AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor

AKQA Reviews

Updated July 20, 2017
415 reviews

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3.3
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
182 Ratings

415 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • great people, brands and leadership (in 38 reviews)

  • Great clients, some of the best quality developers in the biz (in 35 reviews)

Cons
  • I assume that at times work / life balance will not be ideal, but that is true for every agency in London (in 36 reviews)

  • Work culture of working very very long hours (in 45 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    "Unbeatable opportunities and an empowering platform"

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

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

    Pros

    AKQA is an organization that's constantly evolving, striving to set the pace together with great brands. But it also stays true to the values and philosophy set forth by Ajaz and team from day one. This relentless commitment to AKQA's DNA has proven successful, especially when coupled with a vision hungry for growth and evolution. Fundamentally, it's this mentality, in addition to an opportunity-rich environment filled with seriously talented, unique, and kind people that drew me into the company.

    Like any firm, AKQA goes through ups and downs, but it's carried forward by a fighting spirit that translates into constant innovation, unbeatable thought, and intense creativity. Total belief in the work has helped the company, as well as the people that share that belief, thrive.

    I can confidently say that AKQA offers strong opportunities for growth (the next chapter is always being defined), diverse connections and engagements globally, as well as an environment filled with brilliant people – both as professionals and individuals.

    Whether you're in it for the long haul or not, AKQA is a company that sets you up for success, agnostic of your industry of choice, because the values and activities the company is involved with are universally applicable (and highly regarded).

    Cons

    AKQA is an incredibly diverse company, in the sense that it's welcoming and empowering for anyone connected to it. But the degree to which this happens does sometimes hinge on having the initiative, energy, and willingness to make things happen. In other words, you'll get the most out of it if you're hands on, genuinely passionate, and care about what you're doing for the clients, the organization, and the people.

    More broadly, there are some gaps that the company is working on. None of them would deter me from recommending AKQA, especially as the environment is incredibly flexible and friendly. For the most part, if you want to make something happen (and it makes sense), AKQA is absolutely ready to support.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to look forward and create concrete change. Keep empowering young people to be part of this change.


  2. "Great place for the most part"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative Developer
    Former Employee - Creative Developer
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Super talented team. Ability to work on many different projects. Relatively diverse.

    Cons

    Everyone is underpaid. The tech team are second class citizens.

  3. "Very nice agency"

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

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

    Pros

    Very nice Human Resources Team, Account Team

    Cons

    No cons, everything is good.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing good job


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Employees are passionate about what they do and find innovative ways to express that, both through client work and internal office projects. Employees are approachable and willing to help/share their area of expertise.

    The culture and people are great. There are a lot of ways to get involved and feel connected to the company and other employees, with cross-collaboration for inclusive office projects, and different after work events, programs, and teams. Monday morning breakfast doesn't hurt either :)

    The company gives off a forward-looking approach. It seems that they value their employees and look to find ways to help with career growth and progression.

    Cons

    The elevators can be painfully slow?


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Growing Something Special"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Account Director in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Account Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    AKQA's New York office definitely going through an transition/evolution. While the global network has been around for more than a decade and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, the New York office definitely has elements of a start-up mentality.

    We are not growing just to grow, or winning business just to meet our bottom line - we are aggressively going after specific brands and clients that want to shake things up, all while solidifying who we are and what we want to be known for. And that's never an easy or quick process.

    But we have a tight-knit, positive, 'family' vibe, that helps us stay balanced as we hustle and grind to build something special. I'm very proud to be a part of this group of people, and that energy fuels me every day I walk in. We make cool/impactful stuff and have fun doing it.

    Cons

    Given that start-up mentality and our ambition to take on some of the biggest challenges from the largest brands, the work/life dynamic hasn't struck a balance quite yet. This is not the place for those that want to leave at 5pm, or just cruise on work that is good. It can be challenging at times, and much is asked of those that work here.

    For the amount of great work that we strive to take on an execute, keeping it all rolling requires you truly need to enjoy what you do. For those that don't, it can seem over-bearing. But therein lies that mentality of start-up.

