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April 29, 2014

These figures show how Yahoo’s brain drain is over

Is Marissa Mayer helping Yahoo to become the king of cool?

By Ben Sullivan

Following Marissa Mayer’s appointment to Yahoo CEO in 2012, the number of employees leaving the once stranded internet company for smaller tech competitors has dropped by a staggering 44%, according to data from a recruiting software provider Jobvite.

The data, cited by Quartz, also reveals that relative to the time before Mayer joined, overall outbound applications have fallen by 50%.
Yahoo also announced in its annual report that it received 340,000 job applications in 2013, more than double the number it received in 2012.

However, the data is only collected from Yahoo employees applying for new jobs through Jobvite’s software, so it can’t account for all leaving employees.

But the information does go some way to back claims that Yahoo has become an attractive and popular company again.

When Mayer joined in 2012, one problem she immediately tried to solve was Yahoo’s apparent lack of talent within the company. A long brain drain had seen its best employees move on to better things, but Mayer instantly replaced the head of human resources with a handpicked successor.

When asked if the brain drain of Yahoo long-servers to competitors like Google and Facebook, Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman told an investor conference: "There’s no question that we lost a number of folks along the way. We lost that because, in some respects, we pushed them out."

"When we came to the company, and we talked about acquisitions…frankly, companies did not want to be acquired by Yahoo…and for us to even acquire them we would have to pay a ‘Yahoo premium’ because they didn’t want to come here. That’s not the case any more."

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Since then, Yahoo has acquired some 37 companies and their respective employees, the biggest of which being a $1.1bn bonanza of Tumblr.

In the annual report, Yahoo revealed that by December 2012, it had 11,700 full time employees, and said its "future success is substantially dependent on the performance of our senior management and key technical personnel, as well as our continuing ability to attract, maintain the caliber of, and retain highly qualified technical, executive, and managerial personnel."

"We focused on hiring top talent, including a new talented and experienced management team. We also acquired two mobile application developers, Stamped and OnTheAir, accelerating our efforts to build an exceptional team of mobile engineers, product managers and designers. Our employees and culture are fundamental to our success, and attracting the best people to Yahoo! is critical.

"We are focused on a number of initiatives aimed at making Yahoo! the absolute best place to work. In 2012, we introduced rigorous hiring protocols; quarterly performance reviews for all employees; aggressive quarterly and annual goals for the company, for teams, and for individuals; a new product-readiness process for launches; internal feedback tools for new products; smartphones and higher performance laptops for all employees; free food worldwide; an employee-driven system for improving processes and efficiency; and weekly all-hands meetings to communicate transparently and accountably on the most important issues facing the company. These efforts have been executed quickly and we believe improved our culture and made Yahoo! a better place to work."

Careers site Glassdoor recently revealed that in 2013, Yahoo was the third highest paying firm in Silicon Valley, and with shares rising almost 37% over the past year, employees who are rewarded with stock options are more than likely staying very loyal.

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