Ketchum Reviews | Glassdoor

Ketchum Reviews

Updated July 20, 2018
300 reviews

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3.5
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Ketchum CEO Barri Rafferty
Barri Rafferty
11 Ratings

300 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Managers are always willing to work with employees to maintain work/life balance and encourage professional and personal growth" (in 10 reviews)

  • "great people, no office politics, no jerks" (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "Work/life balance could be better" (in 39 reviews)

  • "Fexible WFH but very long hours" (in 32 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Love this place!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Support Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Support Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Culture, People, Management. You hear these all the time, but, I really meant it. This is one of the best places I have ever worked! People are great, you will learn something, and everyone is always willing to help you. This is just not another agency, Ketchum is moving forward and setting the pace of what a communications agency should be. You will do some very good work here for some very cool clients, it's just not another agency gig. Kudos', if you interview here, ask what it is :^)

    Cons

    I have to go home. No, only kidding. I really cannot think about something that would not want someone to work here.

    Advice to Management

    Pivot. A 100% way to move a business into a new direction, keep up the momentum!


  2. "Great people, typical big agency issues"

    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

    - Super smart, fun, talented people who are collaborative and want to do good work
    - You can make an impact on the work even at lower levels. They recognize talent when they see it and create opportunities for you to grow quickly.
    - If you have a good manager, she/he will help you carve out a role and be taken care of.

    Cons

    - Tendency to care more about about clients vs. their people
    - Transparency, transparency, transparency. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
    - More and more (negative) impact from Omnicom. Doesn't feel like the agency has any, well, agency about any of its decisions, and so much is being dictated from the holding company.
    - Depending on the client and your level, you will be working well beyond a normal work week.
    - Standard pay/benefits which could be markedly improved to stand out against what smaller agencies can offer

    Advice to Management

    Try to win back some autonomy from Omnicom; otherwise, the culture, talent, and ultimately, the work & clients will slip away.

    Consider more rewards/incentives for your employees who work so hard and give so much to the clients.

  3. "Finance Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Director Finance in Pittsburgh, PA
    Current Employee - Senior Director Finance in Pittsburgh, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Ketchum full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The employees are very great to work with and the company is generous with the benefit and compensation package.

    Cons

    Ketchum is owned by a parent company and that company restricts the amount of decisions that employees are this agency are able to get accomplished without their input.

    Advice to Management

    I believe management needs to do what it takes to build back up the operational talent as this has taken a significant hit over the last few years.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Ethics issues, cult-like environment, lowest pay... but good people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Vice President
    Former Employee - Senior Vice President
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ketchum full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    People. Genuinely nice and good humans trying to do good work. Access to great clients. New business 'machine' is solid for a PR firm in terms of getting teams ready for a pitch. Depending on what office you're in, people do seem to care about (and for) one another. Outstanding Ketchum "University" that encourages additional training and learning. There are a few MD's and super senior leaders (or former MD's in this new structure) who are solid people with integrity such as the Chicago MD, the global head of new business and the former NY MD.

    Cons

    Ketchum is actually a financial company that plays a PR firm on TV - people do more spreadsheet management of time, projections, and budgets then they do actual PR or creative work. Yes, this is because of Omnicom and it's only gotten worse. This is also a very old school PR firm who is not evolving with the times - you'll learn a ton about classic PR skills but there's no investment in real creative, digital or social. I never once worked with a true conceptual creative-most are former account people who had some nice creative ideas over the years. If you need additional hires to balance the often 14 hour days junior staff are forced to work, you have to battle, campaign and shed tears just to get the resources - and when you do, expect to give them some of the lowest salaries in the industry, hands down. The politics are ridiculous and if you are not "all in" for the CEO's so-called vision prepared to be ignored. Her campaign to act like she's a supporter of women in leadership is her own personal PR project; behind the scenes she's more comfortable smoking cigars with the boys. They have serious ethics issues - you can't work for some of the biggest biotech companies in the world yet in the same breath say you are launching a "natural and organic" food division. Total overlording by senior Partners and executives if your values don't match theirs and expect to be forced to work on accounts that make you uncomfortable (Russia or Monsanto ring a bell?). It's pretty politically conservative as well, and that reflects in their client loyalties and in the total lack of diversity and inclusion - literally almost every senior person is white and straight. They've exited some wonderful senior Partners who were the heart of the agency yet refuse to deal with some of the abusive leaders because they're great you-know-what kissers. If you are not totally drinking the Kool-Aid and willing to join the Ketchum cult (which they call "culture"), don't expect much by way of loyalty, a raise or promotion. Oh and about those raises? Yeah, not so much.

    Advice to Management

    Commit to getting out of the PR dark ages. Take some actual risks - if it fails, it's better to have actually tried. Value your people and really mean it. Fix your diversity issues. Treat people who leave - or are exited - with dignity. Invest more in true creative as opposed to submitting for every award under the sun to say you're an "award winning agency." Balance your ethics and stop being two-faced. Fix your significant equal pay problems. And keep up the excellent training programs as it's standout.


  5. "Fair place to work"

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

    I worked at Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Great group of vary talented hard working people. Competitive salaries and great benefits including limited tuition reimbursement.

    Cons

    At times not very organized or clear about long term strategic goals. Not that different than most places.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pushing forward with infrastructure optimization and talent recruitment.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Can't find a better agency team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Excellent team members
    Supportive managers
    Transparent management
    Strong current and historical client base
    Great learning environment

    Cons

    Need to really push for direct feedback
    Career advancement can sometimes be hampered if certain "boxes" aren't checked
    Subject to whims of holding agency (Omnicom)

    Advice to Management

    Do whatever you can to retain the supportive environment and the veterans who can teach junior and mid-level PR professionals so much.


  7. "Account Coordinator"

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

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

    Pros

    Wonderful workplace culture. It’s certainly a place that expects nothing but the best from its employees, but it treats them well. I feel very supported with career development and mentorship opportunities. My coworkers and others in the D.C. office are also a phenomenal group of people to work with. Barri Rafferty is a great CEO who often visits the office and seems to really be trying to make a difference in the company. i feel very lucky to be at Ketchum and plan to stay for a long time.

    Cons

    Sometimes long hours and the pay could be better, but ACs and AAEs do get OT.

  8. "Sad how it's changed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Accountant in Pittsburgh, PA
    Former Employee - Staff Accountant in Pittsburgh, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Ketchum full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    great coworders in Pittsburgh - too bad the operation is closed

    Cons

    No work life balance
    Erratic decision making by parent comapny Omnicom bringing many negative changes to the atmosphere of a once great comapny.

    Advice to Management

    I don't think Ketchum management has much of a say in operations as they must follow the lead of the PR mogal, Omnicom. So sad to see the changes in the company over the years.


  9. "Ketchum"

    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 Ketchum full-time

    Pros

    Ketchum is a great company to work for. There are lots of opportunities for career growth, and lots of opportunities to work with a variety of different types of clients. Managers are always willing to work with employees to maintain work/life balance and encourage professional and personal growth.

    Cons

    The focus on billable hours sometimes takes the focus off doing quality work. Parent company Omnicom puts pressure on the company to cut costs and consolidate resources.


  10. "Ketchum"

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

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

    Pros

    -Great collaborative culture
    -Great coworkers
    -Fun events
    -Amazing flexibility
    -Interconnected with offices across the nation; many resources

    Cons

    -Fast paced; long hours at times

    Advice to Management

    -Continue to help mentor young professions to grow and progress


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