AKQA

  www.akqa.com
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AKQA Reviews

Updated Jul 18, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 178 reviews

48% Approve of the CEO

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Ajaz Ahmed

(25 ratings)

50% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people(in 16 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 21 reviews)

  • Long hours (9am until 9pm and one day at weekends not uncommon)(in 19 reviews)

178 Employee Reviews
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    horrible experience

    Creative Developer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsNone. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

    ConsEverything. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

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

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Don't work here.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsAll the perks of a big company, none of the charms of a small one.

    Big brands. Nice rooftop.

    ConsFundamental lack of leadership and direction.

    No sense of "play" or "fun". Expect to come in and be dazzled, then work like a third world employee in a sweatshop.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay more attention to your employees, they are your greatest asset.

    Have a clear mission statement and sense of direction for the company - lots of great talent at AKQA but there is no sense of it ever feeling like one unified "company".

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

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Monotonous, mind numbing place to work.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) New York, NY

    ProsPay and people are good. Everyone is friendly, which make it a comfortable place to be.

    ConsWithin a 6 month span I saw 80% of the creatives leave the New York office for other gigs. That says everything you need to know. Why is everyone leaving? The work is mind numbingly boring. Senior leadership caters to what the client wants, which is usually garbage. A paycheck doesn't make up for feeling like you're selling your soul. People that worked here for years left with MAYBE one mediocre book piece to show for it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRespect and promote your creatives. Push for interesting work. Pitch an interesting client for once instead of another bank. Having "AKQA" on your resume isn't good enough, the only thing that matters is doing good work.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Minimal respect for technology process and development

    Senior Creative Developer (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsOffice location, people, client list

    ConsThe SF office is driven entirely by account and creative people. Account promises everything to make clients happy, even if what they promise is an entirely unrealistic deadline, or even impossible. As a result, developers work long hours under insane pressure and no personal life. Anytime technology pushes back or tries to have a voice, it is squashed with an attitude of - well, you have to just do it!

    I've lost count of how many technology employees have left within the last 3 months. Virtually all of the Creative Technology managers have left along with several developers and architects (including myself). Morale is horrifically low and I'm sure over 50% of employees are interviewing elsewhere.

    Honestly, if you are thinking of working in tech for AKQA - DON'T! It's Silicon Valley - you can get a job elsewhere where you will be 1) paid more and 2) actually respected.

    It boggles my mind that a company that produces digital experiences can be so utterly clueless about the development process.

    Recently a CTO was (finally) hired and he was proclaimed to be amazing and going to fix everything. Cut to 2 months later where he presents 20 reasons why the company is failing on delivering technology and is so disgusted that he quits.

    And - of course - upper management makes no kind of announcement. It was like he evaporated into thin air and they hoped no one would notice.

    Seriously - it's a mess over there. I am in shock leadership hasn't been overturned.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet a clue.

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

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Awful. HORRIBLE place to work!

    Project Manager (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsSome cool people, dogs are allowed in the office, yoga, running club, cheap vending machines

    ConsTerrible management. All the Directors are clueless. They don't care about the people nor care about their careers. They don't know how to manage clients.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook for another job because you're not qualified for the one you have! Try going to business school and then come back and run the company.

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

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    9 people found this helpful  

    Miserable. I regret my decision to work here.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsSome really great individuals. Reasonably close to public transit. The vending machine is subsidized. You get to say you work on "cool" brands. You are allowed one piece of free fruit every afternoon.

    ConsThe majority of people I work with are unhappy and/or looking for employment elsewhere.

    As other reviewers have mentioned, expectations are unrealistic. Plan on spending all your nights and weekends working, or have your "dedication" questioned. Management makes little to no investment in the development of individuals or the cultivation of teams. There is neither training nor mentorship for junior team members. Atmosphere is one of bullying and intimidation, particularly among senior management.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you're fine with your high turnover rate, continue what you're doing. Smoothies, a few yoga classes and some quippy emails are no panacea for the deep problems facing this company.

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

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Lack of technical backbone

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsCool for creative folks. Could be great for creative folks as it is a creative digital agency.

    ConsIt seriously lacks the technological culture and bent of mind. Management is extremely inexperienced in technology, thus technical folks will find it to be a misfit.Lack of tools and processes in technology.Misfit for technical folks.

    Every office (say in New York) works as a company. Not sure whether it is structured as a profit center.Values - I would say it lacks values as it does not realize what is technology and does not value technology.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThink and do. Not "do and not think".

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Unprofessional environment. Stovepipe management.

    Senior Creative (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsA decent name with a history of doing good work; talented creatives in the below CD level; talented tech department.

    ConsMy experience with the upper management was one of bullying and manipulation. I was often treated in an unprofessional, demeaning manner, and saw the same thing happening to many of my peers.

    The best of those peers were often overloaded with work, then blamed when projects went wrong. The people who didn't do the work—instead focusing their energies on playing the game—were promoted into management.

    It's sad to see a place that was once a fun, creative agency devolve like this.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you really want to fix things, bring in a consultant and don't let them talk to a single manager—only lower level employees.

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

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Very unpleasant people to work for

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsNice looking office, good location

    ConsRacist, bigoted, egotistical staff, watch you back

    Advice to Senior ManagementResign

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

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    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Good stepping stone job, but not a good long-term solution if you want work/life balance.

    Senior Designer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsAKQA has a roster of great brands that can provide excellent experience & portfolio pieces
    There are some nice people working here
    They're trying new tactics for improving culture & wellness

    ConsReducing overwork is not in the culture & wellness agenda
    They are spineless when it comes to standing up to clients for AKQA creatives (until it involves charging them for work).
    Awful management - my direct manager once told me when I was being overworked to not do as good of a job.
    In my role, there was no advancement beyond Senior-level.
    Only a couple people care in each team - the others accept misery and make it their identity
    You are expected to work AT LEAST until 6pm and often on late nights & evenings.
    No follow-through from upper management on helping you achieve your career goals
    People allow management to work them silly because it's "advertising" - they get away with stealing your personal life with this attitude.
    You'd think with a company so big you'd make a lot of friends...there are a LOT of people here who don't want to be happy or go beyond acquaintances. That's fine - but it's hard to go to bat for people who you know only are nice when they want something.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of the people who don't care about their work and those who embody negativity.
    Show you appreciate individual effort with action (not just employee of the quarter/year but raises & promotions).
    Protect your creatives from grueling deadlines.
    Figure out what's happening on the account side of things so creatives who care have enough time to do the job the right way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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