AKQA

  www.akqa.com
  www.akqa.com

AKQA Reviews in London, England

197 Reviews
2.6
197 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Ajaz Ahmed
38 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people (in 17 reviews)

  • Lots of great clients, good budget and wonderful people to work with (in 14 reviews)


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

  • Low pay, long hours, 2 weeks of vacation for the first 2 years (in 19 reviews)

More Highlights

12 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Rollercoaster

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Get to work on some great client projects and most of the folks you work with will be great at their job. If you put in the effort you will generally be rewarded.

    Cons

    Middle management - PMs and TDMs can be hit or miss. Some are great others you wonder how the hell they have a job in the industry. This means you'll either have a great experience on a project or just be wishing to work on another team. Also promotions seem to be handed out to whoever does the most overtime not the people with the talent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work smarter not longer.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great variety of work, but an immature environment and no career progression

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The work is usually varied, and projects are beautiful and innovative. Wonderful offices, very friendly colleagues, culture of politeness, good equipment, central location surrounded by bars/cafes, travel opportunities.

    Cons

    Every project is a ground-up restart with few lessons shared or work re-used. The pay is uncompetitive compared to other industry roles, and hiring is done more on cultural fit than skill. Getting development support is hard. Managers are great at their day jobs, but poor at managing people and their development. It's easy to feel overlooked and interchangeable. There's a rule on 'no promotions or pay-rises within a year of joining', regardless of performance. There's a rigid career ladder and there's no scope to carve out new roles - skills outside the narrow job spec will not be recognised or used.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please develop your senior managers. Many are incumbents who aren't that effective. Many manage by giving a 'thumbs up' to initiatives from their teams, but won't support initiatives and can't make things happen. The founder's monthly hyperbole-and-air emails make staff roll their eyes, and set a bad precedent for the VPs, who attempt to do the same and just look disconnected.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    CV booster

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Great people to work with - you will make some great friends.

    Cons

    Its a bit like the wild west in there, which worked when the business was much smaller. It now needs structure and investment to support its size, but that doesn't seem to be happening. As far as I can see it will continue to suffer from a lack of planning.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get some people in who know who to operate a business this size/

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Mediocre for the most part

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -great clients
    -looks good on cv
    -a lot of employees are great, smart and genuine about getting the work done
    -the social life is good

    Cons

    - very, very high turnover. Such a shame they have lost so many good, but very frustrated, people
    - management.
    - HR are dysfunctional/not empowered or both. Don't rely on them to solve issues
    - lots of talk, promises etc and little follow through. The inspirational leader is a rare beast here.
    - planning- high use of freelancers, lots of personnel change and last minute deadlines that could be averted with just a bit of planning

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Open your eyes and stop avoiding the obvious. Walk the talk.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good place for personal growth

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

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    There are opportunities, if you're lucky you'll be awarded access to them.
    There are extremely talented people at your disposal. Most of them very busy but they're all a great bunch.
    AKQA has a very good portfolio, definitely one to have on your resume.

    Cons

    Easy to hit the ceiling in terms of carreer progression as it doesn't go very far in the Technology dept.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give people that you say 'shine' more opportunities to 'shine'. It's difficult to outperform your competition if you're consistently handed something that needs fixing, rather than being allowed to play with the toys.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Hard work, long hours, lack of praise and/or benefits.

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

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    - Work on great high profile creative projects
    - Good clients
    - Name on CV is worth it's weight in gold

    Cons

    - Long hours
    - Lack of benefits for effort put in
    - Poor pay compared to other agencies
    - Limited time off
    - Lack of praise for hard work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nice style, no substance.

    No opinion of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    An impressive company overall - but look before you leap

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

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    * Not many agencies can match a client roster like this - Ferrari, Nike, Warner Brothers, Visa, XBOX, Fiat, Heineken, Diageo, Unilever, etc... If you're a career focused agency type who wants to play with the big boys, this is the place to be.

    * Some of the most comprehensive best practices in the industry - AKQA train their staff well and you'll learn more than you ever thought.

    * Great social life if you're into drinking and/or socialising with your workmates and your team.

    * Good opportunities to transfer internationally - London, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, etc... - AKQA do make efforts to give you a world-class experience (literally) if you want it.

    Cons

    * The days when AKQA was focused on innovative design and quality service are gone. Now, it's all about one thing - serving their shareholders. AKQA haven't dished out pay reviews or bonuses in a long time but the perks to the senior execs are very, very visible.

    * Poor work/life balance and it's getting worse. High profile clients come at a price and that price is you, especially if you work on these accounts. The more high profile the account you work on, the more pressure there is for you to deliver. If you end up on one of the more bread and butter accounts, you'll be ignored or often treated as a second class citizen.

    * Shoddy and often chaotic project and account management. I do feel sorry for the account services teams as they are in the front lines of serving multiple masters, but as overwhelmed as they are - they won't rock the boat and that effect is felt all throughout their teams.

    * Lots of attitude and ego and not much substance on the creative side, especially the higher up the food chain you go. If you're coming to AKQA to build really innovative products or to work with people who are genuinely passionate about design, you're in the wrong place. You have been warned.

    * Very young teams overall. Great if you're in your early to mid-20's but otherwise, you'll feel out of place unless you're in the management team.

    * Technical teams are hit and miss. A growing reliance on freelancers and outsourcing means lots of variable quality. Good people are snapped up and not allowed to leave their teams, leaving the rest just come and go.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember what got the agency where it is now. It wasn't about greed. It was about vision and the right people on the right projects at the right time.

    Focus on your staff first and the awards and clients will come faster than you might think.

    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good clients - you might work on them if you are a chosen one...

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

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    Client roster is second to none. Technical Architects are among the best in the industry. Everyone has heard of AKQA - very good to have on your CV.

    Cons

    Unless you work on the fashionable clients such as Nike and McLaren it is difficult to get recognition. Hours are long and in my opinion the salary doesn't reflect the lack of work/life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    In the tech department there is a definite feeling of the existence of a clique of favourites that get all the cushdy jobs. People outside of this group are doomed to work long, un-recognised days in lesser teams. Suffice to say this is very bad for morale.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    From exceptional to average

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

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    Some of the most brilliant people I've worked with
    Inspirational chairperson
    Amazing client roster - who wouldn't want to work on the Nike and Ferrari's of this world!

    Cons

    Losing it's mojo, surrendering to a board that just cares about cash and not a damn for it's people. This may have been due to a tough economic year, but even as things are now improving significantly, the message remains consistent - £££. AKQA used to be all about the product and it's people, now it feels as though it's only about performance. I hope it's a blip as the potential within AKQA is tremendous.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start balancing people, product and performance as the tipping point is fast approaching. Fail to do this and it will soon be the end of AKQA as some of us knew it. I am not alone in feeling this and many are waiting, watching and hoping for things to improve as we know they can.

    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Focussed on high profile clients and awards, not people

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

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    - You get to work with some fantastic brands on interesting projects.
    - You get to work with some fantastic and clever people - in all departments.
    - If you have a problem on a project and discuss your issues with the right people, the company will help you work them out.
    - The parties are amazing.

    Cons

    - The company is so obsessed with winning high profile clients and awards, that people seem to get sidelined - expect late nights and a low amount of pay when compared to the amount of effort put in.
    - If you aren't working on a high profile client, getting resource or recognition can be very difficult.
    - If you are working on a high profile client, having a life outside of work can be very difficult.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more on obtaining and retaining good people. A lot of talent has left the building, and a lot more will leave if they keep being overworked, asked to follow more and more procedures and under-rewarded.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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