AKQA Reviews

Updated September 26, 2014
Updated September 26, 2014
185 Reviews
2.8
185 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Ajaz Ahmed
28 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 22 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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Tech has good process, Design has less process, Upper management is honing skills, Salary is very competitive

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Relatively lenient regarding vacation. Salary is great and they will listen to your demands during reviews, but you must be up front and firm (like anywhere). The culture is great, at least twice a month there are off parties with a full bar and catering. Company communicates future vision well and explains their yearly goals 3 times per year. They have a yearly holiday outing that can get rowdy, but it's fun. There is a good balance between the upper management and lower management, you never feel like they are "better" than you but rather on the same page.

    Cons

    Need help improving process for creative division. Relatively high turn over. Projects can be demanding with some long work days and even weekends, but they compensate that with an extra free day here or there (but make sure they know you are working extra because they wont keep track of it). Verizon client can be a bit annoying, but there are new fresh clients to keep you busy when you've finished a Verizon project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve the process within your division to help collaboration between each division and their constituent groups.

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

    nice people to spend ALL of your time with

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

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    Nice people who work really hard and will put all of their time into their work.

    Cons

    Zero work/life balance, so be prepared to spend all of your time with these nice people. Raises and bonuses rarely happen despite the competitive industry and all the best people end up leaving once they figure it out. It is a shame because there are great people who work there and great pieces of business to work on.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    AKQA is great, MSA (Media / Search / Analytics) is AWESOME

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

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

    Pros

    Incredibly intelligent colleagues, interesting work on great brands, cutting-edge technology application, and fun/friendly environment. It will challenge you but you will be better for it!

    Cons

    Difficult to get account and PM teams to respect hard work and scope appropriately. Some projects are not set up for success because of bad foundation/scope, otherwise teams are smart and work is good.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect the teams that are contributing to data, technology, analytics, insights more. Let the best performers lead the team more, because the client services team usually sucks at it.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    A good jumping off point.

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people. It's a good vibe in a fun environment.

    Cons

    It can be very political. There's a lot of "High-level thinking" without a lot of actual work from the top. This creates a trickle down effect of sorts and creates inefficiencies, and not the most impressive work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look out for your lower ranks.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Lack of technical backbone

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time for less than a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

    It 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 ManagementAdvice

    Think and do. Not "do and not think".

    Doesn't Recommend
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overrated

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great people to work with. Cool office and culture, with some industry perks.

    Cons

    Over worked and underpaid. No support from management, and you are basically expected to do your job as best you can and thats it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support and LEAD your teams.

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

    No Room to Grow

    • 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 for more than a year

    Pros

    The people are fantastic- they are the work hard play hard type. They also celebrate employees anniversaries, baby showers, engagements, etc. which leads to they are a very close knit group of people.

    Cons

    There is no room to grow- I felt stuck in my job for quite awhile after expressing my interested to progress to the next step. I unfortunately was met with either a glass ceiling or a path I did not want to continue on.

    There is also literally no room to grow in the NY office. Teams have been spilling into rented workspaces for over a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create some sort of learning and development department to allow your employees to grow themselves as they grow in their careers. Investing in their futures will create a happier employee base- one less likely to jump ship when things get tough.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Typical Agency Grind In a Desolate Workplace

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the best, if not only things that AKQA has going for itself is it's talented team members and high profile clients. You get to work with really bright creative and technical folks producing relevant work seen by millions. Working with talented folks lends itself to growth in skill sets and great work experience.

    Cons

    Unfortunately despite the pros, there's a lot broken with this workplace both culturally and institutionally.

    For starters, there's no work life balance in what's a very "heads down" office culture. By heads down I mean folks aren't especially friendly, mostly due to preoccupation with workloads and the lack of cohesion within the office, relationships within teams or across disciplines are not fostered (and in some cases discouraged). Furthermore, relationships are strained and internal politics are overwhelming -- internal politics being one of the biggest hurdle for producing great work and also mostly attributes to stress within the workplace.

    Institutionally the management hierarchy and their oversight is either a burden to you or simply non-existent . While it may be apparent who your day-to-day manager is, anything beyond this is simply a mirage. The senior management team can be both completely hands off or incredibly intrusive if there's an issue. Accountability only matters when there's an issue, which is an unfairly selective notion for a very thankless work environment. There is no investment in employees, especially for the long term.

    In regards to the thankless work environment, great work is rarely recognized, postmortems and retrospectives are even rarer due to the pace of work. There is no bonus structure here, so don't expect any additional compensation for late nights, weekend work, or over the holiday -- this is on top of wages being below market despite very large margins of billable rates vs salary.

    Working at AKQA may open a few doors in the future, but not much of an advantage taking into account the above.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try building an environment that not only fosters great work, but invests in your employees and compensates them appropriately (either through recognition, monetary, or career advancement). Provide more oversight and structure to the discipline and account leads.

    Senior management, no one knows what you actually do.

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

    Unrealistic Expectations

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fast turnaround on projects results in lots of opportunities to learn and grow, though often there isn't sufficient time to apply learnings to a project before it is pushed out the door.

    Cons

    The work/life balance and the expectations set on the employees are unrealistic. The salary is quite low but employees are expected to value working at AKQA for the sake of the name.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat employees with respect and retention will be less of an issue.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good for stability and building up resume, not for long term happiness

    • 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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Very talented and hungry bunch. High quality is drives everyone.

    Cons

    Upper management seems to put priority on winning awards and keeping up appearances than providing a work/life balance for employees. Burn out is inevitable.

    Almost every project is the one that's "most urgent" which results in putting out fires daily. It's draining.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please look outside the advertising industry to see what makes employees happy to work somewhere.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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