Ketchum Reviews | Glassdoor

Ketchum Reviews

Updated September 18, 2017
247 reviews

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3.5
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Ketchum CEO Rob Flaherty
Rob Flaherty
103 Ratings

247 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Creative agency, great people, opportunity for growth, commitment to work/life flexibility (in 16 reviews)

  • You get to work with big name clients (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/life balance can at times be difficult (in 33 reviews)

  • Long hours, not great pay, was spread across many clients at times (in 25 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great, collaborative place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Smart people, Endless resources, Benefits, Top-tier clients

    Cons

    Vacation time, WFH flexibility, offices


  2. "Declining"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Engagement Manager in Hartford, CT
    Former Employee - Client Engagement Manager in Hartford, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Ketchum full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Made some very good friends, made great connections, became more confident in the work place

    Cons

    Work life balance, Management, Loss of clients, Instability, Layoffs, Stress, Incompetent workload

    Advice to Management

    Look out for your employees better

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Wouldn't if I had to do it again"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Big name clients, interesting projects, smart co-workers

    Cons

    You will feel used and abused. Expect to work long hours for paltry pay. Don't expect overtime to make up the shortfall, either. I've even gone six rounds with my manager to get my overtime approved and it gets to the point where you under report your hours just to avoid dealing with it. Everyone I know is biding their time until they've been at Ketchum long enough to justify a move or something better comes along. You'll be kept hours (or days even) waiting for work sometimes and then be taken to task for low billability even though your work flow is out of your control and you make yourself available at all hours. The system is simply insane.

    Advice to Management

    There seems to be a perception that there's a revolving door with lower level talent and that's part of the cost of doing business. It might actually be more cost effective to compensate you lower level employees a little bit better then to go through recruiting and training a new employee for each position each year. I'm like most of my co-workers in that I'm not afraid of hard work but you can't expect this level of dedication to a job and pay your employees poorly AND disrespect them (pick one, please)


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Proceed with caution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Marquee clients, well known in the industry, broad capabilities, competitive salaries

    Cons

    Management puts a lot more focus on winning new business and promoting themselves than ensuring good communication among practices and teams, and acquainting themselves with employees and non marquee clients. If you don't have the luck of a strong supervisor or advocate, you will easily get lost in the shuffle and raising concerns with HR largely falls on deaf ears. Also lots of bait and switching with promising broad network expertise and resources to clients, when in reality senior execs disappear after getting a signed contract or actively discourage bringing in others if it means giving up revenue to other P&Ls.

    Advice to Management

    Put more effort into communicating with employees, breaking down silos and providing opportunities to those not in your immediate purview. Periodic, often rescheduled practice meetings with case studies on recent wins and last minute stand up briefings in the lobby are not enough to make employees feel known much less valued.


  5. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Managing Account Supervisor in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Managing Account Supervisor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Have been here my entire career, and have been lucky to have great clients, smart co-workers, wonderful managers and all the resources you'd expect to find at a big agency (research, digital, graphics, facilities, etc.).

    Cons

    Ketchum over-invested in digital for a few years, and forgot how to do media relations. While we can do great programming, I'm concerned about our ability to deliver on day-to-day news engine programming.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "People are great, but you work at a sweat shop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    They have a cool company culture, and you can find your niche of people within the Ketchum network. People you work with on other teams can be really encouraging, and there is bar cart every Friday which is pretty great. They match you on 401k after a year of employment too.

    Cons

    Your hours are so unpredictable, more so than any other agency (and I had worked at a few before Ketchum), and there is ALWAYS grunt work to be done despite your endless 50 hour weeks. Expect to work weekends and very long nights. Almost all VPs and SVPs are working parents, so they expect you to be on your email after work up until the later hours at night since they are attending their families simply because you have the "time", but the point of the matter is, I shouldn't be staying at work until 8pm every night, commuting an hour to my house, and then logging back onto work once I get home. When you're an account coordinator making $36k, really $26k after taxes in NYC, and barely making $950 every two week paying period, you simply are not paid enough to work that many hours - even if we do get overtime. It doesn't make up for the lack of pay and overwhelming amount of stress. I was depending on overtime to make ends meet, and this shouldn't be the case.

