One More (Big) Victory For Marissa Mayer And Yahoo

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Yahoo's revenue is on the rise. Its stock value is surging. Its homepage and photo service Flickr sport flashy new designs. The mega-blogging platform Tumblr is in its war chest. And now, a year after she became Yahoo's CEO, there is another feather Marissa Mayer can stick in her cap: Yahoo has become one of the best companies for work-life balance.

Yahoo is number 16 on Glassdoor's ranking of the top companies for balance, based on employee ratings, the first time the company has cracked the top 25. It's a particularly significant accomplishment, since Mayer has been relentlessly scrutinized --and criticized -- ever since she banned telecommuting.

More: Marissa Mayer And Sheryl Sandberg: How They Differ

People cheered when Mayer's pregnancy was announced -- the first ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500! Then squabbled over her two weeks maternity leave -- what kind of example is that for other women! Denounced her ban on telecommuting -- but mothers like telecommuting! And then sneered over the nursery she built right next to her office -- seriously?

But ultimately, Mayer is a businesswoman after results. She doubled paid maternity leave to 16 weeks and extended paid paternity leave to eight, and offered new parents $500 a month for things like laundry, groceries and take-out. She introduced free breakfast and lunch for all, and eight weeks of unpaid leave for employees who clock five years at the company.

"The most prolific and giving company I have ever worked for," wrote one Sunnyvale, Cal. software engineer on Glassdoor, where other employees are also raving about the "employee friendly benefits," "open culture," and "turnaround story" under Mayer. In the company's first-quarter earnings call, Mayer bragged that 14 percent of all hires in the past three months were "boomerangs" -- old Yahoo defectors returning to the company.

More: Best Buy Joins Yahoo, Kills Flexible Work Program

This ascendancy is at a time when employees' work-life balance is declining overall. On Glassdoor, the average rating in this category has declined from 3.5 out of 5 in 2009 to 3.2 so far in 2013 -- a trend echoed in a recent survey by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management. While more employers are adding "perks" that help employees work more, such as the "flexibility" to work from home late at night, they're steering away from benefits like extended paid leave. For example, only nine percent of American employers provided full pay for childbirth-related disability last year, the survey found, down from 17 percent in 2005.

The top 5 companies for work-life balance on the Glassdoor list are SAS Institute, National Instruments, Slalom Consulting, and MITRE. AOL actually made the list for the first time too this year, at number 13.

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One More (Big) Victory For Marissa Mayer And Yahoo

Median annual salary: $68,500*

What you'd do all day: Social media managers use sites such as Facebook and Twitter to publicize a company's products or services. A typical day might be spent responding to customer inquiries and complaints via social media tools, writing blog posts and analyzing the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Why the job is in demand: As more companies rely on social media to attract customers, the demand for social media managers has jumped. In the year ending in April, the number of job listings for social media managers on CareerBuilder grew 56 percent.

Ideal background: Strong organizational skills and understanding of social media, as well as top-notch verbal and written communication skills. A bachelor's degree in a related field may be required.

Looking for a job as a social media manager? Click here to get started.

*Source: CareerBuilder

Median annual salary: $78,500

What you'd do all day: Think of data scientists as journalists who work with numbers instead of words. Just as journalists take scientific reports and turn them into readable stories for the masses, so, too, do data scientists take numbers and make them meaningful to everyday people. Data scientists also dig deep for the numbers no one else is looking for to find information that might otherwise go unnoticed. Data scientists can work for a wide range of organizations, from NASA to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing to Internet companies such as Amazon.com. 

Why it's in demand: Advances in technology have resulted in an explosion of information, and many companies need workers to sift through all that data. A recent McKinsey & Co. report forecasts a shortage in the U.S. alone of up to 190,000 workers with the analytical skills required to be a data scientist. Job listings for data scientists rose 82 percent in the 12 months ending in April.

Ideal background: Strong math and analytical skills. College degree desirable.

Looking for a job as a data scientist? Click here to get started.

Median annual salary: $88,000

What you'd do all day: Design and build apps, or computer applications, that help smartphone and tablet users read, shop, find information, play games and more.  

Why the job is in demand: Recent surveys show that nearly half of Americans own a smartphone, while a quarter plan to buy an iPad electronic tablet. That's a boon for companies that develop apps for those devices, but it's also created a shortage of mobile application developers. ITCareerFinder.com recently selected the role of mobile application developer as its No. 1 Best Computer Job for the Future, through 2020. The site noted that "there are simply more job openings than skilled and educated mobile developers to fill them" -- especially for Apple and Android operating systems. Related job listings surged 60 percent in the year ending in April. 

Ideal background: Bachelor's degree in computer science and related field. Proficiency with computer code, software and operating systems.

Looking for a job as a mobile application developer? Click here to get started.

Median annual salary: $100,000

What you'd do all day: "Cloud" computing is a way for companies and consumers to save data and information remotely via the Internet, rather than, say, on a computer hard drive or flash drive. And it's a business that's growing by leaps and bounds as companies look for ways to slash costs.

Why it's in demand: The increased demand for cloud computing means employers need more workers who can design cloud systems. That often includes working with a company's information-technology team to ensure that the technology is developed in a way best suited for the clients' needs. The number of related job listings on CareerBuilder rose 92 percent in the year ending in April.

Ideal background: College degree in computer information technology or related field. Customer service skills are a plus, too.

Looking for a job as a cloud architect? Click here to get started.

Median annual salary: $65,000

What you'd be doing all day: Search-engine experts help ensure that businesses' web pages rank high in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. So any time that a user searches for a specific product, service or the company, that company will pop up in the results, preferably on the first page. To that end, search engine specialists create and manage web pages, and design strategies and advertising campaigns to support them. They also analyze data to ensure that goals are being met.

Why it's in demand: The ability to create attractive web pages that show up in the top returns in search engines is one way that many companies seek to promote and sell their products and services. Employing a specialist who understands search techniques and website design helps consumers to more easily find the businesses and products they're interested in. The number of jobs ads in this field have risen 15 percent in the year ending in April.

Ideal background: College degree in computer science or related field. Strong writing and verbal skills, experience with the Internet,  and ability to meet tight deadlines are key.

Looking for a job as a search engine specialist? Click here to get started.

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