AKQA Reviews

Updated Jun 9, 2021

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3.7
72%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
342 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great people, shared values and good family friendly culture(in 56 reviews)

  • "I've also experienced the best work/life balance out of the 5 agencies I've worked at(in 36 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "When you're striving for excellence it can mean long hours but that's the nature of the industry and we all work together to try and solve for this(in 61 reviews)

  • "Work/life balance close to non-existent(in 54 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      A place for superstars

      Mar 15, 2021 - Client Partner in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      An incredibly talented group of people working across all disciplines who all truly care about doing great work. An exciting client list that provides great work opportunities. A leadership team that works as hard as everyone else and that puts people first. A healthy dose of perfectionism in all areas. Amazingly human!

      Cons

      The lack of diversity - WIP

      1 person found this review helpful
    2. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Work with great minds in the industry

      May 6, 2021 - Vice President, Group Account Director in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      AKQA instills an entrepreneurial environment which is fast paced to work in but brings with it many exciting opportunities. Given the opportunity to shape your own future and go after the work you truly believe in but you have to be hungry for the work and be willing to operate in unknown territories sometimes. Provides great opportunities to travel across the network and will support you in the process. Support from leadership is strong and they are just as solution oriented with helping to fast-track solving problems.

      Cons

      You need to maintain a curious mind and be forthcoming with ideas and solutions to be really successful at AKQA, not necessarily a negative thing but you have to be able to hustle and adapt easily.

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    3. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Good working environment with consideration to cultural diversity

      Jun 9, 2021 - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great office amenities and a good selection of employee clubs to join

      Cons

      Relocation process can be very tricky

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    4. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Nice atmosphere, smart people

      May 27, 2021 - Media Supervisor 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Transparent leadership, good culture (at least compared to other ad agencies), nice office, competitive pay

      Cons

      Constant layoffs were a hit to morale, things were really siloed (at least on the account I worked on), not a lot of opportunity to learn new skills, work life balance was pretty terrible - but that’s account specific and might not be your experience

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    5. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Great Place to work

      Jun 4, 2021 - Designer in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      supportive, innovative culture, great clients and work

      Cons

      The entry level positions are underpaid. Predominantly male leadership

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    6. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Good place to start your career, not a forever home

      Nov 25, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      A very young, fun group of people. During my time here, I have worked with some seriously talented individuals. The clients base is good which helps you build your portfolio very quickly with impressive projects. My manager was great and really wanted to foster my growth. I am forever thankful for the time I got to move to Europe for work for over a year. It was a great experience and my moving costs were covered by the company.

      Cons

      The HR function is almost non-existent. Every time I reach out to ask a question, I don't get a response. Raises are the smallest I have ever experienced in my professional career. There are definitely some politics at play here - some people I know were able to grow their career from an associate to a manager level in 3 years while I have not had the same opportunity in my role. People come and go very quickly. In the 6 years I have been here, I have had 5 different managers. They have all gone to better companies which is good for them of course but not great for fostering my personal and professional growth. Not exclusive to AKQA, but as with most agencies, you will ship products very quickly and you will not get the opportunity to do QA and see the impact/KPIs of your work once the project is live and in the wild.

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      5 people found this review helpful
    7. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Totally inclusive for millenial men!

      Feb 8, 2021 - Account Manager in Portland, OR
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Beers, Mostly Nice People, Great office space

      Cons

      Sexism, ageism, lookism... they are totally unaware that their culture is so oppressive for women and older people. It doesn't seem to be oppressive for ugly people, because they don't hire any. Bullying is totally ok here, as long as the bully is popular and very good-looking. I had fun there and I liked my co-workers. I thought I was happy: the work was not challenging or creative (for most of us.) and we were just racking up hours to bill the "big" client. Sadly, the more time I spent away from AKQA, the more I realized that it was a horribly humiliating place to work. Men would explain your very own ideas right back to you. Anything new was rarely offered to anyone who wasn't in the boys club. AKQA had a very low-grade understanding of cutting technology and best practices. They thought since they had been doing this-or-that a certain way for so long then that's the way to do it. Best to keep your mouth shut and nod like they are as smart as they think they are.

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      11 people found this review helpful

      AKQA Response

      Managing Director

      Thanks for taking the time to give us this feedback, and I’m sorry that your experience of working with AKQA Portland was one of an oppressive culture. The Portland studio is undergoing massive changes, and I’m pretty excited for where we are heading. We are leaning into larger diversity initiatives, which have helped us to be more aware of bias, and hold each other accountable to grow in this area. Simply put, we are requiring people to just be better. We’ve also established new cadences of communication studio wide, and with each other to again open up opportunities for all voices to be heard. We are listening, and are taking direct action from feedback provided. With that in mind if you want to find out more, or share more specifics of your experience, get in touch: David Buckley, Managing Director, david.buckley@akqa.com .

    8. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Leadership will stonewall any kind of positive changes

      Mar 9, 2021 - Operations in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The employees are what makes the company a fun place to work at

      Cons

      There is no sense of direction nor clear plan & instructions as to how move forward & up

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      5 people found this review helpful

      AKQA Response

      Managing Partner

      I appreciate you taking the time to write this review. It saddens me that this is your perception of the company, because we try extremely hard to create an environment that is open, transparent, inspiring and highly supportive of our team. Below is a summary of the initiatives we do to try and create such an environment: A clear purpose At the beginning of every year, we share the vision and goals with the entire San Francisco studio. This means everyone is aligned and knows what we’re trying to achieve as a group. This is always in service of AKQA’s mission - to create a better future. Open and transparent communications As you will know, every month we hold an All Company Meeting, where we share the latest news about the business, clients and our work. We also solicit questions that the team may have every month, which we answer during the meeting. These questions are anonymous and we share and answer 100% of them. Leadership configuration Over 40% of the Leadership Team in the San Francisco studio are women, including the Director of Client Services, the Head of Creative and the Director of HR. The number of women in senior management roles within the Departments is over 65%. Diversity and Inclusion At AKQA, everything we do is intended to build community, enrich our culture and inspire our team. In 2013, we appointed a Director of Culture and Wellness with the sole purpose of creating a caring and supportive environment for our team – AKQA was one of the first companies in the Bay Area to create such a role, which has now been replicated across companies and industries. We have incredible identity-based Employee Resource Groups already established across our network, many of which started in San Francisco, including: - Women for Women - AKQA BOLD - AKQA ROOTS Last year we formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council across North America to give a voice to under-represented groups at the highest level and accelerate change through the development of programs, policies and initiatives. These initiatives are only a start, and we strive to become an ever more diverse and inclusive company. Sincerely, Simon Jefferson Managing Partner

    9. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      You will be a happier person if you work somewhere else

      Apr 5, 2021 - Strategist in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Great projects to work on - Impressive client list - Very talented people to be around and learn from

      Cons

      The culture and structure at AKQA are terrible. There are no avenues for career advancement. The culture is really toxic at times and can feel very confusing. It has gotten better since the pandemic, but it really feels like high school. It can be very unwelcoming. There is no time for mentoring or professional development because the deadlines on the strat team are too overwhelming. It's been talked about for years and nothing changes. The work feels rushed and the work-life balance of more senior employees is not existent. If you value your mental health, your life outside of your job, and your worth for your work, please look elsewhere.

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      4 people found this review helpful
    10. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      A school for the ages

      May 3, 2021 - Programmatic Campaign Manager in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great learning opportunities Great growth Inclusive environment

      Cons

      Internal competition is high as talent is trained quickly

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