Ketchum
3.7 of 5 97 reviews
www.ketchum.com New York, NY

Ketchum Reviews

Updated Jul 7, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 97 reviews

                             

97% Approve of the CEO

Ketchum CEO Rob Flaherty

Rob Flaherty

(32 ratings)

79% of employees recommend this company to a friend
97 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Great place to learn new skills but it's best to leave after a year"
    in 7 reviews
  • "Fun colleagues, great clients, agency network, international business, trainee program"
    in 6 reviews
Cons:
  • "Work/life balance is essentially non-existent even though it is touted often"
    in 12 reviews
  • "You are expected to not only work long hours, but act like they're doing you a favor"
    in 10 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    I have had a very positive experience at Ketchum. I think it is a great place to work.

    Senior Vice President (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsYou get to work with smart, creative people who are passionate about what they do.

    ConsSometime the hours can be long, but there is still a commitment to work life balance.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Wish I could take back a year of my life

    Vice President (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsYou work with some great people

    ConsEveryone is overworked. Management is very unsupportive.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHave reasonable expectations regarding the amount of hours and traveling a person should be expected to do.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Give It a Year, Then Split

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros- Kind, bright, hard-working colleagues
    - Good benefits
    - First-rate experience; a wonderful opportunity to build your resume
    - Diverse clients and learning opportunities. You will learn everything you need to know about PR.

    Cons- Terrible pay--but about the industry standard
    - Slow advancement. Promotions are based upon length of tenure, not merit. And they've been delayed even further since the economic downturn. Ketchum seems to promote employees more slowly than most agencies.
    - Out of touch leadership. Branch directors are very well-connected to their own employees' needs, but top managers are utterly clueless. And appear to do nothing with employee feedback.
    - Terrible work/life balance. The concept of achieving it at Ketchum is laughable, although senior management really seems to enjoy talking about it. You are expected to not only work long hours, but act like they're doing you a favor. Passion for your work is admirable--workaholism is not.
    - Poor H.R. management. Teams burn through junior staff like matches, unable to retain employees for even a year--and their leaders are not taken to task. Nothing is done to address the underlying issues such as poor management style, long hours, stressful and disrespectful work environment, etc.
    - Chronic understaffing. Management believes that because 3 incredibly hard-working people can do the job of 5, that they ought to. For years.
    - Highly top-heavy team structure--it's like having all Chiefs and no Indians. There are a totally absurd number of employees retained by Ketchum for no other reason than they've been there for 10, 15, 20 years.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere are plenty of things to fix, but Ketchum's leadership would make *huge* strides by giving employees the support they need. As I said, 3 hard-working people can do the work of five--but they shouldn't have to. If you want your talented people to stop jumping ship after a year or two, promote faster. Invest in hiring more employees. And understand that as much as we love our work--you don't get it for free.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    It's OK, but not going to stay here forever

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsAs far as PR Agencies in DC go, Ketchum is a pretty good one. More transparency from upper management on financials and such.

    ConsVolume of work is absolutely crushing, work-life balance is a joke. Not enough staff to do the work -- ending up with more freelancers than staffers. And benefits are below industry standards -- two weeks vacation when most other DC agencies offer three to begin with. Very little sick leave too.

    Managers don't have enough time to do their management tasks -- so reviews are 6-months late, no one has time to worry about career progression for those outside the traditional account-team roles.

    Only ideas that are given credence are those surrounding social media. While social media is definitely growing faster than anyone ever imagined, can't hand our hats on that alone.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou're going to start losing people if you don't take care of them. Two weeks vacation is not nearly enough when everyone puts in 50-hour weeks.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Great place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGrowth opportunities at every level

    Consworking longer hours (not by much) than other places

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good Place to Work

    (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsKetchum offers the chance to work on big-name projects. Even though it's a large company, you can still feel like you're making significant contributions to projects. If your career is in PR, this is a good place to be. Company culture is somewhat laid back, and they have office happy hours and baseball games, etc. If you're looking for an internship, Ketchum is a great place to start.

    ConsIf you are, like me, not working on the PR side of the office, this may not be a good place for you, as the work is not as exciting as at some other places. Office culture can be somewhat impersonal--like birthday cake for everyone within a month with the words "Happy birthday" written on a flip board. People generally commute from out-of-town, so there's not a lot of socializing outside of work hours. Office environment can be really quiet and dull, everyone works in a small cubicle, and most people have tiny computer screens. Many of the accounts people (especially interns) do a lot of grunt work for very little pay; it seems unsatisfying. Ketchum is probably a better place to work if you are mid-career.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere are far too many "managers"! Anyone at Ketchum who has been in the industry for more than four years seems to be a "Vice President"--the title is almost meaningless. All of these "VP"s are Type A people who run around like Chicken Little, asking where things are. The office is top heavy!.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    An Amazing Experience

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsThe number one reason to work at Ketchum is the people. They are not only incredibly bright and insightful, they are also good people. From the top down, everyone I met was helpful, supportive and genuinely cared about each other. This is the type of place where you're always excited to go to work in the morning.

    Consentry level salaries aren't the best, but they are comparable to similar size agencies. 8:30am start is early, but then again I'm not a morning person. Thats about all the cons I can come up with.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you keep doing what you're doing and stay true to the company's core values, you will continue to attract the high caliber of talent you have today.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Ketchum is a good place work

    Senior Account Executive (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe people are wonderful and the agency environment is generally positive. We have an impressive client roster. Benefits are excellent.

    ConsAs at all agencies the work is demanding and high stress. Account work is basically customer service and that can feel less than rewarding at times. I regret jumping into agency PR out of college versus going into a more lucrative career where perhaps there would be higher pay for similar levels of stress.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere is a lot of lip service to opportunities to move around in the agency, I am not seeing that as a real possibility for most account people. VP and above are not the mentors or excellent leaders, that is a shame.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Love Ketchum

    Vice President (Current Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGreat people culture all throughout

    ConsVery top heavy and need more junior staff

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up good work

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Potential to be a great company, for the right person

    Senior Account Executive (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsGenerally a good group of creative, energetic, communications professionals -- which makes the long hours worth it (sometimes). Very good internal employee training programs, although it has been cut back in recent years.

    ConsLong hours and fairly low pay. Its a great place to have on your resume, but it can be a hard agency to move up in if you stay for your whole career. They sometimes value new faces more then tenure, so the best way to get a decent raise or promotion may be to leave and then come back later in your career. Also a tendency to place staff on the same, large client for a long period of time which can be a bit of a mind and energy drain on the lower level employees.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFor a communications company, sometimes the messaging from the top down can be a little misguided. Generally they mean well, but it doesn't always translate to the lower levels.

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