AKQA

  www.akqa.com
  www.akqa.com

AKQA Reviews

Updated November 10, 2014
Updated November 10, 2014
197 Reviews
2.6
197 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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Ajaz Ahmed
38 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

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  1.  

    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
  2. 6 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
  3. 3 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
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  5. 3 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
  6.  

    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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 11 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
  10. 4 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
  11. 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

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