AKQA Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

AKQA Reviews

Updated 18 October 2018
100 reviews

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3.6
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
56 Ratings

100 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Absolutely great people to work with" (in 46 reviews)

  • "Great clients, the people are very friendly and intelligent, dogs are allowed in the office" (in 37 reviews)

Cons
  • "the clients are demanding and control a lot when it comes to work/life balance" (in 46 reviews)

  • "long hours, lack of leadership support, fragmented management team" (in 48 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    "Senior Creative Copywriter"

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

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

    Pros

    Improved my presentation skills, opened my mind about the creative work

    Cons

    The copywriters weren't too much involved in film shootings, and production which can be the funniest part.


  2. "Nice People"

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

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

    Pros

    Nice People in data team

    Cons

    Agency Life is sometimes hectic.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Mixed experiences depending on manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Strategic Planner in London, England
    Former Employee - Strategic Planner in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    People who work here are talented and ambitious, everything you get involved with will be beautifully crafted and considered

    Cons

    Your experience and success depends entirely on who your manager is and whether or not they have influence in the management team

    Advice to Management

    Treat the amazing people who make this business what it is as humans, not numbers in a spreadsheet


  4. Helpful (12)

    "Sad to see a company I loved lose its mojo"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Knew that no matter the client of brief, the team would nail it and have the courage to be bolder and better than anyone else. The team was like family and the leadership cared. Didn’t want to be anywhere else. But that changed and changed fast.

    Cons

    The defensive responses to negative reviews say a lot. The london office has gone from a vibrant and buzzing 3 floor office with 2 separate buildings also in use to 2 floors in one building. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up - sometimes you just need to be honest and accept that whilst the firm talks about creating the future, it needs a different team to shape its own. I hate saying this as I loved the place but it’s clear AKQA now lacks the love. Love for people, love for clients and love for work else they’d still be thriving, not surviving. I’m regularly in touch with people still there as well as those that have left (a lot of the best I’ve ever worked with) and the views are remarkably consistent with those that were there pre 2014.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in the right people to go back to focusing on the people and the work. Ajaz was clear that great people that produce great work takes care of everything else. At the time I felt it simplistic but later found it a powerful truth. I’m not going to make this about individuals but it’s clear which stars still shine and which have faded across the leadership. Change and regain and surpass the mojo of old. I’m still a believer. I still love the time I spent there and want it to be a winner once again.

    AKQA Response

    15 Jun 2018

    Thank you for your review and for your ten years of loyal service. The best businesses will always change with market factors and we've said AKQA is a work in progress.

    The major challenge is to... More


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Down and down and down she goes..."

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

    I worked at AKQA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    There are still some good people here, but the smart ones fled long ago. At one time there was a commitment to innovation and excellence. Big name clients look good on your resume, but chances are you will do little more than repetitious busywork for them. Most likely you will be recycling the umpteenth iteration of the same work somebody else did years ago for a different client.

    Cons

    Stagnant leadership stifles change and drives away the talent that could revive the company. Long-term investment in individuals or infrastructure is non-existent. Any pretense to doing serious technical development work disappeared long ago. You will spend half your time working there chasing down a project manager for a billing code so you can get paid, after having worked nights, weekends and holidays with no appreciation whatsoever. The "we are family" schtick is so hypocritical and disingenuous, even the interns snicker.

    Advice to Management

    Let some new blood rise up the ranks before the aging incestuous old guard drains the last bit of life from what was once a vibrant creative force.

    AKQA Response

    12 Apr 2018

    Thanks for your Glassdoor review.

    I want to share a few facts with you to set the record straight as your review is very personal and one-dimensional which is disappointing and also not true... More


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Sliding towards irrelevance"

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

    I have been working at AKQA full-time

    Pros

    There are still some amazing people at AKQA. The passion for the work is real, as is the commitment to quality. Lovely offices, good perks like decent coffee, fruit, exercise room, inspiring talks from outside speakers.

    Cons

    Many of the smartest, most impressive people have gone - the leadership in every department has changed in the last 18 months. There's no sense of purpose other than making money. The political environment has become toxic to the work.

    Advice to Management

    Work out what the company stands for, at an actionable, concrete level.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Inspiring Excellence"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Designer in London, England
    Current Employee - Associate Designer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Humble, incredibly talented and driven people, inspiring work, beautiful office, travel opportunities, great investment in development of employees, long list of benefits.

    Cons

    Can't say I can think of any.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work

  8. Helpful (11)

    "Great work, great clients, not such great people."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technology Graduate in London, England
    Former Employee - Technology Graduate in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The clients were amazing. The work coming out of AKQA was exceptional. The work that I was lucky enough to be involved with was inspiring.

    Cons

    A lot of the people were up themselves, rude, unsupportive; all the way up to the then-CTO. I was made to feel uncomfortable on more than one occasion about my personality because I wasn't "like everybody else".

    Advice to Management

    Your senior employees are there to mentor your juniors. In my experience at AQKA, this was a massive failure. I am no longer there because I was let down by a senior.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    AKQA is globally renowned for delivering excellence to clients and their end-users. This drive for quality is shared amongst the highly talented team at AKQA, and is contagious to all that encounter it.

    Talent is fostered through a well-crafted learning and development programme, which has gathered great momentum in recent years with the launch of an internal learning platform to encourage cross-office and cross-functional collaboration. Alongside this the agency offers 'AKQA Insight', a monthly keynote and Q&A with an innovator in their respective field.

    The management team are highly approachable, and encourage input from all, so that the best possible output can be delivered. Agency news is communicated through monthly company updates, as well as a bi-annual All Company Meeting.

    Being a part of the WPP network has strengthened and extended AKQA’s capabilities, and allowed for close collaboration with specialist agencies and organisations.

    From a social perspective, AKQA offer monthly breakfasts and drinks to enable employees to meet colleagues on other teams and functions. Alongside this is a range of great benefits including Nike-led fitness classes in the on-site gym, generous holiday allowance and outstanding office spaces.

    Cons

    AKQA is not for everyone. To be successful at AKQA, you should be a team player with a drive for excellence, and a passion for making a positive impact on the consumer.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest in knowledge, both in the learning and development of your people, and being on the cusp of emerging technologies.

    AKQA Response

    6 Feb 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed review. It's great to read that all the initiatives we have in place are valued and make a difference.

    We're a work in progress so I encourage all... More


  10. "Amazing people producing great work"

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

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

    Pros

    Without doubt the people make AKQA. With proactive, can-do attitudes they produce some of the best work in the business. Throughout my time at the company I didn't come across anyone who I felt was bad at their job.

    There are many perks to working at AKQA. My work-life balance was very good and there are a number of initiatives to encourage workers both inside and out of the office. The vast majority of my colleagues pursued interesting passions alongside AKQA, which were encouraged internally.

    Senior management were visible and approachable. Having started in an entry level role this was important. The collaborative nature of the agency led me to some really exciting briefs. The client list is certainly impressive.

    FIFA in the office isn't bad either!

    Cons

    As with many large agencies, progression is tough - especially if it involves changing departments. If you wish to work your way up then the onus is very much on you.

    There wasn't much diversity in senior roles, though this was beginning to change as I left.

    Advice to Management

    Be proactive in promoting employees, rather than waiting for them to voice their wishes.

    Don't think of the different departments as separate entities.


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