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

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    This is not a place to work at if you want to just get by. This is hard work day in and day out.

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

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

    Pros

    Awesome people, Awesome City, Awesome Clients

    Cons

    Its agency life so the normal issues

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clear communication to others.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Eye-Opening

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

    I worked at AKQA as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Exposure to the best companies and resources

    Cons

    Don't get to work on desired projects as it's a big team

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    need to share futuristic vision

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Good people working hard to do their best work

    • 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

    Great people, no egos and all very talented

    Cons

    Management is very hands-off and unapproachable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to be effective managers - consider the people behind the job titles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Sweatshop in cool digital disguise

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

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

    Pros

    Generally friendly work environment, mostly a group of nice and thoughtful folks, you can be very independent, you'll always be busy with the volume of work happening

    Cons

    0 work/life balance, working 10-11 hour days is not only common but expected, everyone is stretched very thin and turnover is insane because of the burnout. Junior account people are running massively large pieces of business and things are constantly on fire/on the verge of a meltdown.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give people a clear path to career development and support junior people with actual oversight.
    Fill the middle management vacuum

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Crazy agency disguised as a functional company

    • 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

    Free bagels on Monday mornings, generally nice people, decent salaries for some. People seem to want to make good stuff for the most part.

    Cons

    Account is like a second, often-conflicting layer of creative direction for all client presentations. High turnover rate. Uneven work-life balance. Agency "thought leadership" all comes from same 4 people. Crappy health insurance options. Cliquey and very young-feeling crowd that's really into "enforced fun." Way too many meetings. Very little collaboration for such an open office-- why are we sacrificing privacy if no one is actually working together?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your people and give them professional development and management training.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good at building perception / Not very good at Production

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

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

    Pros

    Good at BD. Everyone wants to do great work. Opportunity to work on big ideas.

    Cons

    POOR leadership. Very political. They don't care about the people. Technology and implementation are not respected.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get some leadership training.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Prestigious clients, smart coworkers, cool projects.

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

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

    Pros

    Surrounded by smart, motivated people. Teams generally like each other, many people spend time together outside of work. Impressive client roster. Interesting project work.

    Cons

    Work life balance is not always great. Going above and beyond is expected, so not always valued/recognized.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 10 people found this helpful  

    Old-school ad agency that happens to work in digital media

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

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

    Pros

    AKQA is what it says on the box: An ideas company. There are a lot of big ideas, inspirational rhetoric, and storytelling.

    This is an ideal environment for people who like working on blue-sky concepts or building client relationships, but don't want to get into details.

    Cons

    Despite the fanfare about innovation, most of the "big ideas" are grounded in novelty, visual finesse and clever tag lines. For a digital agency, AKQA has a traditional advertising culture of impressing clients with art and copy.

    Above all else, AKQA values abstract creativity and ambition for winning awards. The company is far more invested in constructing narratives about innovation than in creating genuine value for clients or their customers.

    The day-to-day work environment is political, negative, and adversarial. This is a place where smart, talented people get burned out and leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Substantiate your rhetoric. If you say that you want to "stop making decks and start making things", then start respecting and investing in people that actually make things.

    Understand what innovation, quality, thought, and service actually mean. Parallax-scrolling microsites and videos with hotspots are not revolutionary ideas. Take a step back and address our clients' business objectives.

    Stop trying to improve culture and wellness with bandaid solutions like yoga classes, smoothies, and posters with mustaches. Get to the heart of issues by improving the work process itself.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Great internship

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

    I worked at AKQA as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Great location, fun people, interesting work

    Cons

    Silos occur between creative and other departments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    more holistic training for analysts,

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Unprofessional environment. Stovepipe management.

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    A decent name with a history of doing good work; talented creatives in the below CD level; talented tech department.

    Cons

    My experience with the upper management was one of bullying and manipulation. I was often treated in an unprofessional, demeaning manner, and saw the same thing happening to many of my peers.

    The best of those peers were often overloaded with work, then blamed when projects went wrong. The people who didn't do the work—instead focusing their energies on playing the game—were promoted into management.

    It's sad to see a place that was once a fun, creative agency devolve like this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you really want to fix things, bring in a consultant and don't let them talk to a single manager—only lower level employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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