AKQA Reviews

Updated 22 October 2014
Updated 22 October 2014
188 Reviews
2.7
188 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Ajaz Ahmed
30 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You'll get to work on some massive clients and work with some great people (in 16 reviews)

  • Lots of great clients, good budget and wonderful people to work with (in 14 reviews)


Cons
  • I know some other departments have a much less favorable work life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • Low pay, long hours, 2 weeks of vacation for the first 2 years (in 20 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great experience with great people

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

    I have been working at AKQA as a contractor

    Pros

    Location, culture and growth. I work on a spectacular team and enjoy the work being produced here.

    Cons

    No work/life balance. Be prepared to put in long hours due to the unending requests from clients.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Some of their offices may make cool work, but NYC isn't one of them.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)

    I have been working at AKQA full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of young people makes the office feel energetic and fresh. They're definitely a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-let's-get-to-work type of agency. They pride themselves on being a creative agency, which may sound good, but in practice leads to a lot of headaches. Monthly late night happy hours in the office were a fun and creative solution to get people together and bond/commiserate (depending on how your week went).

    Cons

    The lack of experienced staff leads to lots of indecision, which leads to rework, which leads to turn over. Employees tend to get staffed to particular accounts, so meeting people outside of your account is rather difficult. As a result, the office feels rather silo'ed.

    As a digital agency I was taken aback by the lack of general understanding of digital by most people. A project's creative direction was usually undertaken by the visual team rather than the UX team. While some designers can think interactively, their creative leadership (CD and GCD levels) clearly lack a strong understanding of IA or interaction design. Fighting their holier-than-thou mentality was a constant struggle as they try to push their own agenda while you try and design what's best for the user.

    If you are a UX designer this is not the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Separate departments (account, strategy, UX and visual) need to learn how to better collaborate with each other. It seems like each group is trying to own the project rather than it being a group effort.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bright Past, Dim Future

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Creative in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Creative in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    AKQA has a fun, exciting culture and is filled with a good group of lower level employees. For all the younger workers there is a definite sense of place and enjoyment between those that work together. You like those that you sit with and work with.

    Cons

    The management is so disconnected from the rest of the employees that you might was well be at a different company. They have no interest in grooming, advancing, or listening to the bulk of the non c-suite people. Dissatisfaction is rampant and infectious. Work hours are grueling with no high level explanation of why, only and expectation that you will grin and take it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Care more about your local people and less about your corporate (London) image. Stop changing lower level personnel when the real problem is management. Fix your culture of corporate fear and start listening too the employees that are in the trenches every day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review
  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    No investment in people

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

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

    Pros

    Great colleagues, great brands, great work.

    Cons

    No investment in people. The only vision is to make as much money as possible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop doing politics and start doing good work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Digital marketing mill

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

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    The brand name passes the digital marketing cocktail party test
    Big clients
    Growth!
    They throw a good party in the office once a month

    Cons

    Exhausting
    The community turns over quite rapidly because of attrition
    Deadlines are too tight and resourcing too thin
    Leadership is approachable and affable enough, but unfortunately have a harried and haggard vibe
    Not very well organized

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Slow down
    Make people want to stay
    Matrix the organization across locations instead of in tight little geographic silos

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Great people, growing pain

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in New York, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in New York, NY (US)

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Employees get treated well, working hours are quite human for industry standards, though occasional pitches will keep you in the office until after midnight.

    Cons

    It's a growing company so you won't know everyone by name anymore. And probably the biggest problem is the client list which is not very exciting for the most part. Though compared to the average agency, not below the average I would say, and there's at least the intention to do interesting work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Awesome people. Amazing Ideas. Great work. Terrible Infrastructure.

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

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

    Pros

    The people- the way that we all come together as a team. I have never worked with such a dedicated, passionate team, who are constantly pushing each other to deliver the best work. Every company says this, but I truly feel I have a family in my colleagues. The culture is top and I am consistently inspired.

