AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor

AKQA Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
114 reviews

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4.0
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
48 Ratings

114 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Lots of Talent, Little Direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Portland, OR
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Portland, OR
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Tons of young and talented creatives in a range of roles. There is a ton of diversity, which is very rare and undervalued in Portland.
    -Hip environment, with associated perks (including a beautiful office)
    -Decent pay
    -Very progressive socially and culturally. You can be yourself and are appreciated as such.

    Cons

    -Freelancers are constantly led on with vague mentions of full-time positions — but the agency has no framework for performance reviews or career growth if you're not full-time. Don't get fooled.
    -Nike is 95% of the work. Hope you're a fan of the Swoosh.
    -Tons of empty speech about work/life balance despite the fact that almost all creative teams are expected to say until 6pm every single day.
    -Much of the work is a result of personal relationships with Nike employees, which makes it incredibly difficult to manage the client. This also makes the agency incredibly vulnerable to any form of re-organization on the Nike side.
    -As a previous review also noted, there are mounds of concepts that never leave that stage because of a failure to manage the client or expectations. Big, exciting briefs will arrive — but nothing ever gets made. So you'll have nothing to add to your portfolio.

    Advice to Management

    -Create more structure for freelance employees
    -Don't put creatives into management positions if they don't have the skill set. Some of the best creatives struggle to manage a team — it's a completely different mindset. This isn't acknowledged in Portland, and creates a litany of issues at every level of the agency. Senior management (under the guidance of global AKQA resources) is very strong — but mid-level management is lacking.


  2. "Sink or swim."

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

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

    Pros

    Great work if you're willing to wait out the lulls and fight to get onto the better accounts and projects. If you do well being thrown in the deep end and taking whatever comes your way you'll make some good work for big name clients.

    Cons

    Not for those who aren't willing to speak up for themselves, raise their hand and fight to get onto the best projects. Lots of politics and perception of what you're capable of is everything. If you can't play the game, you wont go far.

  3. "Creative Developer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Solid learning experience at AKQA

    Cons

    Lack of growth and opportunities for promotion


  4. "A very good place to freelance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Portland, OR
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Portland, OR
    Recommends

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor

    Pros

    Great people and good attitudes.

    The team I was on ran smoothly.

    Good work-life balance, even amongst the full-time employees.

    The office has great vision--everyone is collectively trying to create a positive social impact within the existing structure of their work.

    Cons

    Freelance pay period is on a delayed schedule, so you don't get your first paycheck for an two pay periods (an entire month!) after you start.

    Offers for contract extensions were consistently given at the last minute.

    At this office, full-time offers weren't worthwhile creatively.


  5. "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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.

  8. "Great Place to Work - If You Put in the Effort"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Strong client list
    Smart and diverse people
    Room to advance your career with good work and collaboration

    Cons

    Some infrastructure and operations need improvement
    Always room for more training and career mentoring

    Advice to Management

    Take time to support teams, make sure they feel heard


  9. "Great environment for self starters"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Amazing colleagues - hard working, intelligent and dedicated. Had the chance to work on lots of new and cutting edge projects.

    Cons

    It's a fantastic place to be if you are willing to take the initiative yourself. Not really a con but something to keep in mind


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Associate Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    - good people. Company tries to create good vibe between co-workers and it worked.
    - good benefits and life balance
    - normally no late hours

    Cons

    - big company with layers of structure. The communication is not that flat.
    - there's not many opportunities to work on different clients and projects


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