    Advice to Management

    Take away some of the pay from the top heavy people or ask Omnicom to give up a small fraction of their salary to those who work on the day-to-day work for clients and are constantly faced with endless grunt work and late nights. It won't be missed, and it will make your employees much faster. Please stop lying about how the Ketchum turnover rate for employees is lower than most because, in actuality, it's just like every other large agency in the industry. Long story short - pay your lower tier employees more.


  7. "Fantastic People and Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President
    Current Employee - Vice President
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Family like teams, excellent training and development opportunities

    Cons

    too focused on billability, poor finance management systems, accounts not too varied,

  8. "Senior Account Executive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    great clients, good overall culture and awesome place to learn the world of PR

    Cons

    Work/life balance can at times be difficult


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Best of a bad situation"

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

    I worked at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    - Not much of a pro, but this is the best you'll get out of an agency experience and that's how they sell themselves. While this is true, I wouldn't say it's that much of an improvement over other agencies out there.
    - If you're young and trying to beef up your resume, this is a great place to do it. You'll have some pretty good opportunities if you raise your hand.
    - Some of the clients are great! And the project work can be fun at times on these clients.

    Cons

    - Advancement: This office has created a culture of fear. Promotion is rarely awarded based on quality and merit. It is usually awarded based on the number of hours spent in your seat (even heard a supervisor say this to someone). Politics play a huge role here. The environment turned pretty cutthroat and team members willingly throw you under the bus and backstab to team leadership to make themselves look like they have a better understanding of the project work than you do (as if this wasn't a problem already at agencies).
    - Benefits: It's impossible to afford decent health insurance here unless you're at the AS level. If you're young and prone to getting sick, need meds, etc. the health insurance options are one of the worst I've ever seen and ridiculously expensive (they already don't pay much as it is). You can't really take PTO here. People send around an entire run of show for their time off. You are never able to truly leave for vacation and there is an expectation that you on-call while you're away, no matter where you are.
    - Pay: Don't expect to be valued highly here. Upper management values rewarding the new business team and the VPs more than anyone else. You will be severely underpaid for the amount and quality of work you put in here.
    - Turnover: Omnicom is more concerned with meeting business goals than taking care of it's people. The environment turned pretty cut throat.
    - HR: A lot of concerns fall on deaf ears unless you're senior leadership. HR showcased many, many times that they don't really care about the concerns of junior employees. They make you feel stupid for approaching them with concerns and turn you down every step of the way (and don't even ask them for anything for your office to enhance productivity - they'll tell you it's not in the budget). Some upper management even made quite a few comments that could be seen as highly discriminatory. Beware if you're young and single...
    - Project Work: Upper level management and team leads are on calls pretty much all day, so they don't get around to work and reviewing deliverables until the end of the day. Then they expect you to turn around projects in a short amount of time the same day so you end up having to work a ton of extra hours because their schedules are so packed (and they're also overworked, thus why they can't get around to project work until EOD). This is where the "who's in their seat the longest" fear tactic comes into play, in case you needed me to connect the dots...Lots of team leads are brutal in their approach to work. You either prioritize their account work, or they'll go to your supervisor and complain. No questions asked. Team leads often condescend to you and go out of their way to make you feel like you are not succeeded and not worth much. This office is truly the epitome of a backstabbing culture and culture of fear. Expect lots of passive aggressiveness if you don't buy into the Ketchum friend circles.

    Advice to Management

    There are some truly great and intelligent people who work here and I hope those people have the confidence to realize that they will be more highly valued elsewhere. You can't treat your employees with carelessness and expect them to be silent because they're receiving a valuable resume builder. The agency model is failing for a reason.


  10. "Could be worse"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    flexibility to work remotely, friendly and smart colleagues, tons of interesting clients, never bored

    Cons

    compensation could be much better and the PTO is paltry

    Advice to Management

    To reduce turnover, pay your people better


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