AKQA Reviews

Updated March 14, 2015
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3.0
94 Reviews
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
72 Ratings

94 Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful

    Great place to work if you are driven

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

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

    Pros

    High amount of encouragement and responsibility to do the right thing for clients/projects. Culture is pioneering with people from different countries, all over world who want to innovate. Collaborative, friendly culture. Working with professionals. Management is open to hearing new ideas from all levels.

    Cons

    Need to be self driven and pro-active to design the right career path. Clients on multiple time-zones and abroad requires travel.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please make it easy for us to own a part of the company. We believe in the vision, but would like to have ownership in the form of stock. Our career choices tech companies/start-ups that provide stock for employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful

    Innovative and creative spirit

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

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

    Pros

    Good company ethos
    Strong purpose and focus on values
    Highly sought after brand
    Employees passionate about creating ground-breaking work
    High energy environment
    Awesome client list
    Friendly employees
    Good range of social events and encouragement for work/life balance
    Thoughtful improvements all the time to benefit employees and clients

    Cons

    Client list includes many of world's best brands requires resilience as need to be able to adapt to a fast paced relentless environment
    Evolves at same rate as clients which means constant change
    Not the kind of company to join if you want to coast or have a sense of entitlement
    Need to be comfortable with ambiguity and taking the initiative

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep making the improvements that are being implemented. No company is perfect, haters gonna hate anyway, plenty of jealous competitors - so just keep inspiring with innovation and creativity!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful

    Inspiring Environment

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    AKQA is the first agency that I have been at that not only has an amazing culture, but has great supervisors. It is a place that challenges me everyday and makes me develop my best work. Also, the senior management are big advocates of work-life balance, which you don't see at some other places.

    Cons

    The high standards and expectations can be a little stressful and lead to long hours sometimes, but you do get to work with some of the best brands in the world.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep hiring the best talent in the industry

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful

    AKQA is a great company that constantly evolves.

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Incredible client list, a ton of opportunities to innovate and passionate people. AKQA is great for self-starters who want to do things no one has done before. We are moving upstream and now compete with Business Consultancies and Service Design firms more often that creative agencies. It's a real meritocracy and talent gets rewarded and recognized.

    Cons

    If you want to do TV, this is not the place for you. If you want an easy life, this also isn't the place for you. The best clients in the world have extremely high demands and only people who thrive on that pressure will succeed at AKQA.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep recognizing and rewarding the best talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful

    Great place to learn

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    Working at AKQA was intense. I learned a TON in a very short time. Most of the clients are top notch, there's really nowhere else that you'd get the opportunity to work on such respected brands. Serious resume builder. Lots of fun events and off-sites. Co-workers for the most part are excellent people.

    Cons

    Hours can be long, timelines can be seemingly impossible.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 4 people found this helpful

    Get in and get out.

    • 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 (less than a year)

    Pros

    - Nice business cards.
    - Good name to put on your resume.
    - Great clients.
    - People are nice and there are some talented people working here.

    Cons

    - They didn't take the time to on-board me properly, which led to frustrations and miscommunication down the road.
    - Bad sign when an employee who has been working there for two years told me "two years is long in AKQA years".
    - Extremely high turn-around. Someone quits every week.
    - They try to compete with tech companies in San Francisco yet they don't have any office perks other than a coffee machine (which is usually broken) and some green juice they make once a week.
    - Hours are unreasonable. 12+ hours are the norm plus weekends. I went to work every morning not knowing when I can go home and I stopped making plans after work.
    - PMs only care about the client and don't care about designers or developers. They will willingly hand you work at 5pm or 6pm.
    - If you left before 6pm, people would look at you and think that you don't care about the work, the client, or the company.
    - No growth opportunities.
    - Horrible management. They care more about how they are perceived by clients and from the outside rather than how the rest of the employees perceive them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be better management. Please hire better managers that know what they are doing and aren't constantly worried about their perception from the outside. I'm at a different company now with managers that truly care about my growth and well-being and I'm baffled as to how I lasted at AKQA for as long as I did. At my current company, my manager does a one-on-one with me every single week while at AKQA, my manager didn't check on me at all, in fact, ignored me. My manager only talked to me if there was something wrong. If you aren't at the top of their priority, they won't give you the time of day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. OK but doesn't live up to the hype

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    • 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Changing direction...No sinking ship.

    • 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 (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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful

    Great design and a lot of cool projects

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Motion Graphics Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Contractor - Motion Graphics Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great quality of work. Their's a lot of cool projects going on.

    Cons

    Not a very welcoming spirit from team

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. High turnover, average pay, great 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 (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I got to work with lots of very talented people and got a lot of good experiece

    Cons

    such a large ad agency, you were put into a bucket and it was impossible to escape it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    cross over between talents

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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