AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor

AKQA Reviews

Updated August 17, 2017
67 reviews

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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
21 Ratings

67 Employee Reviews

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Pros
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. Helpful (1)

    "Freelance Motion Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Freelance Motion Designer in New York, NY
    Former Contractor - Freelance Motion Designer in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor

    Pros

    Big office, stocked kitchen, Monday breakfast, bi-weekly in office happy hour

    Cons

    Hi turnover rate, no clear paths for career growth within the motion department, lack of cross pollination between departments. Lack of clear projection of freelance need.

    Advice to Management

    Incentivise employees by giving opportunities for growth. Have more meetings with staff to figure out what's working/not working. Temperature checkins before things boil over and people quit/move on.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great potential, frustrating management"

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

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

    Pros

    Creative opportunities for world class brands are plentiful. Room to grow into senior roles quite quickly. Good people and social culture in some teams.

    Cons

    Terrible upper management and organizational structure, resulting in lots of inefficiencies and burnt out staff. Lots of promises thrown around and not kept.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your staff on how to change and soon enough it'll be a world class agency.

  3. Helpful (26)

    "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.


  4. 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


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Not for everyone"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Met some wonderful people here

    Cons

    Leadership seems disinterested/aloof
    Guidance and mentorship nonexistent
    Sexism and misogyny are rampant and remains unaddressed
    Underperforming employees aren't held accountable


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Misleading"

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

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

    Pros

    Good name on the resume.
    Ability to have contact directly with clients in a mid-level position.
    Now able to work without having a direct boss.

    Cons

    Creative directors are never around and usually just give orders or do everything over themselves. You can tell that there's no sense of wanting to grow or mentor a team on the management side. It's extremely cliquey and egotistical environment, however, the office has no right to have an ego at this point. There's no variety of work, and if you start on a project you're on it at least a year before they move you. You learn to work without a boss because your peers will support you. That being said because there's never a boss your peers are always fighting to be heard when the boss is around. People don't communicate if they're not on the same team, and some teams feel entitled because of the client they work for. It's almost like being in a bad high school or middle school surrounded by drama filled kids. On top of all of that, if you're not sucking up to the right people or a man, you're probably not going to mean much to them. People don't leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. The management team there is not strong.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees more often when they come to you with issues and the golden rule, treat others how you would like to be treated. Complete lack of respect for employees.


  7. Helpful (12)

    "It was great, until it wasn't"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    This is a tough one, because the main pros have died a slow and painful death due to changes in leadership. Let's see, the office was really nice, and in a great location.
    There were some really great people who worked there, at one time.

    Cons

    There is open acceptance of behaviors that the industry as a whole has been trying to move away from, which trickles from the top down and even pervades HR. Apparently AKQA hasn't gotten the memo. If you are a female, you'll be scrounging for a mentor in this environment. Culture is terrible, unless you want to join in the Mad Men behavior. Training is absolutely non-existent. Leadership is truly unqualified and this affects everything from the work you're able to do, to L&D opportunities, to culture. It's quite sad.

    Advice to Management

    Please, please, please stop putting unqualified people in positions of power simply because you're buddies. Please take HR complaints seriously. Please shed the bro culture. "We are listening"...ha. Please listen.

  8. "creative"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    no creative briefs, only .com stuff and apps that nobody use.

    Cons

    if you are a creative don't go there.


  9. Helpful (14)

    "AKQA NY office has been changed, now a dooms place"

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice office, once a week morning breakfast, every other Thursday party evening. Nice location

    Cons

    Since two of the major senior executies left AKQA NY few months ago, things have changed. New management does not know how to run an Agency in NY. Lots of politics, people are trying to save their jobs. Run away...

    Advice to Management

    Need right MD and CCD to acquire new business. Need to have strategy to retain existing clients. Not sure why clients are running away from AKQA NY


  10. Helpful (15)

    "New York: wait for the creative captain"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    - Some really great, talented people overall (especially below 30).
    - You get a sort of aura and street cred on your resume (when you don't know what happens behind closed doors).
    - Internationals welcome.
    - Kickass managing director (but should be more present).

    Cons

    - People don't smile, laugh or talk to each other. Desperate need of senior creative leadership to stir the ship and create culture.
    - Some bad blood in high positions who seem professional but don't have the experience of their title.
    - Has a bad rep in New York but AKQA leadership doesn't seem to care at all about trying to fix its human problems.

    Advice to Management

    Hire an ECD asap. Make people talk to each other.
    Take Glassdoor seriously. It looks like AKQA leadership gives zero fs about what people really think.


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