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APCO Worldwide

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APCO Worldwide

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APCO Worldwide Reviews

Updated Jul 28, 2021

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Found 248 of over 356 reviews

3.6
70%
Recommend to a Friend
86%
Approve of CEO
APCO Worldwide Chief Executive Officer Brad Staples (no image)
Brad Staples
84 Ratings
Pros
  • "Work environment, management, salary, coworkers(in 22 reviews)

  • "Very smart people, interesting work and client mix, many opportunities to do meaningful work, very little hierarchy(in 12 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Can be hard to find work-life balance(in 23 reviews)

  • "Expect to work long hours and during holidays, week-ends without being always rewarded(in 22 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    1. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Excellent place to learn and grow

      Jun 5, 2021 - Consultant in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great benefits, dynamic work, smart colleagues

      Cons

      Entry to mid level colleagues often caught up in a lot of upward management; the firm can place too much value on its senior level staff

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    2. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Nice people/ culture; a bit disorganized; mediocre pay

      Jul 25, 2021 - Associate Director 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      People are nice. Collegial work environment. Inclusive. Benefits are relatively good.

      Cons

      The company is a little disorganized, not super flexible in some ways; pay is low, at least for junior/mid-level, compared to other companies.

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    3. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Come in with a plan for what you want out of APCO, and then leave as soon as you get it

      Jul 28, 2021 - Mid Level 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      This review is for the client-side staff. I'm giving APCO 1 star because I had fantastically poor experience after fantastically poor experience (and tbh I want to drag down the average score generated by all these clearly fake reviews), but I do actually think there are things you can learn here if you can negotiate/manipulate things the right way. First off, understand what you want out of the job. Is it a particular client set? Experience running something? Etc.? Make that part of your negotiation at the start or it won't happen. There are some exciting clients, but some of them have significant drawbacks (like 24/7 work) and many of them are incredibly competitive teams to get on. Be very strong about 'branding' yourself early on, with whatever you want to be known for. Climate person? Influencer relations? Etc? You may not necessarily be on those accounts, but there are usually lots of opportunities to publish your own writing on this stuff, so long as it reflects back to APCO in some way. Once you get whatever XYZ experience you want from APCO, you need to leave. The pay is abysmal, and there is a concerning 'but we're like a family' vibe that keeps people sucked in. Boundaries btwn work and personal life are frowned upon. OH wait now I'm getting into the cons, so let's go there shall we.

      Cons

      Let's talk about my biggest gripe: the low pay. I could deal with the lack of work-life balance if it was fairly compensated for, but it just is not. There is intentional opaqueness on salary (they have asked staff to keep their salaries confidential, which is borderline illegal; they have said salary bands dont exist but they clearly do; when staff ask for guidance around pay, we are ignored); a pay equity was done in 2019/2020 and the person they hired QUIT BECAUSE APCO REFUSED TO USE REAL MARKET DATA. Another pay equity analysis is currently being done but I expect more probs. If you're going in new, here's what you should negotiate for based on what my spies have told me: Consultant should be around 65-75K, Senior Consultant around 80-86K, Associate Director 90-100K, Senior Associate Director 110-120K. These numbers are based on a very recent salary adjustment because APCO was hemorrhaging staff and couldn't keep anyone. Account work: From what I've seen APCO tends to do bait-and-switch's, where they will promise you what you want and then place you on accounts that have capacity needs, regardless of what you may have verbally agreed. This is why getting your contract to state as much of what you want upfront is key. There have been a LOT of acquisitions lately -- so while some interesting new work is added from that, you won't necessarily get to do any of it. The melding of team as part of the M&A process is a disaster. Some clients are incredibly abusive (especially certain overseas ones), but staff are not protected from this in any real way (and if client leaders push back on this, we are later told that we don't have good people skills because the client didn't like that we pushed back). Essentially? Client needs/desires rule the day, and staff must get in line. Leadership: There are very very problematic leaders who are not let go or managed in any real way. Some of the other reviews here have mentioned office politics. This is true. Everything depends on what team you get placed on, and who your manager is; you want to find someone who will advocate for you and maneuver you into the work you find interesting. But warning -- that is an uphill battle.

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      4 people found this review helpful
    4. 4.0
      Current Employee

      Great people, great culture

      Jun 28, 2021 - Senior Director in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      People, flexibility, great clients and teams

      Cons

      slow to shift business priorities; post-pandemic retention issues

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    5. 1.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Not a great place to work

      Jul 15, 2021 - Client Service Intern in Chicago, IL
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Office was easy to get to on public transit

      Cons

      The starting salary isn’t really enough for all the work you do and the office environment wasn’t great either.

