AKQA
3.0 of 5 161 reviews
www.akqa.com San Francisco, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

AKQA Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.0 161 reviews

                             

50% Approve of the CEO

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Ajaz Ahmed

(18 ratings)

52% of employees recommend this company to a friend
161 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people"
    in 14 reviews
  • "Great clients with awesome budgets"
    in 12 reviews
Cons:
  • "The work/life balance and the expectations set on the employees are unrealistic"
    in 20 reviews
  • "Long hours (9am until 9pm and one day at weekends not uncommon)"
    in 17 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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2 people found this helpful  

Project Manager

Project Manager (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at AKQA full-time for more than a year

ProsFun working environment, good talented people

ConsManagement structure is very murky, unclear how one progresses through the company.

Advice to Senior ManagementDefine what is required to advance and stick to those requirements.

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10 people found this helpful  

Change the guard and start paying attention.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

ProsAKQA has some incredibly smart, crazy talented and really fun employees. In general, you want to work hard for your colleagues here, because for the most part, the doers are solid workers and great people. Depending on which department and account you work on, it is possible to maintain a good work/life balance here. Right now, this place still has clout, so saying you work for AKQA and having it on your resume still carries weight within the industry. You have opportunities to work on high profile projects for phenomenal clients that can become award winning work (if that matters to you), and you get the chance to offer your clients some pretty cool solutions for their business challenges.

ConsWith very few exceptions, almost anyone in a senior/director role is underqualified to be in their position. Managers are not managers, they are delegators who know how to climb the ranks. If you are mid-level, you will get very little support, guidance or recognition for your work and throughout your career. A very senior member of the agency once said "The good, capable people get overlooked here."

Some of the senior managers here have simply been around too long and are not in touch with what is going on. They don't pay attention to their team members and offer very little guidance and structure. Mid and junior level people have very little visibility into the bigger picture of the agency and we have almost no idea what is expected of us.

Shockingly, this place still doesn't seem to have a handle on resourcing properly for the massive accounts it consistently brings in the door. We are constantly strapped for resources and rarely have dedicated teams to work on our projects.

Advice to Senior ManagementPlease start paying attention to your employees. Not just your shining stars, but every person who walks in these doors every day, working hard for this company and our clients. Some of your accounts are struggling and it's not because of the clients - it's internal conflicts that are a symptom of poor or zero management. You've got the people in the trenches figuring stuff out as they go. We can all do better as an organization, but we need your help. We need grown ups in the room, so to speak. Please step up.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Amazing group of talented people

Senior Project Manager (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at AKQA full-time for more than 3 years

ProsExtremely talented digital natives who all push one another to do the best work. Highly competitive.

ConsNot all the offices are of the same size and scale and they don't all do an equal job of scaling the business model most effectively.

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep your independent roots intact.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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6 people found this helpful  

Talented People, Clueless Management

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at AKQA full-time for more than a year

ProsAKQA's got a great location and a great space, and for a long time it was a great place to work, for the most part. It's a dog-friendly office, and there are some really talented, smart people there. It looks great on a resume, you'll gain some good experience, and make some great connections.

ConsLow salaries, low morale, clueless upper management, over-extended employees, to start with. Whether it's true or not, no one believes management has their best interest at heart, and employees are overworked. There's a major culture and retention problem, starting with the top down. Salaries are particularly non-competitive for developers and tech.

Advice to Senior ManagementSalaries have to get more competitive to stay relevant in the Bay Area, and employees feel neglected. Walk the floors and put action behind retention talk.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Smart, competent people doing great work for blue-chip brands.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at AKQA for more than 3 years

ProsHigh-visibility work for best-in-class clients. Great location. Effective, cooperative and fun company culture.

ConsMerely adequate compensation for all but the top creatives/executives.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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7 people found this helpful  

Going downhill fast

Strategist (Current Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

ProsWas a great culture with great people. Fun projects and good alignment with other teams. Incredible visionaries who did some great incredible work.

ConsCheap company. Finance department is intolerable to get things improved. No vision beyond some great project based work. Very siloed, creative teams dispersed through the building but yet media and search teams reside in the basement where they have been for years. Now that there is a WPP acquisition, key leadership employees have been leaving. What was once a shining star really seems to be losing its luster, and fast.

Advice to Senior ManagementStabilize the ship, or you are going to lose 50% of your employees in the next year.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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6 people found this helpful  

Giant high school with no individuality or opportunity for growth

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at AKQA full-time

ProsBeer Fridge, Nice Location, 401K Match 50% after first year, Endless knowledge in mobile, and annual events including parties, picnics, and more crony activities.

ConsCrony Lifestyle, No Work Life Balance, Terrible Pay, Managers (don't have managerial skills), No Room for Growth, Everyone is Miserable there.

Advice to Senior ManagementLearn how to manage.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Award-winning creative in a young, driven environment

SEM & SEO (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at AKQA as a contractor for more than a year

Prosthere are always new projects in the pipeline
management provides flexibility and growth
co-workers are smart, self-motivated, and fun
great location (SF HQ office)

ConsI worked in Search, which is in LL2, the basement--no windows!

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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5 people found this helpful  

Old Men's Club Vibe in Agency Seeking to Innovate

Account (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at AKQA full-time for more than a year

Pros-Dogs Allowed in office
-Super smart, driven employees w/ agency experience
-Great SF location
-Good Reputation in Industry
-Good for creatives

Cons-Does not look out for junior level employees
-Favoritism shown towards tenured, mostly male, employees
-Corporate Vibe - Definitely not your "fun, creative" atmosphere found at most agencies in the area

Advice to Senior ManagementRemember your junior level employees, re-install the creative, small agency feel that no longer exists, stop hiring boring people.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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1 person found this helpful  

Good place to work, but lots of pressure

Senior Web Developer (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at AKQA full-time for more than 3 years

ProsInteresting work.
Fast paced.
Good place to learn.

ConsHigh pressure.
Demanding clients.
Account teams don't know how to handle clients.

Advice to Senior ManagementClient management is the key to retaining employees.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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