AKQA Reviews

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
191 Reviews
2.7
191 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Ajaz Ahmed
33 Ratings

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 23 reviews)

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

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Blue chip clients. No investment in people.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Media Director
    Current Employee - Associate Media Director

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

    Pros

    Best in class clients and projects. Smart, good, and cool employees. Able to touch and be exposed to a lot of different types of work.

    Cons

    No investment in people. Little vision from the top. You're sort of on your own here, there's no proactiveness towards retaining best people. It's only when you are out the door when they try to incentivize you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in people. Invest in emerging disciplines. Commit to a vision and direction. Proactively reward top performers so they aren't forced to leave/job hunt. Provide career opportunities and paths.

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

    Made amazing friends, but creativity is dismal.

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

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

    Pros

    - Great people, made amazing friends
    - Okay salary (Warning, they will always try to undercut you)
    - Nice office spaces

    Cons

    - Dictatorship with being fun and creative around the office, the office manager once hid all fun toys and signs when Ajaz was coming in for 20 minutes.

    - Agency thinks they are creative, however 9/10 they will do whatever the client wants, project mangers will take any kind of terrible work from client, just to keep their time allocation for every creative packed.

    - You work in a call center, because no one wants to make the environment fun

    - They hire people who bring nothing to the culture of the company, who love to do their 9-5 and go home.

    - They will show you a demo reel, watch closely as all the creative work are digital leaderboards.

    - Technology Innovation agency. You're kidding. IT gives incorrect, outdated, slow machines. Refuse to buy industry standard displays that every single creative agency uses, because they believe that Dell make the best displays. Even though, they are more expensive that the industry standard Apple Cinema Displays. The colors don't show up right. One time, our client made a observation that the white, was pink. during a presentation.

    - Don't even bother doing reimbursements. They take too long, and sometimes take two months to get to your account.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow creatives, to be creative.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 10 people found this helpful  

    horrible experience

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

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

    Pros

    None. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

    Cons

    Everything. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place to learn, but not much growth opportunity. Very hierarchical and political.

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

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

    Pros

    Went from having zero knowledge of the industry to becoming highly competent. Perks include yoga on Wednesdays, mouthwash in the bathrooms, fancy coffee machines in the kitchen. Tuesdays and Thursdays also offer runners a chance to get a sweat in during lunch hours.

    Cons

    If you aren't working as a director of some type, you'll get dirt pay. Hours are typical of an agency - long and with the exception of a pitch, uncompensated.

    Teams are very siloed. Very low opportunity for advancement. Promotions typically are within 5-10% increase in salary and come every 3-5 quarters - not enough really to move the needle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more on the employees you have!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    Monotonous, mind numbing place to work.

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Within 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 ManagementAdvice

    Respect 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Project Manager

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

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

    Pros

    1. Great people. Almost everyone is enthusiastic and funny, which makes it easier when you have to work late nights.
    2. Great clients. Having amazing brands on my resume helped me get where I am now.
    3. You can work on any cool project or any cool client. All you have to do is ask and be proactive.

    Cons

    1. Rotten to the core senior management. My favorite thing was when the senior management promoted themselves after the merger with WPP.
    2. Low pay, long hours, 2 weeks of vacation for the first 2 years. Nobody lasts longer than 2 years btw.
    3. Expect to work on a ton of keynote decks. Unfortunately most of the time the deck ends up being the final deliverable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your people better.
    Focus on your current clients rather than new business.
    Again, treat your people better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Ok company

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

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good people working in the company.

    Cons

    But not a good people management.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Good from far, far from good.

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

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

    Pros

    Most of the people are pretty cool.

    Cons

    - Account leadership is heavily inexperienced
    - High turnover, can't staff teams properly
    - Account people say 'how high?' every time a client says 'jump'. Lie to people below them. Manage up, only share information with leadership. They come up with the 'story' they will sell everyone.
    - People making the work are always last to know - too late since client already has meeting dates set up on calendar
    - Greedy, only care about trying to get more money and new business, will sell out all the UX, tech and creative teams and make people work crazy hours to put work in front of clients, sometimes they haven't even asked for it.
    - Let good talent go, do nothing to offer people new and exciting work
    - Boring clients in NY, banking and telecom are the only things they can win
    - Innovation is stifled, does not make it past the pitch because the timelines and budgets don't allow for anything but production - Only build websites, not much other work
    - Production vendor project approach
    - Hard to career path, totally chaotic

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Bring in more inspirational work
    - Treat people less like numbers and more like valued employees
    - Quit setting up your teams to fail on every project/account

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    An okay place to work

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

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

    Pros

    Company culture is good, the NYC office is smaller, so you get to know almost everyone. They throw monthly parties, bagel Mondays, monthly birthday cakes etc.

    Compensation is average to above average.

    If you like stability, then you should work here. But stability comes at the cost of doing any remotely interesting work at all.

    Cons

    If you're a creative, not the most exciting place to work. Not going to work on any "sexy" clients here, a lot of banking, telecom, etc.. The few interesting clients they do have is mostly website work.

    Upward mobility at this company is pretty difficult.

    Account can also be chaotic. Would often receive BLANK briefs, and would have to rely on word of mouth from account on what was needed, only to have the client reject it and say they wanted the exact opposite. This was NORMAL, and incredibly frustrating.

    AKQA prides itself on "innovation". There was little innovation going on here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the account people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great company to work for!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at AKQA

    Pros

    Lots of great clients, good budget and wonderful people to work with.

    Cons

    There is mild chaos at times.

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