AKQA Reviews

Updated July 3, 2015
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
18 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

50 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (18)

    Positive reviews are faked

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at AKQA full-time

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

    Pros

    There is an awesome rooftop garden.

    Cons

    Faking reviews is a tasteless way of dismissing legitimate problems, and speaks to how little you value the opinions of your employees.

    Advice to Management

    I don't think giving advice to management will make a difference.


  2. Helpful (8)

    Worst decision of my career

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    There were some pretty talented and cool people who worked there - please note 'were' and 'worked' - past tense. This place is a sink hole and it's miserable. Thank goodness for sites like Glassdoor that allow potential employees to read reviews and decide for themselves which are genuine and which are promoted by the company. I find it hilarious, probable, pathetic and not surprising that they're being accused of faking reviews. There is no way anyone who worked here would give this place more than two stars and it's just the type of thing I would expect from the floundering bullies.

    Cons

    Every single meeting, email, phone call and each day I had to walk through the doors to this place.

    Advice to Management

    What's the point, they'd never listen - a cruel bunch who are concerned only with themselves and have relied on the reputation of an agency (built by others who've since left) to keep people coming in the door while they can avoid facing their outrageous turnover problems.


  3. Helpful (16)

    Someone is Creating Fake Reviews

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    - Friendly coworkers
    - Bagels on Mondays

    Cons

    - The reviews over the past couple of months must be faked by someone. There are repeated phrases and the cons are extremely middle-of-the-road. For any potential employee reviewing Glassdoor, take these reviews with a grain of salt.

    Advice to Management

    No need to create reviews for the sake of boosting morale and/or your ranking on Glassdoor. Enticing people with phony reviews and information will only hurt you in the long run if the turnover continues at a steady pace.


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  5. Helpful (12)

    Watching a crash in slow motion!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AKQA

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

    Pros

    The people were great. The name looks good on the CV.

    Cons

    This place is about to crash. Nobody cares for AKQA. The good people are leaving.

    Advice to Management

    You guys do a bad job.


  6. Helpful (13)

    Positive Reviews are FAKE!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    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

    The office is cool. Bagels on Mondays. Normally, you'd say the people but THEY ARE ALL LEAVING!

    Cons

    DO NOT WORK THERE!!!! I was in the SF office for over a year and it's so bad they're posting fake reviews to help recruiting and their perception.
    - Leadership is terrible
    - The work is not is good because they have inexperienced people doing the work
    - The client management is terrible
    - They treat their employees very poorly

    Advice to Management

    quit and bring in some real leaders


  7. Helpful (2)

    Agency of Record

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AKQA full-time

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

    Pros

    Fabulous work could be created for all of the clients.

    Cons

    AKQA only does the digital portion of the creative work.

    Advice to Management

    Become the agency of record for more clients, as opposed to a digital partner.


  8. Helpful (13)

    Don't work here.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in San Francisco, CA

    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

    There are not many pros to working for AKQA. You will get to work on big brands, but mostly as creating banners or short lived, shallow campaign microsites. There are some very nice people there, none of which are in management roles.

    Cons

    Long hours. I know it's advertising and long hours are a standard in the business, but this is ridiculous. One month we worked 100 hour weeks back to back. During this time one person was sent home, but only after they started vomiting. Another was given the chance to have a night off, but only after they broke down crying. During this time people worked up to 36 hours straight.

    Aside from the abnormally long hours, the common workweek is between 50-70 hours. Not great.

    The 'Leadership'. The people at the top lack empathy and passion. Most are so removed from the creative process that they don't have the ability to comprehend just how unsatisfying the work is for the "creatives." Most seem to have been promoted quickly due to their ability to rub shoulders with the right people. These people are aloof and completely delusional. Their self-aggrandizing knows no bounds. While in most cases they work removed from the creative process to develop top-notch strategies, there are times when they do participate in the creative process by giving subjective and destructive feedback that at times goes against what is considered best practices.

