AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor

AKQA Reviews

Updated February 18, 2017
72 reviews

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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
35 Ratings

72 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • great people, brands and leadership (in 37 reviews)

  • Great clients, some of the best quality developers in the biz (in 34 reviews)

Cons
  • I assume that at times work / life balance will not be ideal, but that is true for every agency in London (in 35 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "The innovation lie is getting old"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Feels like your innovating, but you're really just creating gimmicky stuff in apps. It looks great in a deck but it doesn't really do much for clients business.

    Cons

    Innovation doesn't happen at agencies anymore.

    Innovation is a meaningless marketing term at this point meant to brainwash people into thinking AKQA is still special.

    Advice to Management

    Get a new story.


  2. Helpful (7)

    "AKQA SF HATES CREATIVES"

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    You can say you survived this place.

    Cons

    Are you a creative? Do you love abuse and neglect? Then this place is for you! Here's what it's like to work as a creative for AKQA here in good ole San Francisco. You'll have the opportunity to work with a group creative lead that has no idea what being a creative is about (project manager, maybe). You'll have a leadership team that only cares about money and is willing to work creatives until they're burned out. You'll have project managers who only want to do the bare minimum, give creatives ridiculous timelines, and then try to blame you if you miss a deadline (especially the on the car account they have). Oh yeah, creatives are then TOLD they can only work a certain number of hours and then when you work over those hours because of the ridiculous schedules, you're basically told to LIE on your timesheets. This is RAMPANT on just about every team. Then you have a fantastic UX lead who has the uncanny ability to suck the life out of anyone she meets — most teams have a complete lack of faith in her because she talks a lot but really isn't saying anything. And then to top it all off, creatives that deserve promotions don't get them, even if you've helped win pitches, etc. It's no wonder clients have been pulling their business out in the past year. They can sense the BS.

    Advice to Management

    STOP POSTING FAKE REVIEWS!! And you may have hired a new ECD (finally), but it's too little too late.

    AKQA Response

    Feb 14, 2017 – Managing Director

    Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion. We absolutely do care about running the business responsibly. It provides job security for our team and allows us to invest in both our people ... More


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Strategist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great atmosphere, people were enthusiastic.

    Cons

    Turnover was almost immediate for many. Management had little training and zero communication skills. Leadership was lacking. No structure.

    Advice to Management

    Culture is more than drinking and karaoke. Listen and communicate in smaller groups. High turnover only leads to uncommitted workforce waiting for their raise/promotion before leaving for a better opportunity.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Project Manager"

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

    I worked at AKQA (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The team was nice, and overall the people are nice.

    Cons

    Senior Management makes the work environment horrible, and the work has gone downhill significantly.


  6. Helpful (11)

    "Bad Leadership=Sinking Ship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    - I guess the free yogurt in the morning?

    Cons

    - Leadership lacks integrity/doesn't respect its employees
    - Long hours
    - Asked to do more than what is reasonable for your job title
    - Underpays employees
    - Bad morale
    - Toxic work environment

    Program management pretty much ran one of the car accounts into the ground and constantly undermines teams. Creative leadership that lacks any creative or leadership. UX leads who are complete phonies and don't know what they're talking about. One UX lead also recommended another who had to be terminated a few months later (both great hires AKQA!). A MD that has no vision or ability to make the right decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Stop blaming other people for all of your problems. Yes, attrition happens at any agency, but the fact that AQKA has had a MASS exodus in the past year should tell you something. Or the fact that AKQA keeps losing business (or entire accounts) should be a wake up call to how you're running your business. It's obvious to everyone that the only thing AKQA cares about right now is making money. But it shouldn't have to come at the expense of the employees.

    AKQA Response

    Nov 2, 2016 – Managing Director

    Thanks for taking the time to provide your perspective. As part of the leadership team, it’s disappointing to read. 2016 has actually been a very good year for the office, and I always keep the ... More


  7. Helpful (12)

    "learn what you need to learn then get out as soon as possible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people you work with will be talented and driven and you will learn a lot from them.