    Advice to Management

    Keep staying true to the mandate of growing 'the right way'. Keep chasing the type of work and ambition that meet our standards. As we evolve and mature as an office, keep communicating and motivating those that make it happen. Be real and honest, but never neglect showing us the north star of what's next. We are all contributing to building something special here - so help us feel that every day.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "It's what you make of it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Supervisor in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Account Supervisor in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities to work on great client accounts, and learn from top tier talent if you make the effort to meet people outside of your team and aren't afraid to put your neck out there.

    Cons

    It's a large agency, so you can too easily isolate yourself in your work and within your team.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to create opportunities for junior and mid-level staff to prove their value, and to learn from senior staff.


  7. Helpful (24)

    "Like everyone else, run"

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - The people and friendships are literally the only thing currently saving this place.
    - New ECD has potential, but it is still far too early to tell.
    - Client list sounds "good".
    - If you're looking for a stepping stone, you might be able to do well. But for seasoned veterans, stay away.
    -Media and search are continually hiring.

    Cons

    Where do I start?

    - Sexual harassment, trespassing, and lack of leadership empathy.
    - Skewed and inconsistent standards. Apparently some alcoholics can work at AKQA while others are fired.
    - Clients have drawn back their work and budgets to a trickle. Don't expect to sell in or work on big, innovative experiences. You'll likely work on banner campaigns, social whatever, or various website updates.
    - Leadership continually tries to sell in old ideas across multiple clients.
    - Leadership doesn't know the basics of: running a campaign, understanding the skills their subordinates, how to read anyone emotionally, how to strategize product vs. lifestyle vs. social campaigns, budgeting, organizing resources, how to function like normal human beings.
    -The blame game has replaced any sort of basic communication. You'll like play and never know it until you have your first review.
    -Zero career development. You'll likely guess what your title really means or be asked to work on projects that are well below your wheel-house.
    -Favoritism is felt far and wide. Good luck if you work in creative or strategy.
    -You might see a tumbleweed or two. The continual empty office resembles a ghost town.
    -The best have left. And some left without being with the company for more than 6 months.
    -No one knows what AKQA stands for. Values and beliefs has been "evolving" for more than 5 years.
    -Big name hires are hoping to undo years of bad press and bad morale. But they'll likely be spread too thin too quickly to make a difference.
    -Underperforming employees are kept around for whatever reason.
    -Basic questions are never asked. What kind of talent do we have? What's the budget? What's the timeline? What was the client feedback? HEY WHATEVER IT DOESN'T MATTER. WE NEED THE MONEY. SAY YES TO EVERYTHING.
    -Communication between departments is non-existent.
    -Big cultural differences between on-site teams and SF office employees. It's like two different companies exist. Happy and well oiled machine vs. toxic wasteland.
    -Stereotypes live big here. Only those who play their part loud and flamboyantly will be remembered.
    -You'll likely interact with multiple sociopaths. Better yet, your whole team might be full of them.

    Advice to Management

    The work that we made was unrivaled in the beginning. But unfortunately many, myself included, have been continually disappointed. Mass exoduses, unfair layoffs while repeat HR offenders are able to play politics, and complete incompetence has hindered talent, opportunities, and relationships. AKQA needs to do some soul searching or in the very least purge.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "marketing agency with good designers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work with smart hard working designers.

    Cons

    I don't know if the creatives are compensated properly for their time.

    Advice to Management

    Care about your people. This is really more of a marketing think tank that has good graphic designers.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "At some point, the will take the blame...I hope."

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

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

    Pros

    The internal working teams really pull together to meet unrealistic deliverables.
    Rooftop access allows you to get some open air while you work 14-18hour days
    Was a really great place to work before the current (2016) management team took over

    Cons

    The senior team is completely tone-deaf to what clients actually want and at times appear to not understand the briefs.
    Office can't and doesn't appear to want to retain talent. No one is promoted from within unless they are already leaving for another agency.
    Office isn't scaled to handle large sets of work and it seems management is ok with turning down money (and an entire empty floor of office space) to work on one-off micro-sites that look great and go away after 6 months.

    Advice to Management

    Work that isn't "sexy" isn't bad if it pays your staff


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Current Employee"

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Great people. New wins with exciting opportunities. Free Monday breakfasts and free happy hours!

    Cons

    Long work hours. No work/life balance. Leadership team still has a lot to work on.

    Advice to Management

    There have been some steps in the right direction. Stay focused on making this place great again. Continue hiring awesome people. Spend more time caring for your people, listening to them and helping them grow their careers.


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