AKQA Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated August 5, 2014
Updated August 5, 2014
183 Reviews

2.9
183 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Ajaz Ahmed
27 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 21 reviews)

  • Low pay, long hours, 2 weeks of vacation for the first 2 years (in 19 reviews)

More Highlights

78 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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 for more than a 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
  2. 7 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 for 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
  3. 2 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 for more than a 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
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Project Manager

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

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

    Pros

    1. Great people. Almost everyone is enthusiastic and funny, which makes it easier when you have to work late nights.
    2. Great clients. Having amazing brands on my resume helped me get where I am now.
    3. You can work on any cool project or any cool client. All you have to do is ask and be proactive.

    Cons

    1. Rotten to the core senior management. My favorite thing was when the senior management promoted themselves after the merger with WPP.
    2. Low pay, long hours, 2 weeks of vacation for the first 2 years. Nobody lasts longer than 2 years btw.
    3. Expect to work on a ton of keynote decks. Unfortunately most of the time the deck ends up being the final deliverable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your people better.
    Focus on your current clients rather than new business.
    Again, treat your people better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Minimal respect for technology process and development

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

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

    Pros

    Office location, people, client list

    Cons

    The SF office is driven entirely by account and creative people. Account promises everything to make clients happy, even if what they promise is an entirely unrealistic deadline, or even impossible. As a result, developers work long hours under insane pressure and no personal life. Anytime technology pushes back or tries to have a voice, it is squashed with an attitude of - well, you have to just do it!

    I've lost count of how many technology employees have left within the last 3 months. Virtually all of the Creative Technology managers have left along with several developers and architects (including myself). Morale is horrifically low and I'm sure over 50% of employees are interviewing elsewhere.

    Honestly, if you are thinking of working in tech for AKQA - DON'T! It's Silicon Valley - you can get a job elsewhere where you will be 1) paid more and 2) actually respected.

    It boggles my mind that a company that produces digital experiences can be so utterly clueless about the development process.

    Recently a CTO was (finally) hired and he was proclaimed to be amazing and going to fix everything. Cut to 2 months later where he presents 20 reasons why the company is failing on delivering technology and is so disgusted that he quits.

    And - of course - upper management makes no kind of announcement. It was like he evaporated into thin air and they hoped no one would notice.

    Seriously - it's a mess over there. I am in shock leadership hasn't been overturned.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a clue.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Awful. HORRIBLE place to work!

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

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

    Pros

    Some cool people, dogs are allowed in the office, yoga, running club, cheap vending machines

    Cons

    Terrible management. All the Directors are clueless. They don't care about the people nor care about their careers. They don't know how to manage clients.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look for another job because you're not qualified for the one you have! Try going to business school and then come back and run the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good place for a short time

    • 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 as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Using news libraries and working on various projects!

    Cons

    There is a big gap between the managers and developers. You get the feeling that all they care is to make the customer happy nothing else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more attention to the work everyone is doing not just a small group.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Big brands, great experience, opens doors

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

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

    Pros

    You get to work with some very talented people.
    The brands and projects are world-class.
    You can make a name for yourself if you work hard.
    Opens a lot of doors and good industry recognition.

    Cons

    There is a lot of movement within the company, can be unsettling.
    You can float by if you don't apply yourself.
    Sometimes negative attitude from coworkers.

    Recommends
    Neutral 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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