AKQA Reviews

Updated August 24, 2015
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3.5
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
100 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

282 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Dirty place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Web Developer in New Delhi (India)
    Former Employee - Senior Web Developer in New Delhi (India)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA (More than a year)

    Pros

    No Pros for this company only cons and cons is there in this company

    Cons

    No Team work and no proper work for the employees. Bias culture and employees are treated like Slave Senior Management Never say truth and always give false commitment to their employees Huge partiality between the employees. No work culture and always talk in air which has no evidence. Cheating is the primarily culture for senior management. There are employees who are very dear to the senior management and they have been always getting benefited by the management. Overall bad, dirty and unprofessional place to work where there is no respect for the employees, no work and people use abusive language within the companies. Shameful atmosphere within the company.

    Advice to Management

    One of the worst sick and paralyzed senior management who is not capable of doing anything. Paralyzed senior management. Senior management is sleeping and doing nothing as they are not capable of doing any thing.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Design Director

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people, the clients, the work, the skills across the company. In a time of transition, so ripe with opportunity to help shape the direction.

    Cons

    In a time of transition. So if you want to plug and play you can, but you will feel uncomfortable.


  3. Helpful (9)

    Fading into creative irrelevance

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative
    Former Employee - Creative
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I am reviewing this from a creative standpoint: there was great talent. Great people. A few folks trying to create a culture. There were interesting clients and the name of AKQA.

    Cons

    Strictly speaking as a creative: the place is run like a federal office. Bad timings, bad budgeting, only project work - there was no way to create big impactful work. That's why EVERYONE left. You would work hard to create presentation after presentation-they all would end up in the ever expanding graveyard of lost ideas.

    Advice to Management

    Well, seems like AKQA sold its soul to WPP. The people running the SF office now are a joke. Detached. Rude. Blind. The ECD's that have left by now have not been able to built a functioning place. When the first one left, the remaining ECD just steered this ship in circles. Upstream. Downstream. Nowhere. Then he left himself. The result: AKQA is a shadow of its former self. As a creative: AVOID! They still haven't found a new ECD for the office. Banners don't need ECD's.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Dirty Laundry

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tech in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Tech in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some smart people who don't air company business on social challenge. Business walks in the door because we do great work.

    Cons

    Stupid employees who violate communications policy and don't have the guts to speak up at work and complain after the fact.

    Advice to Management

    Higher people who aren't entitled and have the sense to negotiate with valued perceived of themselves and the company in a mutual beneficial way.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Amateur Hour

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cool clients, loads of potential, and a handful of really smart people. At the moment it's a great place to work if you enjoy making banner ads.

    Cons

    Backward priorities and BS politics. It's all about the revenue and never about the work. The current "leadership" is inexperienced, above getting their hands dirty and unwilling to invest in the talent needed to make this place great again. As a result, all the best talent are leaving en masse. Buyer beware.

    Advice to Management

    Start hiring people who are better and smarter than you.


  7. Helpful (6)

    Identity Crisis

    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    If you're on the right account, you get to work on some really innovative work. Great place to build a professional network and portfolio.

    Cons

    Fair share of egos. Upper management is totally out of touch with its employees. Long hours!

    Advice to Management

    Maybe selling the company wasn't the best idea? Since then, you've lost your identity with heavy turnaround in lead roles. Bring in strong leadership and give them reason to stay. Try harder to promote/retain good talent. Reward your employees.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Growing pains but going the right direction

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Great opportunities, trust in the new hires and in the younger ones to try to shine, a culture of choosing the right clients for the right opportunities, internal programs for mentorship and training (inspirational talks, workshops for presentation skills, industry software, internship programs...), openness to try a different career path in the agency, opportunities to work at different AKQAs around the world...

    Cons

    Lack of client variety at the moment because AKQA is being picky with their pitches and want the right opportunity with attractive clients (a good and bad thing). UX, creative and project management have good leaders but account lead alienates the whole department who lacks attention and mentorship. Strategy leader is smart but quite junior for the role he is embodying.

    Advice to Management

    Senior leadership who dares being genuine about the good and the bad will be more attractive than leadership who pretends like everything is always great. Listen to the rumors and do something about it.


  9. Helpful (7)

    The Dynasty is Over

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Account in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are some really great people. But losing them quickly.

    Cons

    Sadly the good people are leaving. The ones who haven't are just biding time until they find something better and they will. AKQA suffers from a lot of its own self inflicted flaws. What was once a great creative powerhouse is now a cumbersome machine. The WPP hooks have officially robbed AKQA of what made it an amazing, inspiring place to create ideas and have fun. There is no fun. Only work. It's the antithesis of what AKQA says its in conflict with, mediocrity. Bloated teams and meetings, no accountability from senior management. The once vibrant life that drove AKQA, is now d driven by cost cutting, unfair pay and bonuses to a select few, poorly managed projects and antiquated processes that are more from the Stone Age than an ideas and innovations company as they have bestowed upon themselves. There are people that can't perform their basic functions of their job, and a lot of them are in senior leadership. When projects do get off to a good start - which rarely happens, when they do, someone usually manages to sell out the entire team on crazy timelines and ridiculous client demands. There is no process, there is only chaos. They spend the least amount of time on the most important thing, the work. No one cares, it's all about money. There is no acknowledgement of company challenges, only a more concerted effort to sweep it under the rug. More email banter from global about how great AKQA is. More cheerleader visits from Ajaz telling how AKQA is the best it's ever been and how employees should work harder and longer to experience the satisfaction of success. Unfortunately that satisfaction will never come for most. There is a class system at AKQA. Only the privileged few will get to work on prestigious clients and projects, doesn't matter if they are profitable, it's all for show. Those projects will be featured on the site, submitted to Cannes, given budgets for case studies, mentioned in media and on company emails. Work that the proletariat class can only read about. I wish I could say more positive things, but this is the reality currently. AKQA is well on its way to the middle.

    Advice to Management

    Be willing to make things right with the people that work hard for you everyday. Is this what you envisioned AKQA to be?


  10. Helpful (1)

    Great if you get on the right clients

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great client portfolio, work hard and you'll get a chance to work on some great projects.

    Cons

    Some of the client work is pretty standard, so you'll need to earn your stripes there before getting on the more innovative projects.

    Advice to Management

    Keep a focus on people, that was lost for a while but it is definitely getting better.


  11. Helpful (2)

    The bad reviews are for production not media

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Media Planner in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Media Planner in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Glassdoor readers may not realize there are actually two different "offices" at AKQA-SF: digital production and Media. The bad reviews refer to the production side and media has different management who care about their employees, promote from within, value feedback, are thoughtful and considerate, and people have fun and like each other. So all the bad stuff you're reading isn't about us.

    Cons

    Media isn't perfect, pay could be better and hours can be long but not untypical for our industry.

    Advice to Management

    Distinguish your media department from production so people know what you're about and that you treat your employees better. People shouldn't be afraid to work for you because of all the bad things they read.



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