AKQA Reviews

Updated June 29, 2015
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
3 Ratings

Pros
  • There are a few great people in the NY office (in 17 reviews)

  • Great clients with awesome budgets (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • I know some other departments have a much less favorable work life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • As a result, developers work long hours under insane pressure and no personal life (in 19 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

7 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    They have to fake reviews

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operations in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Operations in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Cool office in a good location. Fruit. Travel to their offices globally can be good.

    Cons

    The culture is dysfunctional, managers are divisive and dismissive, there is no care taken of employees. Management and Execs are self serving and seem to derive great satisfaction from putting down others and creating office drama. It is a cynical, empty and awful place to work.

    Advice to Management

    hard to say. If you haven't changed by now you never will.


  2. Helpful (7)

    Talentless Factory

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Creative Director in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Associate Creative Director in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Name on your resume

    Cons

    - Highly political : upper management is not connected to reality and treat the rest of us like garbage
    - Social Post : It's not an Ad agency anymore, everybody work on Instagram or Facebook posts for brands
    - You don't get credits for your work
    - Unreasonable deadline
    - toxic atmosphere
    - people leave every week
    - when you leave the agency, you are not allowed to send an email to say goodbye to your coworkers

    Advice to Management

    They don't want any. We have reviews at AKQA and we all shared our concern. Upper management answer : there is nothing we can do, Ajaz, Duan and Jeff are the ones that decide.
    AKQA used to be a place for dreamer, for technology lovers. Where did the creativity go ?


  3. Helpful (11)

    Reviews are fake

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Art Director in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Art Director in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You'll learn about doing beautiful presentations

    Cons

    First of all, other reviews are fake and have been written by HR department, I can guarantee that !
    I'll give you my honest opinion based on facts, this is not a biased or angry review.

    I can tell you that AKQA is by far the less innovating company on earth. It has become a social company, everybody write social copy, shoot Instagram posts. It's ridiculous. Everybody keeps complaining about it, but nobody confront clients.

    AKQA has extremely bad Account Director, that not only don't know how to do their job but that will also put the creative department in extremely uncomfortable and dangerous situation. Account Director will expanse expensive dinners with clients or personal expanses but when you need to expanse the tiniest little thing for one of your project, they will reject it.

    It is also by far the most political company I've ever worked for. Everything is about relationship,
    Junior or mid-level people will be crushed by upper management and that is a fact. It is a poisonous work environment.

    If you are a creative, RUN ! This is not a place where you'll learn things, leadership is not charismatic or inspirational at all. People leave all the time and most of the time only after few months which tells a lot about the atmosphere inside of the company.
    They are hiring a lot right now because everybody is leaving.

    One of the biggest AKQA problem that should convince you not to come here is that you'll never ever produce some work. Clients will always take your idea and produce it in-house.
    Why? Because AKQA is too expansive to produce stuff, so clients just steal ideas and do it on their own. Which means that you will not be able to put your work in your portfolio or be credited for it.

    I honestly think that no company is perfect but AKQA is the worst. The worst.

    Advice to Management

    None because people already gave them advices during official reviews and they just don't care.
    There is nothing that can be done to save this agency that will sink in the next few years I'll bet all my money on that.


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  5. Helpful (9)

    The end of an empire

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Lovely people but even the most human are leaving.

    Cons

    This once great agency has fallen on hard times. No doubt the money will keep rolling in and they can definitely trade off their reputation for a few years to come.

    A mere five years ago no one was doing what AKQA was doing. They had the clients, the talent and technical infrastructure to get some incredible world firsts off the ground.

    Now smaller agencies and start ups can do what AKQA does for a fraction of the cost and at twice the speed. Even the quality that was AKQA’s trademark has fallen by the wayside. A bloated bureaucracy has arisen despite the cries of lean thinking and start up mindsets.

    Today it resembles a club that was once frequented by artistic greats, but is now filled with the industry’s equivalent of estate agents and financial advisors. Everyone wants a bit of the famous fire but only embers remain.

    If you can stomach it, by all means, go for a year. Get the initials on your CV but be in no doubt – this beast is choking out its death rattle.

    Advice to Management

    Pull a Brutus.


  6. Helpful (9)

    Dismal. So glad I left!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Thinking about it, there were few pros to working here. Some colleagues are fine but all the good people eventually leave.
    London location is good. That's about it!

    Cons

    I am out of there nearly two years and I am so happy I made the decision to go. I had no alternative lined up but being unemployed for a little while was so much better than staying. AKQA is simply the worst place I have ever worked. Bullying is casual, backstabbing is the lifeblood of this place. The senior mgmt are terrified/cronies of the CEO which manifests in a culture of bullying and pettiness for those who report to them. It is awful.

    Advice to Management

    I bet you don't read Glassdoor. Perhaps you do but you don't care anyway.


  7. Helpful (8)

    Never worked so hard and been treated so badly

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in London, England (UK)

    I worked at AKQA

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It does some cool advertising stuff if you're into that kind of thing, and some of the other people are really talented.

    Cons

    Pretty much the longest run of unbelievably long hours I've ever worked - about 9 months straight of 80 hour weeks. Project management without a clue. Far too many people just buying into the idea of being cool and hip and making pretty things, and no appreciation of the people who are actually doing that.

    Advice to Management

    Stop working people so hard, listen to the people who know how to do the work rather than the people who are just telling you what you want to hear and playing politics.


  8. Helpful (4)

    Great at pitching terrible at delivering...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at AKQA

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great client list, some fantastic work and awards. Very creative indeed and most of the work has an edge of cool to it. Some really nice, driven people. Great fun if after work drinking with your work mates is your thing.

    Cons

    Horrendous working hours, bad account management and absolutely no long term project management. Life is just one great big pitch - when it comes to actually delivering it is a very difficult environment to work in, especially if you are not one of the Creatives.

    Playing catch-up seems to be the norm at AKQA - they either don't accurately scope how long things take to do or they spend so much time wasting time that everyone ends up working til midnight to kick something through the door.

    I don't think AKQA are great at anything that outside of mega creative. Technical reasoning seems to take a back seat and nobody thinks too hard about users either.

    All in all, not a great place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Stop working your great people to death. Allow enough time to develop properly. Practise all those fantastic things you preach in your pitches.



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