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    6. 3.0
      Current Employee

      Many opportunities for junior employees

      Jun 22, 2021 - Consultant in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      flexibility during pandemic and lots of client facing opportunities

      Cons

      low pay compared to competitors

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    7. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Great place to build a career

      Feb 10, 2021 - Associate Consultant in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      At APCO, you work with some of the nicest, smartest and most dedicated people in the industry. It is a very entrepreneurial firm, with plenty of opportunities for career growth at all levels. Leadership has also done a very good job of communicating about the company's response to the on-going pandemic, which has been greatly appreciated by staff members.

      Cons

      Like all PR firms, the work/life balance and pay could be a bit better.

      1 person found this review helpful

      APCO Worldwide Response

      Thanks so much for sharing your feedback with us, it's very much appreciated.

    8. 1.0
      Current Employee

      Inequity on pay & micro aggressions prevail ; HR complicit and finance sucks

      Mar 18, 2021 - Vice President in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Travel, when we had it.

      Cons

      APCO’s talk about inclusion and empathy and diversity is just that — talk, cheap talk. Cheap af. It is a profoundly inequitable place. All the real money is doled out to this or that favored person. The process is unjust and leads to disparities — not just of money but also opportunity. What’s amusing but not funny: the ones that make comp decisions are the just the ones have the least visibility and knowledge into an employee’s ability or contribution. It’s a know-nothing cabal that goes behind some black curtain to make decisions based on how you are “perceived” or your “reputation” or the “optics” — everything but the actual hard work you do. Subjective af. Seriously, there are no KPIs or actual metrics, it’s just their feelings, if you are “liked”. And HR just goes along with it like a pliant little puppy dog. No leadership, no backbone, no morals. Also this: the greed at the top is limitless. They always want more money for themselves, more options, more stock. Forever they point to their empty glasses and say, more more more. They will say proudly that they took a payout during the early days of the pandemic but then not say a word about how they got it all back and then some for their “sacrifice.“ There are all sorts of hidden deals and incentives and plans that no one knows about. There is no transparency and NO accountability. One overseas MD is rumored to do APCO business with a company he has a stake in. They do not hold people to any consistent standard. HR did a “study” of pay parity last year with great fanfare. It was a joke. It did not take into account the stock part of compensation and their explanations on why they didn’t use averages, etc., were laughably weak. The fact is that the mostly black and Latinx operations team is underpaid versus the mostly white project team for which “market” data is used. The back office operations teams are basically are paid whatever is leftover, and that’s been going on for years and years. The pay equity person left after saying that no market data was used for operations. We call on APCO to publicly release the pay reports it gives to the government all over the world. If there is nothing to hide... Yesterday they announced that a black organization, whose founder was a descendant of slaves, hired APCO. The subtext was, look how progressive we are. But that’s not what everyone took away. What everyone took away was, how stupid do you think we are? You think you can play us? It’s not your words, APCO, it’s your deeds. You’re still using the old playbook. This time, finally, it’s not about ... the message. I know that surprises you. A few more things. HR is as bad as everyone on here says. It’s a revolving door of endless screw ups, this one more clueless than that one. Finance leadership is in the same boat. The financial system they set up is actually worse than the godawful one it replaced. No one has any confidence in finance or their numbers and getting them to do anything at all, let alone well, is bloody murder. All secrets and lies.

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      8 people found this review helpful

      APCO Worldwide Response

      President, North America

      Your feedback is concerning to me. On Tuesday, we shared in a North America townhall our progress on commitments that we’re making to diversity, equity and inclusion. I am proud of our efforts and recognize that there is more to do. I am saddened by your comments because they are the opposite of the company I have known for more than 20 years. I would truly welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about the many issues you raised. Please reach out to me directly and let’s talk.

    9. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Excellent Company and Culture

      Jan 25, 2021 - Director in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Entrepreneurial: you get to blaze your own path. You get to work alongside some of the smartest people, who turn to you for your POV etc. Diversity is one of the company's pillars.

      Cons

      More competitive pay. Less siloed practice areas

      1 person found this review helpful

      APCO Worldwide Response

      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and experience with us.

    10. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Project Assistant

      Feb 2, 2021 - Project Assistant in Raleigh, NC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great growth opportunity within the org.

      Cons

      Not a lot of discussion around salary increase, bonuses, or promotions

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