AKQA Reviews

Updated August 24, 2015
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282 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (7)

    Changing direction...No sinking ship.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    ... They give you really nice business cards and when the coffee machine works the line for it is not that long.

    Cons

    there is no leadership so JR members of the company and those with senior titles continually blame one another instead of working as a team to accomplish goals. This toxic culture is impossible to grow in and has caused the majority of the talented and good people to leave.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like people and not "resources to bring in revenue". Train people so they stay and stop playing the blame game.


  2. Helpful (3)

    OK but doesn't live up to the hype

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior AD in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior AD in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    • Looks great on your resume • Some great people work there • Good client base, if you're lucky you might get to work on several, but most teams are segregated • Clients trust AKQA and will allow them to push the box further than my experience at other agencies

    Cons

    • Hard to move up in this company • Managers are out of touch • I had the experience of being led on, hired and told they wanted me to move up to next level, but after 3 years and always glowing reviews, still was not promoted. when questioning this, their response was they weren't aware I wanted to go to the next level. whaaaaa? I felt it was a way to get the work out of me and only getting modest pay increases • SF location was pretty cliquey, often people from the "cool clients" seemed to be too cool for school • Never felt I was paid what I was worth for on the open market, its almost like they know they look good on a resume and so pay you less, but since salaries are private I can truly only go by what recruiter friends were telling me the market was paying • A very senior creative once told the entire office, "we don't really negotiate on pay raises, if you come to us and say that you got an offer down the street for X and would like to talk about more money their response would be BYE".

    Advice to Management

    • Get your heads out of the clouds, often times creative comments were, "this doesn't work, try again" without explanation, when pressed for clarification, often it was still vague and not based in reality of timelines or budgets • Be more in tune with the people you manage, my old boss was a great guy but didn't see the growing dislike of the client or having to work extra hours for either client waffling or incomplete/bad briefs


  3. Helpful (6)

    Not so good with people....

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There are definitely some smart people to work with, especially within the tech and ux department. You will learn many things if you are willing and talk to the right people. There's a monthly company party with free drinks and food if you're into that sort of things.

    Cons

    There's absolutely no sense of growth or care within some departments. Project management leadership treats people with disrespect and expect the extra mile from every member. There was no guidance on anything and typically projects are handed over with high pressure and no information. Verizon seemed like the only good client to work on. Very high turn over with many people unhappy.

    Advice to Management

    treat people with respect and provide them a path to grow. Currently it seems management is only providing themselves a path to grow.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Great smart people, lots of work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    great people, smart technologists and teams, interesting clients, great team building events, parties and pingpong parties. Free fruit, food, etc.

    Cons

    over worked, understaffed, lots of pressure. Not too much mentoring, long hours


  6. Helpful (2)

    Not a place for experienced software folks

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place for media , creative folks & interns. Interns can learn a lot and it could be a good springboard for them.

    Cons

    Most of the people are from digital folks. Thus, it is not a place for software leaders. Apart from that, there is skepticism for folks who have come from big software companies,especially from enterprise world. Lack of leadership in supporting new joinees in the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Revamp leadership skills.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Mismatch for experienced software professionals, enterprise software professionals & from high profile consulting firms

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good for interns,digital focussed professionals

    Cons

    Lack of good leadership at senior level. Lack of realization of globalization Serious lack of support from all perspectives to new comers - Support, HR, making the person feel comfortable to new comers. Serious cultural problem in the digital media company. One word which folks in the company have said - "Brutal".This is the culture in the company.

    Advice to Management

    Revamp the leadership skills. Re-jig the senior leadership so that fresh mind and innovativeness and a thought of excelling is brought it. Just think of moving from "worse to good". Provide support to new comers so that the good word spreads and good talent is retained.


