AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor

AKQA Reviews

Updated April 28, 2017
73 reviews

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73 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 46 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (15)

    "Work here if you want PTSD"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Pretty nice co-workers
    Well known clients
    Great for resume

    Cons

    Traumatizing managers who want nothing to do with actually communicating or telling the truth and a HR team that literally will shut you down if you complain about these managers, it's a toxic cycle that has no end in sight. The treatment of employees at AKQA is appalling. There are far nicer agencies or other innovative tech companies to work for, do not work here. Do not believe the hype. If you notice the web site does not mention company culture or what they actually think about team growth - they don't care for either.

    Advice to Management

    You just had an ex-employee come back into the office harassing employees, he was unstable and somehow you never saw the warning signs? You lack awareness and then wonder why your turn-over rate is so high.


  2. Helpful (11)

    "Shell of it's former self"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 (More than a year)

    Pros

    There were, and still are, many excellent, talented people at AKQA. At times, the culture wasn't so bad - the holiday and after work parties were always decent. The agency still lands good accounts from time to time, so there are occasionally opportunities to do good work.

    Cons

    Miserable work environment where nothing gets done. Middle and upper management are completely in over their heads. Employee turnover is absurdly high, due to low wages, little opportunity for advancement, and workplace blase. A very uninspiring place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Actually listen to the complaints of your employees. Push back on clients when the ask and/or timelines is unachievable. Don't treat employees like cogs, and they might stick around for more than a year.


  3. Helpful (11)

    "Account Executive"

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

    Pros

    Sadly, I gave up a happy healthy balanced work life at a previous agency to work at AKQA, strictly due to a significant pay increase. That's how they get you, they pay you well, but the recruiters don't paint the real picture. The turnover is VERY high! Higher than I've seen in most agencies. If you're joining the company as a supervisor or director, this is the place for you! The higher up you become, the less you have to do. Most supervisors & directors barely attend work. They show up at the office just long enough to make sure their workload is delegated to the hard working folks working long hours striving to make something of themselves. Sadly, while those hard working folks believe working at AKQA will advance their career, it will not because Verizon is their largest client and all Verizon has done for the company is hinder its creativity and innovation.

    Cons

    AKQA is not what is was back in 2010. It no longer is an innovative agency winning awards. It has become an agency holding on to client work that can pay the bills. I believe AKQA has the longevity of another 2 years, or until Verizon picks-up a new agency. The saddest part of AKQA's history is that they WERE innovators. However, AKQA sold out just like all the people who move for the pay increase. Think carefully before accepting an offer. More money isn't always worth it.

    Advice to Management

    Fire all upper management.


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  5. Helpful (22)

    "So bad"

    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 (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Access to the Nike employee store for cheaper gear

    Cons

    so many massive egos on low quality talent in creative, no interesting projects that last more than a month, account management people who barely even grasp the concept of digital, project management leadership that seems to stamp their feet, pout and sulk to try and get their own way, a tech team that's gone from 9 to 4 in less than a year, and business development that's developed little or no new business. The leadership of the office is terrible, no vision, no plan, just seemingly hanging on to doing Nike decks and social work forever. No culture, a lot of the people there are very young so their idea of culture is kicking a soccer ball around the office annoying everyone else.

    Advice to Management

    Rip it up and start again. Stop importing talentless hacks from the uk, find some interesting clients and make the office a place people don't dread walking in to.


  6. Helpful (15)

    "Zero culture, process"

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

    Pros

    interesting account cool ideas (nike)
    looks good in the resume

    Cons

    People are not friendly and out going. (london)
    Zero client management practices, nike gets what they want.
    Deck decks and more decks
    pdx office has no mission vision purpose, so people have their own agendas
    outdated processes and lack of role definition
    account people say, and do want they want at all costs and expense of the team
    Production house
    The norm is 7-8pm
    poor tools, i.e staffing, project management and developer tools
    no vibe just grind.

    Advice to Management

    get new management


  7. Helpful (16)

    "The worst agency I've ever worked for"

    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

    Pros

    High profile clients and projects.

    Cons

    Aggressive and nasty leadership style. Poor leadership and teamwork. Creative teams are way understaffed and overworked leading to poor quality "just get it out the door" work. A rotating door. Don't bother going in.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Not a healthy environment for software professionals"

    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 full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I think Monday breakfast is a great thing.

    Cons

    Not a healthy environment for software professional.
    Highly political environment.
    They are yet to understand global culture.
    Lack of process and metrics. You might be putting your career at bet, if you are from the software world.

    Advice to Management

    Embrace the global change.Respect knowledge. We have to move our cheese.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Worst work experience to date"

    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

    Pros

    Nice office, nice people, interesting clients

    Cons

    Total chaos, horrible work hours, poor client management

    Advice to Management

    Hire outsider to come in and organize work flow and redefine work culture.


  10. Helpful (17)

    "The rise and rise and fall of an agency.."

    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
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    A big name in the industry.
    Some big brands to work on.
    The potential to learn a lot.
    Some good benefits, although I hear they're being scaled back.

    Cons

    Sadly, the mighty has fallen.

    2-3 years ago, AKQA was *the* place to be - a shining example of what a digital agency *should* be.
    A great client list, a young talented/passionate workforce, a fun culture and great outlook.

    The warning signs were visible shortly after the WPP acquisition and the announcement to grow the company exponentially over the course of the following 2-3 years.

    The problem is, AKQA once had a great culture that made employee's feel rewarded for the hard work that was put in. This seemed to attract a host of young, smart people which gave the agency a fun and very attractive vibe. This appears to no longer be the case due to the rapid growth and the need to meet profit margins.

    Another unfortunate byproduct of this is the "innovation" that was once at the heart of the company's core values has diminished greatly. Now people are reporting having to churn out grunt work which isn't stimulating, nor satisfying their career goals and aspirations. As you can imagine, this has led to some of the longest serving and best employee's leaving the company.

    Despite the claims by senior management that the acquisition has been a positive force for the company, many liked and respected senior management have left the company, being replaced by management with little compassion or insight into the values the company was founded upon. This has led to a highly political and ruthless environment which is causing people to leave in droves, across many of the offices.

    It's very sad to see what was once a great agency, fall so far. Unfortunately this is the agency lifecycle that we have now come to expect. Sadly AKQA has proven itself to be no different.

    Advice to Management

    Ajaz/HR/PR - if you're reading this, stop writing the fake reviews that are doing more damage to the company than the good - you're completely discrediting the values you portray, in the most transparent of ways.

    Admit there IS a problem with the agency at the moment and set about fixing it at its core.

    Take AKQA back to the old formula, when it was highly respected and successful. The new model seems to achieve none of those things.

    Stop chasing profits and seeking to impress shareholders - it was the people that made the company and without them it will be nothing. Invest in the people once again and attempt to recreate the culture that once existed, before it's gone forever.

    It may already be too late.


  11. Helpful (11)

    "soul crushing"

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

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

    Pros

    Negotiated a good salary. Close to transportation. Working computer. Deluxe hand soap in the bathroom. Hot receptionists. Paychecks didn't bounce.

    Cons

    Tight-assed British management. Soulless atmosphere. Zero incentives. Too many managers. Bad morale. Whiny colleagues. corporate hell scape. Too many meetings.

    Advice to Management

    Go home.


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