AKQA

  www.akqa.com
  www.akqa.com

AKQA Reviews

Updated December 19, 2014
Updated December 19, 2014
201 Reviews
2.6
201 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Ajaz Ahmed
42 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people (in 17 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

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Some of their offices may make cool work, but NYC isn't one of them.

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of young people makes the office feel energetic and fresh. They're definitely a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-let's-get-to-work type of agency. They pride themselves on being a creative agency, which may sound good, but in practice leads to a lot of headaches. Monthly late night happy hours in the office were a fun and creative solution to get people together and bond/commiserate (depending on how your week went).

    Cons

    The lack of experienced staff leads to lots of indecision, which leads to rework, which leads to turn over. Employees tend to get staffed to particular accounts, so meeting people outside of your account is rather difficult. As a result, the office feels rather silo'ed.

    As a digital agency I was taken aback by the lack of general understanding of digital by most people. A project's creative direction was usually undertaken by the visual team rather than the UX team. While some designers can think interactively, their creative leadership (CD and GCD levels) clearly lack a strong understanding of IA or interaction design. Fighting their holier-than-thou mentality was a constant struggle as they try to push their own agenda while you try and design what's best for the user.

    If you are a UX designer this is not the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Separate departments (account, strategy, UX and visual) need to learn how to better collaborate with each other. It seems like each group is trying to own the project rather than it being a group effort.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Probably the worst place you will work

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

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor

    Pros

    some of the people are cool
    clients are pretty cool, some of them
    running and yoga are great- nice idea

    Cons

    miserably bad resourcing
    your bosses talk ill of each other everyday and wonder why they don't get along
    people are always talking behind one another's back
    toxic environment
    unreasonable client expectations
    clients simply are frustrated with AKQA, which in turn makes AKQA employees more frustrated
    sink or swim environment- no one is going to go out of their way to help you
    people literally hate coming to work. literally.
    cheapest place i have ever worked- they literally have vending machines
    creativity is constantly being crushed by either your boss or the client

    seriously- listen to the other reviews.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    Creatives, stay away!

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

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

    Pros

    Wonderful, smart people that try to do magic. A few, fun activities run by an amazing individual. A good client rooster. The AKQA name on your CV. But that's it.

    Cons

    Horrible leadership. No vision. No structure. No understanding of how to organize a creative department or a large company. Fails at producing good work because the process is not set up the right way. No time, no budget. I work in the creative department and all we do is concept, design decks and in the end we have no time or money to produce work. There is a focus on interns. Seems like experience and knowledge aren't valued. This is a money making machine that tries to deliver work, but fails. Creatives stay away. This is not what you think.

    The office is also a nightmare. Think about the cheapest way to maintain 400 people on one floor, or now 300 because everyday people leave this place. Desk space is minimal, there is zero privacy or space. It's impossible to make a phone call. There is always noise. The light is terrible. 8 or more hrs of fluorescent lighting leave you with headaches. Designing a space like that should be a crime. Clearly this company does not care for it's people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The SF office needs a POV. A capable, smart and connected leadership that enables great work. The recent leadership team is failing. I would restaff the leadership team. Reset this office. It's failing. The focus here is making the overlords of WPP happy by creating a lot of revenue.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Great people, growing pain

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

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

    Pros

    Employees get treated well, working hours are quite human for industry standards, though occasional pitches will keep you in the office until after midnight.

    Cons

    It's a growing company so you won't know everyone by name anymore. And probably the biggest problem is the client list which is not very exciting for the most part. Though compared to the average agency, not below the average I would say, and there's at least the intention to do interesting work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Inmates running the asylum

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

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

    Pros

    Great work is all they talk about...There are a few great people in the NY office

    Cons

    The organization is overrun by guys that grew up under and around the creative founder. They are consumed with getting his attention rather than managing, leading and paying attention to the client and the people that grind it out for them everyday. They view their people as minions, as dispensable and the attrition and reputation prove it. There is a predominant "british school boy" culture the has creates a cast system.... Your either a worshiper of Ajaz or you are done. WPP should clean house and save the brand.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realign your business structure and focus on what you do well. Care for your people, don't beat them down..... A lot of great people has passed through and been tossed aside.. An the bleeding continues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Digital marketing mill

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

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    The brand name passes the digital marketing cocktail party test
    Big clients
    Growth!
    They throw a good party in the office once a month

    Cons

    Exhausting
    The community turns over quite rapidly because of attrition
    Deadlines are too tight and resourcing too thin
    Leadership is approachable and affable enough, but unfortunately have a harried and haggard vibe
    Not very well organized

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Slow down
    Make people want to stay
    Matrix the organization across locations instead of in tight little geographic silos

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Media Planner

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing social culture. Got along with everyone, and wanted to see all of my coworkers after work & on the weekends.

    Cons

    The pay and the hours! It should be flat-out illegal to work people so hard, and to pay them that little!

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

    Great company culture and amazing people, but does not set you up for success

    • 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

    Pros

    Very talented and smart people, best company culture I have encountered. Can work across different accounts. This is a place where age doesn't matter, you can climb the ladder really quickly if you have the right skills and are in with the political circle. If you are interested in digital experiences, this is the place for learning - it moves fast and the projects can be quite exciting.

    Cons

    Hours are very long, little work-life balance. This is the type of place where people will judge you if you leave work before 6 pm. Management is awful - if you are the person that seeks mentoring and teaching, forget it. It's very much sink or swim and if you don't know how to do something, you're on your own. Resourcing is disorganized and salaries are unimpressive considering the quality of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take more time to mentor and teach your employees. Invest in them if you want them to invest in the quality of work. You cannot expect employees to work so hard for you and strive for your pillars of velocity when you are not making them feel as if you're investing in them, and willing to nurture the necessary skills they need to succeed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 4 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
  11. 3 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

AKQA Photos

Work at AKQA? Share Your Experiences

AKQA

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.