    The culture. It's hard to have much of a culture when people are worked to the point for sickness and/or tears. While there seems to be some interest in improving culture by having a "Health and Wellness Director," the current state is dismal. One person making smoothies and giving out plants to 400 over worked and under appreciated people isn't the answer.

    The work. Coming to AKQA I was excited by the work I had seen on the site. What I did not take into consideration was that this accounted for a very small portion of the work. Also, while some of the brands might be pretty impressive, much of the art direction and branding work is done by other (better) agencies/studios. This leaves creatives at AKQA working as banner, microsite, and social specialist. If you think designing the 300x250 banner and a Facebook cover image sounds exciting, then maybe this is the place for you.

    The career opportunities. Do you think the above-mentioned work sounds good? Then you will be fine. Do you enjoy sucking up to people? Yes? Then you with thrive. Moving up within the company is really based on whom you're friendly with and what account/project you are assigned to. Coincidentally the people that get to work on the projects/accounts that let their talents/egos shine are the same people that continually suck up to the management.

    The hierarchy. Opposite of flat.

    Compensation and Benefits. It's good, but keep in mind, you're not getting paid for 40 hours per week. You're getting paid for 70 hours a week, plus weekend work, plus back breaking sprints for releases or pitches, so plan accordingly during the negotiation process.

    Advice to Management

    Replace yourselves with people that have better management skills and more compassion.


  9. Helpful (9)

    Get in and get out.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Nice business cards.
    - Good name to put on your resume.
    - Great clients.
    - People are nice and there are some talented people working here.

    Cons

    - They didn't take the time to on-board me properly, which led to frustrations and miscommunication down the road.
    - Bad sign when an employee who has been working there for two years told me "two years is long in AKQA years".
    - Extremely high turn-around. Someone quits every week.
    - They try to compete with tech companies in San Francisco yet they don't have any office perks other than a coffee machine (which is usually broken) and some green juice they make once a week.
    - Hours are unreasonable. 12+ hours are the norm plus weekends. I went to work every morning not knowing when I can go home and I stopped making plans after work.
    - PMs only care about the client and don't care about designers or developers. They will willingly hand you work at 5pm or 6pm.
    - If you left before 6pm, people would look at you and think that you don't care about the work, the client, or the company.
    - No growth opportunities.
    - Horrible management. They care more about how they are perceived by clients and from the outside rather than how the rest of the employees perceive them.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be better management. Please hire better managers that know what they are doing and aren't constantly worried about their perception from the outside. I'm at a different company now with managers that truly care about my growth and well-being and I'm baffled as to how I lasted at AKQA for as long as I did. At my current company, my manager does a one-on-one with me every single week while at AKQA, my manager didn't check on me at all, in fact, ignored me. My manager only talked to me if there was something wrong. If you aren't at the top of their priority, they won't give you the time of day.


  10. Helpful (7)

    Changing direction...No sinking ship.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    ... They give you really nice business cards and when the coffee machine works the line for it is not that long.

    Cons

    there is no leadership so JR members of the company and those with senior titles continually blame one another instead of working as a team to accomplish goals. This toxic culture is impossible to grow in and has caused the majority of the talented and good people to leave.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like people and not "resources to bring in revenue". Train people so they stay and stop playing the blame game.


  11. Helpful (6)

    Not so good with people....

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at AKQA

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

    Pros

    There are definitely some smart people to work with, especially within the tech and ux department. You will learn many things if you are willing and talk to the right people.
    There's a monthly company party with free drinks and food if you're into that sort of things.

    Cons

    There's absolutely no sense of growth or care within some departments. Project management leadership treats people with disrespect and expect the extra mile from every member. There was no guidance on anything and typically projects are handed over with high pressure and no information. Verizon seemed like the only good client to work on. Very high turn over with many people unhappy.

    Advice to Management

    treat people with respect and provide them a path to grow. Currently it seems management is only providing themselves a path to grow.



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