    Cons

    The talent of those people you work with is being wasted due to poor management that is completely out of touch both with their employees as well as their current role in the world.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach. People only stay as long as they do because you know how to make the future sound promising. You have really talented people on your team that you are not using wisely and once they realize you're just making empty promises you're going to lose the last good thing you have.


  8. Helpful (9)

    "Disposable employees / Lack of faith in the ability of individuals"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some people are pleasant to work with, but a majority you will never get to know due to the constant influx of people going in and out.

    Salary is decent if negotiated.( No amount of money is worth this toxicity)

    Cons

    - Toxic management practices - No working from home / being forewarned about leaving before 6 pm / people placed on projects based on favorability

    - Most of leadership is Caucasian, Male dominated except for 2 / 3 positions

    - Client favorability - AM / PM have ZERO respect for the creative process, often demanding unrealistic deadlines based off client wants. The clients have ZERO accountability.

    - People are hired based on how much they are liked and very little on their actual skill.

    - Culture severely lacking / very homogenous

    - Lack of vision / communication of the vision to the employees. Employees are definitely seen as replaceable.

    - Interesting projects very rarely get launched, albeit working on them for 8+ months.

    - Teams work in silos with very little to no collaborations between tech / creative / strategy - moments of exception but not that often.

    Advice to Management

    Stop pretending to care when in reality there is a disingenuous air of openess, where speaking up if frowned upon. No amount of craft beer or cheese can fix the lack of empathy you have for your employees.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Information Technology"

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    people are nice, maybe a 'good' name on your resume.

    Cons

    AKQA is no longer a cool place to work, it is not same place as before, specially after WPP bought. Horrible corporate leadership, politics everywhere. bad health insurance, and pay. There is no version for the company, except cutting cost. if there is a choice, stay away from it.

    Advice to Management

    time to rethink and its all about people. if people are leaving, no way this place is a 'BEST' place to work.


  10. Helpful (13)

    "Toxic Workplace"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Salaries are good for the Portland area, if you negotiate

    Cons

    No work/life balance. The GM (Brian Skahan) actually complained when the creative team left before 6pm.
    No one, except the men with stay at home wives, had kids (so just imagine being a woman in that environment). Management is a boy's club.
    People were often hired or placed on accounts based on their personal relationships with Nike employees, which made it impossible to manage the client.
    Decks, decks, decks, and projects that never launch. Creatives will be tempted to get Nike on their resume, but half the work never leaves concepting, so you'll have nothing to add to your portfolio.
    Everyone's angry and overworked, and points the finger at other people. I've never seen an agency where there's no attempt at teamwork.
    Escalating issues to your boss was met with a shrug before being told to go figure something out yourself.
    Some talented people, but more egos and attitudes then anything else.

    Advice to Management

    Management - you have no idea how to treat people. Take a class. Adopt a policy that prevents workplace bullying. Work on maintaining diversity in your office instead of churning through employees.


  11. Helpful (29)

    "Work here if you hate yourself"

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

    I worked at AKQA (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Complimentary oxygen
    - If you have a brief moment of low self-esteem, observing the leadership team is a great source of perspective and relief
    - There's a clique to suit all tastes. Provided your tastes are "Soul Cycle Peter Pans", "Devoted ELT home-wreckers", or "Sociopathic CS Alcoholics"
    - On a Monday, the first 25 hard-boiled eggs are free

    Cons

    - Weekend work
    - Repetition of the phrase "think of this project like a startup", by people who have never worked at a startup
    - If you do go in to the office on a weekend, take plenty of fluids. AKQA does not pay for air conditioning for future ex employees that it forces to work over the weekend
    - Persistent changes of direction
    - Abuses of power
    - Ignorance / indifference of low morale
    - It's not a safe place for women to work

    Sociopaths. I'm serious. Don't work here.

    Advice to Management

    Go home / see a psychiatrist



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