    Cons

    Inconsistency in processes and management. Lack of training. Current employees are constantly looked over for promotion and usurped by new hires instead, causing a wasteful amount of turnover. It's a crying shame. The wrong qualities are valued and the company demonstrates a lot of myopia, both in terms of business and client management as well as talent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow the adviceyou give to clients.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Inmates running the asylum

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Someone Who Cared
    Former Employee - Someone Who Cared

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

    Pros

    Great work is all they talk about...There are a few great people in the NY office

    Cons

    The organization is overrun by guys that grew up under and around the creative founder. They are consumed with getting his attention rather than managing, leading and paying attention to the client and the people that grind it out for them everyday. They view their people as minions, as dispensable and the attrition and reputation prove it. There is a predominant "british school boy" culture the has creates a cast system.... Your either a worshiper of Ajaz or you are done. WPP should clean house and save the brand.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realign your business structure and focus on what you do well. Care for your people, don't beat them down..... A lot of great people has passed through and been tossed aside.. An the bleeding continues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company culture and amazing people, but does not set you up for success

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)

    I worked at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    Very talented and smart people, best company culture I have encountered. Can work across different accounts. This is a place where age doesn't matter, you can climb the ladder really quickly if you have the right skills and are in with the political circle. If you are interested in digital experiences, this is the place for learning - it moves fast and the projects can be quite exciting.

    Cons

    Hours are very long, little work-life balance. This is the type of place where people will judge you if you leave work before 6 pm. Management is awful - if you are the person that seeks mentoring and teaching, forget it. It's very much sink or swim and if you don't know how to do something, you're on your own. Resourcing is disorganized and salaries are unimpressive considering the quality of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take more time to mentor and teach your employees. Invest in them if you want them to invest in the quality of work. You cannot expect employees to work so hard for you and strive for your pillars of velocity when you are not making them feel as if you're investing in them, and willing to nurture the necessary skills they need to succeed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Typical mediocre company with typical mediocre managers. No culture of any kind except chasing clients.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Berlin (Germany)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Berlin (Germany)

    I have been working at AKQA as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Compensation is all right. Colleagues are professional and friendly. New projects start frequently. New MacBooks are used for development. Working hours are Ok, home office can be used.

    Cons

    The company DNA is not in technology but in "creative" projects and narratives for the brands. Consequently, the company lacks any serious expertise in software development, discipline or methodologies. You get to work with typical mediocre managers using the same old techniques from 90's to run a team by assigning meaningless tasks to individuals and making more than questionable decisions. And none of them can be called "leaders", honestly. There are two ways to run a team: treat engineers as adults and let them do their job or treat them as kids and tell them what to do. AKQA only knows the second way, their managers have no trust in people they hire and would never empower a team of engineers to make any serious decision. Most managers are not capable of inspiring anybody for anything, they're only capable of translating customer requests into JIRA issues.

    Although the company attempts to show "We're different" by organizing various internal and external tech events - it lacks any significant culture related to software engineering. There are no guiding principles, no values or vision of any kind and no feel of pride when work is done. Making clients happy at whatever cost is actually the only value and the only thing that matters. Nothing else counts. If clients put ridiculous demands, restrictions or workload on a team you're expected to say "Yes, sir" and comply happily.

    Company spends zero budget on people, like training or educating them or letting them explore alternative technologies. The company has no vision or goal of its own, regardless of what managers say (they talk a lot but I'm yet to see any of their words turning into action). Getting more clients is all that counts. Hiring is quick (just look at how short their interview periods are) but many people leave very quickly - I've seen at least 5 leaving the company recently. And even after somebody has left the company *every* *single* *week* - the management team keeps talking about how we get more clients rather than how we stop loosing people and start being a better company. There's no feedback cycle - the company is not interested in hearing what anybody has to say. There are some official and non-official channels for that but they're largely ignored and no action is ever taken on any feedback provided.

    The office space is cheap and terrible, tables are very small, lighting is so poor you can't see a thing if you stay late (any requests for additional lighting result in the same "We have ordered new lamps" response for the last year). Kitchen provides no food except fruits and mineral water and breakfast once a week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop being so damn cheap and start taking care of your own people. Stop talking about the next great client or brand you're about to pitch next week and start talking about what (if anything) makes people feel good about working at AKQA.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

AKQA Photos

Work at AKQA? Share Your Experiences

AKQA

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.