  8. Helpful (6)

    A Revolving Door. A Great Place To Learn Quickly Under Pressure.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campaign Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Campaign Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    First and foremost, my fondest memories at AKQA were of the people I worked with. I worked in the MSA (Media, Search and Analytics) department for 1.5 years and have developed my expertise by working with some highly skilled and hard-working folks. MSA tends to operate as its own shop, independent of the rest of AKQA - as such, my review will be specific to it. There are plenty of perks in the office - free coffee, free fruit, social events, yoga, massage, acupuncture...huge office space with plenty of open tables for meetings or private work. For people new to the industry, it is a fantastic opportunity to get exposure to respected brands. People in this department work hard. I can't speak to the rest of AKQA, but work hours typically run from 9-6, 8-6, 8-7, 7-7, etc. etc...then again, you are free to leave at 5 if you wish to do so. Generally speaking, people come to work in good taste. The office caters to young professionals, I would say the vast majority of the department consists of people in their twenties. After a couple of years at this agency, opportunities for growth at successful and high-paying companies "in-house" will be abundant.

    Cons

    Although I listed this as a Pro, this might also be considered a Con: the department is young. This is due to the high turnover rate and the relatively pigeonholed nature of the work - you'll get exposure to great brands, but any specific individuals' power over a project tends to be very narrow in most cases. The pay is low, and the work is relatively stressful. It becomes frustrating to work hard on delivering a brands' success and get little to no recognition. This is the cost of doing business - strong performance from the team gets credited to the marketing managers, then disseminated (maybe) to the agency, then to the directors, then to the individuals who work to make it happen. For the most part, this latter faction gets utterly ignored - it is the responsibility of an effective manager to vocalize the hard work of the teams consistently. To the rest of AKQA, the MSA department is the necessary but severely uncool counterpart. To MSA, AKQA is a hotbed of emotional politics with no unified vision.

    Advice to Management

    Show greater appreciation for your employees. Salary is fair for the lack of experience in talent, but for the love of God, provide greater incentives in the form of bonuses to motivate the teams - many of these kids cannot live in SF with these salaries. Provide a clear mission statement. People will rally behind a cause despite harsh circumstances if they believe the mission to be meaningful.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Good for Short, Tough for Long

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great place to lean and grow on high-visibility accounts. Fantastic peers. Good opportunity for internal growth within certain departments.

    Cons

    Low pay, long working hours, finance is not afraid to try shady stuff on your way out. Be very wary.


  10. Helpful (9)

    Great experience and great co-workers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campaign Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Campaign Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you are looking to jumpstart your career or get the experience you have been craving in the marketing/ad industry then AKQA is definitely a place to get it. My 1.5 years here was easily the most challenging and educational time of my life. I recommend anyone in the marketing industry to be in advertising for at least a year. It teaches you so much about not just the industry but professionalism and how to build an overall work ethic. Having such big clients really makes you work that much harder because one wrong move and you can lose a million dollar client. The people here are definitely some of the best in the business. Perk wise, well... 80% of health is paid for, pre-tax commuter benefits, subsidized massage every other week (if you can find a slot), subsidized acupuncturist every other week (again, if you can find a slot). Fancy expresso machines with artisan coffee bean (sight glass, blue bottle, etc) when the machine is not broken. Twice a week free yoga in-house (these are awesome fyi) and 'magic hour' session once a week (think bootcamp but with a pep talk)

    Cons

    If you are looking for great pay and you're not senior management then you're looking in the wrong place. AKQA does NOT pay industry standard. It's far from it. Their pay scale needs a serious revamp in terms of offering the right amount of money given anyone's experience. It almost reflects that of a government rubric where certain types of positions gets between X-Y amount and so on. But being the ad industry with so much turnover, I can see why offering more money may or may not be worth it. For a company with this kind of revenue stream and reputation, you would think there would be MORE perks such as free snacks and drinks, which by now is an industry staple in SF. Instead of providing such simple things, they try to mask their frugality with other 'perks' like a daily green drink which is usually kale and other things smoothie. Not a bad thing but not everyone is into that and I think they know it. Also, unless you're one of the bigger accounts and doing creative (audi, jordan, activision, etc) then don't expect to ever be recognized by the company as a whole. All of the all-hands are only ever focused on their biggest accounts and everyone else is not even mentioned.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps offering higher salaries would help with retention better.


  11. Helpful (5)

    Creative environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Opportunity to learn, great creative environment

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for promotion



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