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. 5 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 (less than an 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
  2. 2 people 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 (more than an 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
  3. 2 people 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 (more than an 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
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  5. 3 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 (more than an 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
  6. 2 people 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 (more than an 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
  7. 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 (more than an 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
  8. 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 (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
  9.  

    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 (less than an 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
  10.  

    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 (less than an 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
  11.  

    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 (more than an 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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