TikTok’s ‘poisonous’ tradition critiques on Glassdoor influence hiring

A person holding a telephone walks previous an indication of Chinese language firm ByteDance’s app TikTok, identified regionally as Douyin, on the Worldwide Synthetic Merchandise Expo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China October 18, 2019.


LONDON— A lot of U.Ok.-based tech employees are selecting to not settle for or pursue jobs at TikTok over fears that the corporate has an intense work tradition with lengthy and demanding hours.

Six individuals within the business informed CNBC they both pulled out of interviews, turned down job provides, or left the corporate after studying that TikTok has a “996” tradition, both from on-line critiques or by means of first-hand expertise.

The 996 tradition is practiced by some corporations in China. The title is derived from the staff’ requirement of working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for six days in per week, which works out at 72 hours per week. In the meantime, the norm within the U.S. and the U.Ok. is round 40 hours per week, though many employees go over this. It is unlawful to work greater than 48 hours per week within the U.Ok. on common. 

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, declined to remark when requested about its tradition and the hours that workers work.

‘I ended conversations fairly shortly’

One tech employee, who was approached a few communications position within the U.Ok., informed CNBC {that a} 996 tradition was “definitely a priority” for them.

“The most typical ‘con’ I discovered from my Glassdoor analysis was round work-life steadiness and loopy hours and that appears to be the identical even now,” stated the supply, who requested to stay nameless because of the delicate nature of the dialogue. “(It) did not appear value it.”

The supply added: “I ended conversations fairly shortly after I established that they had little or no flexibility round working places and insurance policies.”

The identical particular person stated they had been contacted a couple of weeks later “for a really comparable position” at ByteDance. “I established from background studying and Glassdoor critiques that they’re one and the identical,” the particular person stated, including that it was “all a bit odd” and “a fortunate miss.”

TikTok, which introduced on Friday that ByteDance Chief Monetary Officer Shou Zi Chew has been made TikTok’s new CEO, might also be lacking out on some technical expertise too. A senior synthetic intelligence researcher, who requested to stay nameless because of the nature of the dialogue, turned down a job supply from TikTok though the recruiter had informed them the wage was more likely to be over £100,000 ($139,000) a 12 months plus choices.

“I did go to Glassdoor. It does not appear to be constructive with regards to work/life steadiness, which is one thing I actually worth. I used to be a bit involved about that,” the supply stated, including that the critiques put them off accepting the position however that they weren’t the one issue.

Whereas Glassdoor is extensively considered a helpful platform for doing due diligence on what corporations are like on the within, it isn’t excellent and critiques must be taken with a grain of salt. Persons are capable of submit a number of critiques, and customers could also be extra inclined to overview their firm in the event that they’ve had an overwhelmingly constructive or an overwhelmingly unfavorable expertise. However 4 former workers informed CNBC that they’d had a unfavorable expertise on the firm, whose video-sharing app has been downloaded over 2 billion instances.

One former worker, who requested to stay nameless because of the delicate nature of the dialogue, informed CNBC that TikTok was probably the most poisonous office they’ve ever skilled.

“Everybody there’s completely depressing, and life is simply too brief,” the supply stated. “Throughout my first 12 months earlier than the pandemic hit, I can rely probably 4 or 5 weekends in the course of the 12 months the place I didn’t work.”

The supply added: “Persons are proper to be postpone and I do know they’re now struggling to rent, however in the end they do not care both approach, persons are simply numbers to them.”

One other former worker, who requested to stay nameless because of the delicate nature of the dialogue, informed CNBC that the typical working day at TikTok was 15 hours lengthy. “For them it was regular,” the supply stated. “All people was complaining however actually everyone was accepting it on the finish, in all probability as a result of salaries had been good.”

The identical particular person stated they did not just like the “very untransparent tradition.” The previous worker stated they did not get any solutions again once they requested questions concerning the firm. “It was very, very tough to seek out the best solutions, and to actually enhance the processes we had been working with,” the supply stated.


Two different former staff, who requested to stay nameless because of the delicate nature of the dialogue, echoed these points and considered one of them referred CNBC to their very own overview on Glassdoor, which is titled “AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.” Within the one-star overview, the person lists 10 the explanation why individuals ought to “resist the temptation to affix (TikTok) and look elsewhere.” Criticisms vary from “zero work life steadiness” to “poisonous groups” and “terrible administration.”

TikTok has been scaling up its workforce around the globe to assist it take care of the stresses that include being a wildly common social media app. This consists of content material moderation, in addition to technical and coverage issues.

In a bid to enhance office tradition, TikTok employed Michal Osman from Fb as its head of tradition in Europe in January. However her arrival comes after dozens of exits.

An AI researcher, who wasn’t approached a few position instantly and requested to stay nameless because of the nature of the dialogue, informed CNBC: “I do know TikTok have been discussing with plenty of individuals. I do not assume it is simple for them to recruit, as a result of there’s nonetheless a scarcity of individuals that may lead (AI) labs.”

Whereas some persons are clearly reluctant to affix, the corporate has grown its headcount in Europe from round 1,600 in September to over 3,000 right this moment, with many becoming a member of from Fb and Google. It declined to share U.Ok. and worldwide worker numbers.

Winnie Akadjo joined TikTok as a creator operations supervisor this month. “There are some fascinating critiques on Glassdoor however I needed to take the leap; and be assured in my talents to deal with a scaling firm,” she informed CNBC.

One other present worker who additionally needed to stay nameless informed CNBC that they have not skilled a 996 tradition, including that there are protected assembly blocks the place work conferences are banned on Wednesday lunchtimes and no conferences on Friday afternoons.

In the meantime, TikTok was ranked because the thirtieth greatest place to work within the U.Ok. by Nice Place to Work. The survey and consulting agency expenses corporations a charge earlier than they’ll seem on its lists, however claims the rankings are wholly decided by worker expertise and their anonymized suggestions.

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