AKQA Reviews in San Francisco, CA | Glassdoor

AKQA San Francisco Reviews

Updated March 16, 2017
131 reviews

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San Francisco, CA Area

2.8
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
39 Ratings

131 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 46 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (5)

    "Great Agency, Fun Staff, Intensely Creative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The best thing about this office of AKQA is how happy and connected the staff are. Every day I come into work I see smiles on everyone's faces. People are happy here. This is the Bay Area so it's Tech focused...that means the vibe is a perfect mix of nerdy and cool. They have an impressive roster of clients and a killer work ethic. On a daily basis, I'm reminded that I'm working amongst the most talented and innovative people in the world. I'm constantly amazed at the ideas coming out of my coworkers...who come from all over the world. Everything is a team effort. At other agencies, there is a sink or swim mentality projected on to individuals. At AKQA SF, it feels like the team sinks or swims together. They have an amazing wellness manager who works to bring people together and encourage healthiness. It's a great place to hang out.

    Cons

    Um, where's the beer on tap? No nap pods? I suppose ping pong and kegorators of cold brew coffee will have to do.

    Advice to Management

    Keep listening, Keep inspiring the team to reach for the stars.


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

    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
    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


  3. "Great if you can manage politics"

    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

    Pros

    AKQA attracts interesting clients, has a creative and tech-forward culture, and produces good work. Employees are a diverse global mish mash.

    Cons

    SF management wasn't the best, often unaware of what it takes to deliver on an idea/a project/an initiative. As with most agencies, long hours are the norm.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Not for everyone"

    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
    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 (3)

    "Stepping stone"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Nice office. Friendly coworkers. Company wide events, yoga, runs, massage, acupuncture.

    Cons

    Politics. It's not about what you can do, but who you suck up to.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "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


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Associate Account Director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Account Director in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Account Director in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful office, great team, great managing director

    Cons

    would be great to have free lunches on a more regular basis


  9. Helpful (2)

    "It is what you make of it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Strategy in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Strategy in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Global network, offices in major creative capitals/emerging markets
    - Attracts some of the biggest brands/portfolio makers
    - Super international crew across different offices
    - The resources are there, you just have to know what they are and how to use them (the organization works fairly well for those who are more entrepreneurial by nature)
    - Still a respected name in the digital field, doesn't carry any of the traditional firm baggage

    Cons

    - No hand-holding; you're not going to get formal mentorship or structure here, you have to be very self-directed
    - Some new brands that have joined the roster are a little corporate/lackluster
    - Favoritism is evident across disciplines; superstar syndrome is rampant and the better projects go to the select few
    - Work-life balance doesn't come naturally in company culture, you have to make it for yourself

    Advice to Management

    - Invest in programs that provide better career development if you want to retain young talent
    - Provide more democratic benefits that any employee can easily avail of
    - Don't lose the original selectiveness (clients and projects) that AKQA made its name off of, even post-acquisition
    - Communicate clear vision and values, make these actionable for all departments at all levels


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Continue to Inspire"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    I am inspired daily by the "do-ers" of AKQA- the soldiers on the ground, putting pen to paper for our clients. The client roster is strong and impressive, which yields clients who are constantly challenging us, constantly pushing us to be better, together.

    Personally, I feel empowered to forge my own path here- if I wanted to pivot roles, work abroad, start an interest group/club- all possible. Be determined and prove yourself, and you'll get the support you need.

    Cons

    I don't believe the cons are specific to AKQA, rather the larger-sized agency model as a whole- the amount of red tape to get some day-to-day things done logistically is incredibly challenging at times.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to cultivate a culture of empowerment from the bottom ranks up. Lead by example.


  11. Helpful (5)

    "Shadow of it's former self."

    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 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people and clients. One of the best places I have worked.

    Cons

    Management expertise is lacking in many offices.

    Advice to Management

    Think Globally, Act Locally. Invest in the culture and people beyond Bananas and Beer.



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