parental leave

Leadership Diversity


Workforce Diversity

SG teammates and their family members compete in bubble soccer at our annual summer family picnic.


Taru, a Senior Research Associate, at her bench in the Second Genome lab.

How to Get Hired

We asked Second Genome for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

Rather than looking for "fit," our company looks for the potential for cultural contribution in all our job candidates. We look for individuals who bring with them a unique perspective and mindset - someone who not only wants to excel at their work, but is also driven to elevate the company and our mission. Ideal prospective employees are committed to science, and passionate about the idea of improving human wellness through scientific discovery. We value honesty and transparency, and the ability to admit that we don't have all the answers. 

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

What we appreciate most is when we see that prospective employees have taken the time to study the science behind our platform. Even a demonstration of surface knowledge is usually quite impressive, as we recognize that our field is new and complex. In addition, regardless of the position we are usually most drawn to candidates who express an interest in company culture. We value candidates who have given thought to the type of environment in which they want to work, and ones who express a desire to contribute in a meaningful way to the team environment. We look for candidates who are highly passionate about their work - who love what they do, and who have a record of exellence driven by that passion. 

Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?

In this coming year, Second Genome is committed to adding new capabilities in our bioinformatics department. We want to strengthen our already robust bioinformatics team in order to continue our advancement at the forefront of this new and exciting field. In addition, we are emphasizing positions that would support us in the process of going public. Finally, we plan to build out our clinical development team as we continue to advance our therapeutics through different stages of development and testing. 

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

Interested candidates are very welcome to visit our careers page (, which is consistently maintained. We also encourage potential applicants to visit our Instagram page ( to get a fuller picture of life and culture at our company.   

hiring Outlook

10 Forecasted positions to fill in coming year 12% Job Growth
89 Average applicants per opening 797 Total job applicants
33% New hires by employee referrals 11% Openings filled by current employees
3 Recent graduates hired 9% Voluntary turnover for full-time employees
* All figures refer to 12-month period prior to reporting, unless otherwise noted.

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