AKQA

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AKQA Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated Jul 23, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 74 reviews

56% Approve of the CEO

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Ajaz Ahmed

(9 ratings)

50% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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)

  • Long hours (9am until 9pm and one day at weekends not uncommon)(in 19 reviews)

75 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Good place for a short time

    Creative Developer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsUsing news libraries and working on various projects!

    ConsThere 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 Senior ManagementPay more attention to the work everyone is doing not just a small group.

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    4 people found this helpful  

    horrible experience

    Creative Developer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsNone. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

    ConsEverything. Horrible experience, horrible company, horrible people.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great place to learn, but not much growth opportunity. Very hierarchical and political.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsWent 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.

    ConsIf 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 Senior ManagementInvest more on the employees you have!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Project Manager

    Project Manager (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    Pros1. 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.

    Cons1. 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 Senior ManagementTreat your people better.
    Focus on your current clients rather than new business.
    Again, treat your people better.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Minimal respect for technology process and development

    Senior Creative Developer (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsOffice location, people, client list

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementGet a clue.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Awful. HORRIBLE place to work!

    Project Manager (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

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

    ConsTerrible 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 Senior ManagementLook 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Big brands, great experience, opens doors

    Creative (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsYou 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.

    ConsThere 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Project Manager (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsAwesome people, Awesome City, Awesome Clients

    ConsIts agency life so the normal issues

    Advice to Senior ManagementClear communication to others.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Unrealistic Expectations

    Associate User Experience Designer (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsFast 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementTreat employees with respect and retention will be less of an issue.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Creative Developer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

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

    ConsUpper 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 Senior ManagementPlease look outside the advertising industry to see what makes employees happy to work somewhere.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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